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The Emerging Future: Technology and Learning

Topics: Education Policy, Emerging Trends, Future of Learning

Miniaturization in action. Photo by Flickr user koka_sexton.

How will changing technology platforms, such as ebooks and mobile devices, alter how we educate learners?

I recently had the honor of exploring this question, among many other insightful topics, during Library 2.015 Spring Summit, hosted by The Learning Revolution The theme for the summit was The Emerging Future: Technology and Learning.

Together with my fellow panelists, we explored the many ways technology is affecting education. During the course of the session I noted that quite a few questions from the audience happened to center around the changing platforms we use to educate learners, specifically ebooks and mobile platforms.

The emergence of ebooks and mobile platforms are a result of miniaturization and dematerialization.  Miniaturization is a trend where the technology we invent and manufacture becomes increasingly smaller in size, as the term might imply. A great example for this can be seen in the images above, where what used to take up a great amount of room and multiple devices can now fit in the palm of the user’s hand.

Dematerialization might be thought as an extension of the miniaturization trend, but rather than shrinking in size, we see technology being off loaded into things like the digital cloud, no longer needing a physical presence, merely an access point such as a computer or smart device.

In my latest publication, “Certifying Skills and Knowledge: 4 Scenarios on the Future of Credentials”, I explore how miniaturization and dematerialization might affect credentials as part of an alternate futures scenario titled “Every Experience a Credential.” This scenario imagines what might happen if skill tracking technologies, such as the learning record store were to become common place in education, cataloging a learner’s experiences to be certified by schools and other learning institutions, thus moving credentials from something physical, like a diploma or certificate and effectively shrinking and dematerializing them in such a way that our experiences and credentials live in the digital cloud.

I would like to express my gratitude to Steve Haragdon and Dr. Sue Alman for the invitation to participate in the panel. It was a great learning experience, and a lot of fun exploring the ways technology might impact education. In what ways do you see miniaturization and dematerialization affecting learning?