The Future of Educational Technology and Education 3.0

Thinking of what education might look like in the next decade, one quickly realizes that the trends in technology are leaving a large number of our students behind. We no longer live in an age of visible movement when it comes to progress and innovation. Today is an age of exponential change. New and ever-improving technologies are popping up every day and in every corner of society.

Educating the best and the brightest in this brave new world will take a new and improved educational paradigm. Allowing our educational tools to age in the corner of the classroom will be the mistake that may cost us our future. Throwing away masses of children to inequitable access will ensure that we languish at the bottom of the global pool of employable workers for decades to come.

The New Toolbox

I was at an auction a few years ago and noticed a few old woodworking tools that I thought I could use. For a few bucks, I was able to snag an assortment of hand tools that may have been in someone’s toolbox for a generation or more. As the next decade passed, I used these tools in my shop for a wide variety of projects until my projects outgrew these old, dull tools. My woodworking creations continued to improve as did my skills and artistry. I quickly discovered that using improved tools would translate into improved craftsmanship. As any woodworker will tell you, new tools require new skills.

Woodworking is a great metaphor for shaping and molding students. There is simply no good substitute for a sharp tool. If you want to build the best projects possible, you need to use the best tools possible. Thinking in terms of the next decade for our country, we will be sorely disappointed in our projects if we fail to improve our tools.

Within this article, I will try to paint a picture of how technology will shape the way we educate students in the next decade. I will attempt to show the amazing possibilities that lay before us if we will simply walk through the doorway of opportunity that is open to us. My focus will be this idea: Transforming the student from being a passenger to becoming a “user.” You may be wondering what I mean by this. Let me explain.

Ask yourself what it means to be a “user.” A user is not simply a person who uses. For the student, being a user should involve using the latest technology in a free and autonomous manner. This new-found freedom will allow the student to become an active participant in his/her education instead of a passive passenger. No other time in history have we been so able to make this a reality.

In our current technological society, being a user also means being tracked. Tracking has become a major part of our daily lives and is precisely the engine that should drive our educational process for the foreseeable future. Tracking a student means having the ability to target education toward weaknesses and strengths. The ability to accurately customize curriculum to the individual has been the holy grail of educational philosophy for many years. This golden age of technological development may soon enable this dream to become a reality.

Current educational curriculum and individual assessment is arbitrary at best. Being able to accurately asses a student can only be achieved by using modern tracking and database technologies. The means by which we can make this a reality is readily available and only needs to be taken off the shelf to be used. If Congress is looking for a shovel-ready project, this may be the one.

Imagine a world where every child has a tablet computer with ready access to the App of virtual photographic memory (internet). Further, imagine that every student can access all the knowledge of humankind freely at any moment in time. Continue to imagine a world where a misspelled word brings up a spelling challenge application instead of an auto correction. Try to contemplate what it would mean for a teacher to have a database of every misspelled word, every misunderstood concept or every missed equation for each of their students. Try to envision a teacher with the ability to customize the experience of the individual “user” with minimal effort. Imagine the curriculum being automatically targeted to the user through an intuitive educational platform that knows every strength and each unique weakness. I could go on, but I think you get the point.

The company that makes this standard available to the educational community will be the company that shapes the future of humankind. Will it be Google, Apple, Microsoft, or some other yet unknown pioneer?

Continuing from the thoughts in my last post, I would like to elaborate on the idea of the student as a user of a new standardized educational platform. It is obvious to me that the future of education will always mirror our everyday lives in one way or another. If you examine how technology has influenced your daily life already, you begin to put together a snapshot of what it will mean to be educated in the next decade.

In the last few hundred years, most individuals would consider an education as something you receive. You often hear the question asked, “Where did you receive your education?” As we proceed through the next decade, education will slowly move away from reception and toward being custom designed for the individual user. New technology will not only allow us to receive an education, but also develop an education. The question we might ask in 10 years is, “How did you develop your education?” The question of where will still be important, but the how of the matter will be the focus that defines the individual.

To make this a reality we will need a standardized platform from which to develop a student’s unique education. This standardized platform will allow us to tailor a custom curriculum that will be matched to talents, interests and life goals. For the educator, a standardized platform will create a way to assist the student in discovering a true purpose in life through a unique educational experience. The basics of reading, writing and arithmetic will not be taught as much as they will be discovered and used. Learning will become a reciprocal experience between the teacher, the student and the machine.

Under a standardized platform, each of these three participants will have a role to play. The teacher will be the facilitator, assisting the development of the curriculum and inspiring the direction the student takes. The student will be the user, gathering resources, skills and knowledge in an efficient and measured sequence. The machine will do the work of data gathering and analysis, which will assist the teacher and student in refining the curriculum. This data gathering work of the machine will also free the teacher from the burden of record-keeping and tedious tasks that currently distract from the real job of teaching and learning.

Under a standardized system, grade level will be far less important. Achievement and progression will be measured by accomplishment and intelligence as a benchmark for success. The question of failure or success will be irrelevant and replaced with a standard and consistent measurement of potential and overall intelligence. Information will no longer be missed but continually rehearsed and monitored for retention by the machine.

In our current educational paradigm, the teacher is in charge of arbitrarily constructing curriculum. This approach to curriculum development is based on inexperience in some cases, outdated materials, inadequate funding and a shortage of time. Measuring the success of a specific curriculum is currently impossible. With a standardized system, comparisons of curricular success can be made across the entire spectrum of education and then continually reformulated and enhanced by the machine.

Sadly, teachers today are bogged down with an assortment of mind-numbing tasks that would be better suited to an off-the-shelf automated system. Tasks such as data tracking, reporting and record keeping are currently accomplished manually. These tasks could easily be delegated to an intuitive database. Developing a standard to follow would eliminate these tasks and free the teacher to do their main job of teaching students.

Education 3.0

Throughout history, man has sought to pass on knowledge to the next generation. This process started with oral tradition, storytelling and writing. With the advent of the printing press, knowledge and information slowly became available to the masses. The amount of information that could be gained by one human in a lifetime was severely limited by his access to printed materials and wealth. The majority of learning was gained through observation and imitation. We can call this Education 1.0.

Education 2.0 starts around the late eighteen hundreds with universal literacy movements throughout newly industrialized regions of the world. Improvements in education slowly transitioned from apprenticeship to formal education and training. Despite our movements toward universal education, access to knowledge and opportunity continues to be inequitable throughout the world. Even with the arrival of the computer revolution, access to the tools of learning continues to define the learner.

The next decade may mark the moment in history when all men are granted equal access to the greatest treasure a soul can possess. I use the word may in the last sentence because there is the chance that we will miss this golden opportunity. Access to Education 3.0 will only be gained through investment and universal standardization. If we continue to divert wealth toward fruitless goals and corporate greed, this opportunity will be lost or hopelessly delayed.

Education 3.0, when it arrives, will be the age of universal enlightenment. Platforms for education and learning will slowly standardize and become globally accessible and affordable. The poorest to the wealthiest will have access to the machine that runs the platform.

The thought on your mind at this point is most likely wondering what machine I keep referring to. The machine in question is the one we have been so busy teaching and training since roughly 1969. You’ve probably guessed it by now that I am referring to the internet. The great cloud of knowledge that we call the internet is precisely the mechanism that we will use to build the platform of Education 3.0. When the platform is finally in place, the decade to follow will see the greatest amount of wealth, discoveries and use of human potential that we have witnessed during our time on this earth. The only question that remains to be answered is the point at which I will leave this article.

When will we allow the user to use the machine to its potential?

Stephen McClard has been the Director of Bands at Bolivar High School since 2002. Mr. McClard graduated from Southeast Missouri State University in 1990. He started his teaching career in Southeast Missouri before moving to Illinois where he taught band for 8 years.

Mr. McClard’s bands have consistently received superior ratings at contest as well as many other awards and accolades. Since 2002, the band has traveled twice to Chicago, where they won 1st place class 4A and 1st place overall at the Midwest Music In the Parks Festival. The band also traveled to Cincinnati in 2006, receiving the same honors. In 2006, Mr. McClard was named by SBO Magazine as one of the 50 Directors Who Make a Difference. In 2006, 2008 and 2009, Bolivar RI School district was named one of the “Best 100 Communities for Music Education” in America by the American Music Conference. Mr. McClard was previously featured on the cover of the 2003 issue of SBO Magazine for his work with music technology.

In addition to his career in education, Mr. McClard maintains an online woodworking business and is a 3rd generation piano technician. His woodworking creations include custom bass guitars, which have sold all over the world and one-of-a-kind computer desks made from old pianos. His piano desks have been featured in magazines such as Business 2.0 and Piano Technicians Journal and in many other newspapers and television news features.

Educational Toys As Baby Gifts – Finding Unique and Educational Baby Gifts

Often when one thinks about educational toys, the first things to come to mind are toys or videos designed for certain skills, such as learning numbers or the alphabet. These can be video sets like Baby Einstein or flashcards with pictures of animals, numbers, or letters colorfully displayed on the cards. While many of these items are ideal for a toddler or even some preschool-age children, many of them are too advanced for a baby. If you’re looking to give your baby – or a baby you’re buying a shower present for – a head start, some educational toys are available. But, especially for children under one year, educational toys are referred to as “stimulation toys” or “infant stimulation.”

Infant stimulation toys are designed to stimulate the five senses, or, at this point, sight, touch, and hearing. As a baby has unfocused vision and hearing and is unable to use its fingers, these toys are designed to help a baby use these senses. For example, many baby toys and crib items are designed in black, white, and red – both solid colors and patterns – as the sharply contrasting colors are more visible to a baby’s eyes than primary colors. Objects like a mobile, a play mat, rattles, and even the edge of a baby crib mirror are designed with this color combination to enhance and “stimulate” a baby’s vision. These objects, in addition, are coupled with hearing features, such as music or sounds that come out when a baby touches it. To enhance touch, even when a baby can’t fully use its hands, a play mat or any other crib objects may be made of different textures or sounds, such as crinkling or jingling, that a baby can make when lying down on or rolling on a play mat or touching a stuffed animal.

As soon as a baby is capable of using its fingers to some degree, toys now have touching, grasping, and holding purposes and this extends past infancy through toddler stages. Only, for toddlers, toys start to have pretend and creative purposes to help a child start emulating the behavior of adults, which, as he or she becomes more aware of the world surrounding, he or she wants to imitate.

Poetry Language and Forms – An Uplifting and Educational Journey For Relaxation of the Soul

Tree Good is an excellent poetess who demonstrates her leadership in this arena through her book The Language of Poetry Forms. The book is divided into three areas as follows: The first starts with poetry idioms and meanings, the second covers poetry forms with examples, and the third ends with a funny section on riddles about poetry. The poetic platform in this book allows anyone to gain a basic comprehension of poetry forms while reading. The various poetic illustrations will enlighten the reader, and the section with riddles should enforce the writing principles of poetry for anyone reading this book.

The illustrations of the many types and styles of poems in this book present a profound knowledge and admiration of her poetic artistry. Good is like an excellent literary physician who translates difficult concepts of autonomic and physiological poetic formulas into common and understandable language. Her writing style comes across in a clear manner so an average person seeking poetic knowledge can readily comprehend it with no problem. She writes the book with clarity and brevity. Additionally, she lists her poems throughout the book in an alphabetical order which is easily followed.

Good has several poems in the book regarding the following subject areas: love for each other, musical appreciation, seasons of the year, family relationships, and common issues regarding life. The riddle section of the book is an easy challenge for the reader’s knowledge and wits, and it comes across in a humorous manner. This section is funny and entertaining. It is also enlightening to a person’s sensibility and should make the reader laugh out loud. Her book is wonderful and comes highly recommended. It’s definitely a book to keep close at hand as a future reference to live by when writing poetry.

Finally, this is a wonderful poetic text to study. The knowledge and experience developed by Good over the years from being an active participant in the poetry arena is unquestionable. Her skill level is on the cutting edge of poetry as an educator. Any individual who reads and enjoys her writings will truly know about the essence and the art of poetry. Her writings should be easier to comprehend, than actually being a student in a poetry classroom, because she breaks the poetry forms down in simple terms for ease of understanding.

Satellite TV – An Entertaining and Educational Resource

Whenever you were growing up, your parents probably often asked you to stop watching tv because they thought it wasn’t very useful. Often times, people think that TV is simply an outlet to escape through at the end of your workday or week, but the reality is that people don’t simply veg out while they watch tv. No matter what you choose to watch, you’ll always be learning something, and often times, that information can come in handy later in life. So if you’ve got satellite TV service, you’ve got access to much more useful information than people who don’t have that service.

Have you ever gone to a trivia game just to find out that you didn’t actually know very many of the answers to the questions that were asked? Often times, trivia questions are related to all kinds of pop culture references, which means if you don’t know the answer, then you don’t know your pop culture. Generally people who excel at trivia games have watched a good amount of television and have retained a lot of useful facts that they can use to help their team win a grand prize. That’s not to say that you should simply spend hours upon hours watching satellite TV just so you can win a trivia game later, but it is to say that you don’t need to feel ashamed to watch your favorite shows and movies. While you’re watching them, you’ll absorb all kinds of information that could come in handy later, like in a trivia game that could allow you to win hundreds of dollars worth of stuff. The vast majority of people who play and win at trivia games will tell you that watching satellite TV has been worth it because they’ve enjoyed themselves while they’ve watch shows and movies, and because they enjoy themselves when they play and win trivia games.

In addition to better understanding pop culture references, satellite TV viewers are often better informed about world events than other people who don’t watch tv. That’s because there are plenty of great news channels that give viewers access to information about events that have taken place all over the world, so viewers can gain perspective about events and opinions that they wouldn’t otherwise be aware of at all. For example, if someone watches BBC, a British news channel, with their satellite TV access, they’re becoming educated about a wide range of issues that people who only watch their local news are unaware of. Because of that, viewers should be proud of the way they’re using a popular form of entertainment to educate themselves, and of course, that education doesn’t have to be boring. That’s one of the most amazing things about television. It shows that people can learn about a wide variety o issues in a way that is entertaining, without having to pay thousands of dollars for formal educational classes on those same topics. The experiences are different, and viewers aren’t earning a degree, but they can still learn a lot while enjoying the experience.