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2009 in review: Results from the annual prediction game


[Photo by darkmatter]

Keeping with Education Futures’ annual tradition, I released five predictions for global education in 2009 early last year.

How did I do?

Much better than my predictions for 2008! Let’s look:

  1. No Child Left Behind won’t get left behind. Contrary to all the data that shows that NCLB is a miserable failure, it still has too many fans within the Washington Beltway to disappear. Besides, would the Obama administration want to send a message that they’re giving up on the noble quest of educating all children? NCLB is here to stay, but it will evolve into something else. Would we recognize it by 2010? — Yes, NCLB is still here, but it hasn’t changed a bit. Perhaps there’s hope for 2010?
  2. The economic downturn will get much worse before it gets better, but the international impact will be greater than within the U.S. Expect economic tragedies in China and elsewhere that depend on exports to the U.S. and other highly industrialized nations. — The jury’s still out on this one. We’ll have to wait until the recession is over for hindsight … especially the impact on China.
  3. With limits in available venture capital and new development funds within corporations, technological innovation will slow in the United States. Companies will focus on improving their core products and services at the expense of research and development. What does this mean for education, which is in desperate need of transformative, innovative technologies? — The effect on schools, which are dependent on tax revenue, was much worse in 2009 than I could imagine. Many institutions are abandoning thinking about innovative ideas to focus instead on how they will pay for basic services such as bussing and utilities.
  4. The footprint of open source software will increase, but development will slow down. Unless if a business is committing code to the OSS community, individuals and corporations have fewer time resources available to contribute to projects. However, OSS adoption will increase as a cost-saving measure in homes, offices and schools. (This contrasts with last year’s prediction, where I said “education-oriented open source development will boom.”) — The real growth in 2009 was centered around social technologies and social media. Many of these can translate into the education sector well.
  5. I’m keeping my money on India, and repeating last year’s prediction: India is the place to be. As more U.S. companies quietly continue to offshore their creative work to India, India’s knowledge economy will boom. The world will take notice of this in 2008 2009. — India continues to develop its human capital resources. I’m keeping my money here through 2010 as well.

TEDIndia fellowship deadline approaches

The organizers of TEDIndia asked that I share this reminder that the application deadline for TEDIndia fellowships is June 15, 2009. What makes TEDIndia extra-special is, that the TED Fellows program will include a group of 100 innovators from India and South Asia who have shown unusual accomplishment and exceptional courage. These young world-changers will get the opportunity to become a part of the TED community which will help amplify the impact of their remarkable projects and activities.

TED is looking for an eclectic, heterogeneous group of young thinkers and doers from the fields of technology, entertainment, design, the sciences, engineering, humanities, the arts, economics, business, journalism, entrepreneurship and NGOs. More information is available at http://conferences.ted.com/TEDIndia/

India's $10 laptop to be unveiled soon

10 dollars

Feb 4 2009 Update: Found at Technology Review: “It turns out that India’s ‘$20 laptop’ — a gadget meant to cheaply deliver online educational content to students at more than 18,000 Indian colleges — may actually be more of a handheld web access device than a laptop computer.” And, it doesn’t look like a laptop at all. What is it, really?

____

This is just a quick note on an item spotted at PhysOrg.com:

(PhysOrg.com) — On February 3, the Indian government will display a prototype of the Rs 500, a $10 laptop that will hopefully give more young people the opportunity to learn and help increase the country’s school enrollment.

[…]

The $10 laptop will be equipped with 2 GB of memory, WiFi, fixed Ethernet, expandable memory, and consume just 2 watts of power.

Pre-mass production, the cost of the laptop is down to $20 per unit, which is dramatically lower than the $47/unit manufacturing cost noted by Education Futures in 2007. We will follow this closely over the next few months as production and distribution of the devices take off.

Five predictions for 2009 …and more!

future1

Continuing a tradition that started last year, I am listing my predictions for the big stories that will impact the education world in 2009.  My predictions from last year were hit-and-miss, but I did well overall.  How will I fare this year?

  1. No Child Left Behind won’t get left behind.  Contrary to all the data that shows that NCLB is a miserable failure, it still has too many fans within the Washington Beltway to disappear.  Besides, would the Obama administration want to send a message that they’re giving up on the noble quest of educating all children?  NCLB is here to stay, but it will evolve into something else.  Would we recognize it by 2010?
  2. The economic downturn will get much worse before it gets better, but the international impact will be greater than within the U.S.  Expect economic tragedies in China and elsewhere that depend on exports to the U.S. and other highly industrialized nations.
  3. With limits in available venture capital and new development funds within corporations, technological innovation will slow in the United States. Companies will focus on improving their core products and services at the expense of research and development.  What does this mean for education, which is in desperate need of transformative, innovative technologies?
  4. The footprint of open source software will increase, but development will slow down.  Unless if a business is committing code to the OSS community, individuals and corporations have fewer time resources available to contribute to projects.  However, OSS adoption will increase as a cost-saving measure in homes, offices and schools.  (This contrasts with last year’s prediction, where I said “education-oriented open source development will boom.”)
  5. I’m keeping my money on India, and repeating last year’s prediction: India is the place to be. As more U.S. companies quietly continue to offshore their creative work to India, India’s knowledge economy will boom. The world will take notice of this in 2008 2009.
Here are predictions for 2009 from elsewhere:

2008 in review: What happened to this year's predictions?

[Photo by darkmatter]

At the beginning of this year, I released five predictions for global education in 2008. How did I do?

It’s a mixed bag, ranging from being completely off to spot on… with some surprises, too!

Prediction #1:

Largely driven by the moderate success of OLPC, Linux will emerge as the platform of choice for K-12 technology leaders. The OLPC will demonstrate that not only is Linux different, but it can also be used to do new and different things. Instead of using new technologies to teach the same old curricula, new technologies will be used to teach new things.

What really happened: Linux didn’t take off, but the OLPC spurned an entire ecosystem of cheap, portable computing. We’ve seen this in the form of exploding sales netbooks by Acer, Asus and other small-form, low-powered, low-cost producers –as well as products intended to compete with OLPC, including a $98 laptop from China.

Prediction #2:

Web 2.0 will continue to democratize the globalization of higher education as more students and professors embrace open communications platforms. This means university administrations will have a harder time “owning” their global agendas.

What really happened: Web 2.0 technologies are continuing to democratize the globalization of higher education; but there’s little evidence to suggest that administrators are making the most of what is happening, let alone the question of “ownership.” Of course, there’s also the problem that nobody really knows what “Web 2.0” really is, except as “a piece of jargon.” Some schools, however, have began to experiment with integrating their services with YouTube, Facebook, Flickr, etc., providing some hope that they will be able to leverage the power of Web communities.

Prediction #3:

Because of the influences of #1 and #2, education-oriented open source development will boom.

What really happened: The open source development boom hasn’t happened, but it also does not seem to be lessening. Moodle continues to develop as a popular course instruction platform, and other institutions have copied MIT’s OpenCourseWare program –but, these innovations all predate 2008. With a few exceptions (like OLPC), the open source/open access movement has made little new headway in 2008. Software in higher education, however, remains largely centered on proprietary formats.

Prediction #4:

Chinese orientations toward the rest of the planet will change during the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. The Chinese widely view that the award to host the Olympics is a sign that their country is progressing positively –and of international acceptance. During the Olympics, however, much of the international attention will focus on revisiting the Tiananmen Square Massacre, the government’s treatment of political prisoners, the annexation of Tibet, the mainland’s relations with Taiwan, catastrophic ecological destruction throughout China, and many more sensitive topics. Unless if the Chinese can distract the world with Olympian splendor, they will have to endure international condemnation. What will this do to the millions of Chinese school kids who were drafted into generating national spirit under the false assumption that the world thinks China is doing a great job? Will China reorient its education system away from the West?

What really happened: As expected, China had a hard time navigating the additional attention of human rights and ecological issues. What was not expected, however, is that China would muscle such a huge effort to manage its public relations image. This was most evident in the spectacle of the opening ceremonies, but also with the scandals that plagued the government and Olympic organizers as they tried to manage China’s image.

What does this mean for Chinese education? The Chinese government managed media relations well; and, as students at Anqing Teachers College told me in October, “the successful implementation of the Beijing games is evidence that China is prepared to lead the world.” China is not reorienting its education system away from the West. Rather, it intends to reorient the West toward China!

Prediction #5:

India’s the place to be. As more U.S. companies quietly continue to offshore their creative work to India, India’s knowledge economy will boom. The world will take notice of this in 2008.

What really happened: The jury’s still out. We’ll have to wait and see. In a 2005 report, the World Bank noted that India is in the bottom third of the global knowledge economy, and hasn’t improved much in the previous ten years. Has it changed? We’ll watch this one closely in 2009!

Stay tuned for five new predictions for 2009!

Japan's new education model: India

Martin Fackler writes for the IHT that parents in the “fad-obsessed nation” of Japan increasingly are sending their kids to Indian schools:

While China has stirred more concern as a political and economic challenger, India has emerged as the country to beat in a more benign rivalry over education. In part, this reflects the image in Japan of China as a cheap manufacturer and technological imitator. But Indian success in software development, Internet businesses and knowledge-intensive industries where Japan has failed to make inroads has sparked more than a tinge of envy.

This leads to three key questions that I do not have answers for: Is Indian success in knowledge industries due to their education system or something else? Will Indian forms of rote education instill Japanese youth with the creativity needed to compete in a knowledge and innovation economy? If the purpose of training kids in an Indian education system is to improve their chances of scoring well on a college entrance exam, what will happen to them once they enter college?

Five predictions for 2008 and more

Education Futures is back from winter break! Regular postings will now resume.

sdlsdflkj.jpg

Photo by darkmatter

Looking forward to the rest of this year, here are my predictions of the big stories in the global education world for 2008:

  1. Largely driven by the moderate success of OLPC, Linux will emerge as the platform of choice for K-12 technology leaders. The OLPC will demonstrate that not only is Linux different, but it can also be used to do new and different things. Instead of using new technologies to teach the same old curricula, new technologies will be used to teach new things.
  2. Web 2.0 will continue to democratize the globalization of higher education as more students and professors embrace open communications platforms. This means university administrations will have a harder time “owning” their global agendas.
  3. Because of the influences of #1 and #2, education-oriented open source development will boom.
  4. Chinese orientations toward the rest of the planet will change during the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. The Chinese widely view that the award to host the Olympics is a sign that their country is progressing positively –and of international acceptance. During the Olympics, however, much of the international attention will focus on revisiting the Tienanmen Square Massacre, the government’s treatment of political prisoners, the annexation of Tibet, the mainland’s relations with Taiwan, catastrophic ecological destruction throughout China, and many more sensitive topics. Unless if the Chinese can distract the world with Olympian splendor, they will have to endure international condemnation. What will this do to the millions of Chinese school kids who were drafted into generating national spirit under the false assumption that the world thinks China is doing a great job? Will China reorient its education system away from the West?
  5. India’s the place to be. As more U.S. companies quietly continue to offshore their creative work to India, India’s knowledge economy will boom. The world will take notice of this in 2008.

Here are predictions for 2008 from elsewhere:

General

Business and Economy

Environment

Media and Technology

Linux made compulsory in India

For a moment, consider the scale of education in India. Then, read this article:

The Director of Public Instruction (DPI) has issued orders making free software compulsory. It says Linux Operating System should be used for IT education in eighth, ninth and tenth standards.

tux.gifThis is huge for a huge country making a huge investment in IT. Big stuff.

I offer a question for discussion: When free software becomes mandatory, is it still what GNU founder Richard Stallman would term “free as in freedom?”

Laureate's push into Asia

Lloyd Armstrong at Changing Higher Education posted comments on Laureate Education CEO Doug Becker‘s move to China… to create something new, backed by financiers that include Paul Allen, George Soros, and the endowment of Harvard University:

I have long believed that real innovation in higher education will not come in the US, but from some area such as China or India where there are enormous higher education needs, and greatly constrained resources compared to those needs. It is there that the very expensive US model of higher education will run prove most ineffective. Apparently Doug Becker, Chairman and CEO of Laureate Education, is of the same opinion. He has just announced that he and his family are moving from Baltimore ( the home of Laureate) to Hong Kong so that he can establish a new Asia headquarters there.

Make sure to read Armstrong’s full post.

If the bulk of US tertiary institutions continue to stagnate due to legacy structures and cost disease, will the next leading higher education providers emerge in Asia?

Games in the Classroom (part three)

Twenty years ago, playing games over a distance might have meant that you played turn-taking games like chess over email, and you were cutting edge. I remember people playing chess through snail mail! You would make your move and wait for a reply.

What is happening now is taking place in real-time in virtual environments that are interactive and look better than many films. Decisions, actions, and communications happen like they would in a face-to-face conversation, but they are done through a proxy, that is first and second-person perspectives with an avatar: a graphical representation of yourself in the game space.

grandmasterfoo.JPG

Here is my avatar in Second Life.

He is a mix of Yoda, Pei Mei, Zatoichi, Master Po, and Real Ultimate Power. I would have liked to have made him old, but this is only possible if you learn to use some tools outside of the game to create more specialized characters. There are many who do this custom avatar creation, and the cool thing is that you could make your avatar something other than a person. Maybe a virus or a mailbox.

In fact, many people are already creating a comfortable living creating products for in game use. If you have not seen it yet, there are already success stories of people capitalizing on the new economies that virtual worlds have created.

073007-1945-gamesinthec1.png

In this Business Week article, one school teacher in Germany has made substantial gains flipping virtual property!

Imagine that you have the tools and access to build in these environments. In Second Life you do. You can visit models of the Sistine Chapel, Yankee Stadium, or even visit government agencies like the Center for Disease Control. You can build what you like on your virtual land.

What make this kind of play appealing is the ability to play and communicate when you want, and the possibility of meeting people from all over the planet. The prospect of building models and interacting in this environments should be very appealing to educators. This is an extension of the diorama. (Tomorrow I will talk about a project using these ideas in the classroom).

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