The Role of Educators in the Coming Years

For the most part this blog seems to consist of things that I am curious about and here I go again.  I wonder how close we will be coming to the dreaded Skynet/Matrix scenario where the machines will be able to predict what we want to know/search about before we do.

During his talk at Tech Crunch Disrupt Eric Schmidt talked about his thoughts on a Utopian future where “It’s a future where you don’t forget anything…In this new future you’re never lost…We will know your position down to the foot and down to the inch over time…Your car will drive itself, it’s a bug that cars were invented before computers…you’re never lonely…you’re never bored…you’re never out of ideas.”

With Augmented reality becoming more and more prevalent there are huge implications for educators.  Students will no longer need to ask about sites at locations.  When my family was in PEI this summer we used GPS units which took us on a self guided tour.  But in comparison what is becoming normal only a month later people are able to use Google Maps on their Android phones for walking navigation or the upcoming Microsoft Street Slide which brings the concept along farther (I realize that some of the same functionality resides in Layar).

But all of these services allow us and our students to stop relying on our memories to retain knowledge all of the information we need for our current context is at our finger tips.  The changes that are currently happening seem like they will be creating as many challenges for our lives as educators as they will be providing opportunities for learning.

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About mrthejud

I'm a teacher at Greenall High School in Saskatchewan.
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8 Responses to The Role of Educators in the Coming Years

  1. Sometimes I wonder if Eric Schmidt realizes how much he strikes fear in the audience when he speaks about his (Google’s) vision of a technological future.

    I like your points about memory. I do wonder how technology will change how we think about memory. Evernote, once of my favorite tech tools, uses the elephant as its logo and describes itself as “memory-as-a-platform,” creating ways for people to be able to easily record and access “memories.”

    It’s powerful, and sometimes when I hear Schmidt speak, I won’t lie, it is a little scary. 🙂

  2. mrthejud says:

    Audry I agree.

    Google recently released Google Goggles which is a cell phone based application where you just takes pictures of things and Google will try to perform a search based on that image. Initially I was excited about the prospect of this and then realized if a program like that catches on students will have to think less about what they are typing into Google.

    At the same time if it is things like this that allow our students to take on a completely inquiry based approach to their learning it is hard to argue that technology like this is entirely bad.

  3. I’m not sure what you mean by the term “augmented reality.” All reality is perception (http://12amusings.wordpress.com/2007/01/10/reality/) so I don’t think the term holds water, myself. Reality definitely changes, morphs, and one person’s reality is not another’s.

    And I agree with the general premise of your last paragraph and blogged about a change from old school skills myself three years ago (http://12amusings.wordpress.com/2007/08/26/old-school-skills/). Education is – or should be – morphing from a venue where you primarily learn FACTS into…something else. Ah, but what that something else should be or look like? Now THERE’S an interesting question!

    I definitely think we need a new emphasis on fact retrieval (as a blogged about here: http://12amusings.wordpress.com/2007/10/19/baby-you-can-drive-my-car/) and content evaluation – often termed “21st century skills.” But does this mean ALL facts are less important? Don’t you need a basis of knowledge as a jumping off point? You can’t spend the time looking up every little fact to create context (I need to know the approximate dates of major world conflicts, for example).

    And Audrey – Your comment about people’s fear of a technological future is true, but puzzling to me. As I pointed out in someone else’s blog for this class (wish I could remember who and where!), technology has ALWAYS shaped our society and culture from the wheel to the spear to the pencil to the house – it’s ubiquitous.

    As for Google Goggles – I was impressed with the concept, but not with the product itself. I’ve had it on my Evo phone for 4 months and almost every time I try to use it, it doesn’t work as promised. That one is definitely a work in progress as far as I’m concerned!

    • mrthejud says:

      Augmented reality as it stands now is using the camera on your phone/computer to place images on top of a live video feed. The program Layar that I referenced above will give you all of the restaurants in your area along with what ever other layars are available for your city. The program uses your camera and then overlays the positions relative to you based on your gps data given by your phone.

      Another example is some of the work that Talking Dog Studios is doing. They are working on computer based applications which will give you information based on using a small image. While it doesn’t have many educational applications they are starting to reach out the education community to see what would be relevant to us.

      You can try out a few of these online applications .

  4. Ed Webb says:

    You may be interested in this piece about the book “Delete,” which warns about the dangers of an internet that never forgets: http://diigo.com/0991q (I have never got into Evernote, relying on diigo instead for similar functions.)

  5. ktenkely says:

    It certainly changes things (again) but then doesn’t technology always change things? There was a time where oral tradition and memorization were largely important. Gutenberg changed this…suddenly memorization wasn’t quite as important because it could be referenced again and again in a book. Oral tradition wasn’t as important because people began to learn to read. Technology always changes things, it will be interesting to gain a little hindsight and see where Internet technologies and technology like AR change the course of human thought.

  6. Lawrie says:

    The big challenge is for educators to keep designing curricula and assessment that will encourage students to think and question. We’re not changing our physical bodies, the brain still responds in the same way to stimuli. We just have more tools for it to use, such as ink, paper, books. Technology is changing, but don’t let the techno-evangelists convince you of their argument without evidence.

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