Let’s continue this series of year-end trend analysis posts. Now we hit a third category, the one where technology and education combined in 2013. As before, this draws on my FTTE reports. Once again, this is a huge area, so this is a top-level survey.
What were the leading trends this year in the connection between education and technology?
MOOCs and online learning. MOOCs continued to dominate news and discussions, sometimes meeting with failure, at other times with enormous numbers of students. More campuses (both from the United States and elsewhere) partnered with MOOC providers to offer courses. It is unclear to what extent Udacity’s noteworthy pivot away from higher education will inspire a broader MOOC turn. It is also unclear if universities (and employers) will start accepting MOOC completion evidence for credit. Formal experimentation continues.
Overall, online education in general seems to keep increasing in number of students and courses.
Open education. The number of open access journals increased. The amount of open education content seems to be growing. No major developments pushed open into a new level of adoption.
Social media in education. Students, staff, and faculty continued to use social media for a variety of purposes. Some of these involved controversy, usually when a poster’s expression collided with institutional leaders’ desires. Overall, social media has matured into a major communications channel for education.
Maker movement. This tinkering and education movement grew in American culture, with some presence on campuses.
Digital humanities develops. This integration of technology and academic disciplines continues to grow incrementally, without much controversy or drama.
Faculty criticizing deployment of technology. Faculty members have taken to resisting their institutions’ use of technology either as individuals or through departments and larger bodies, usually focused on the perceived threat of some form of distance learning to the academic enterprise and the professoriate.
Education and entrepreneurship. The number of business start-ups emerging from academia or aimed at serving educational needs grew steadily, while concerns about the impact of business funding on higher education rose.
Mobile devices for teaching. Users increasingly spending more time with mobile devices (see “device ecosystem”, above) have taken to consuming (and producing) academic content with them. Campus IT departments have been developing new support strategies.
3d printing across the curriculum. This new technology is seeing uses in many disciplines.
Blended learning. Some campuses have emphasized this combination of face-to-face with online learning as a strategic response to the challenge of distance learning.
Campus digital security threats growing. Colleges and universities have not been immune to the world’s digital security challenges.
Video and education. Digital video (production and especially consumption) and videoconferencing seem to be on the rise.
Which technology-and-education trends have not been so strongly supported in 2013?
Shared academics. There has not been much evidence of campuses increased their use of shared academic technology services. Cloud computing (see above) may have taken up that off-campus resource need instead (thanks to Shel Sax for that insight).
Gaming and education. This field seems to be growing incrementally at best.
Big data and data analytics. There has been much discussion and anticipation of these technologies, but few implements so far.
LMSes. This staple of campus computing continues to exist, with a slight tendency towards the more social-media-oriented style exhibited by Instructure’s Canvas.
Coming up: a look at the higher education bubble concept.
Previous posts: 2013 trends in technology, and in education.
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Zahid H. Khan
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