Category Archives: research

Flexible learning is ‘where it’s at’

Another research article to support the Horizon 2010 Report, which says that young Australians need an education that is holistic, flexible and encompasses a commitment to both work and life.

Flexible learning ‘where it’s at’ for young people

Australian educational technology research and development

Just to back up what the Horizon 2010 report said about technologies and practices that would impact the education sector over the next five years, here is a list of six e-learning trials that received a total of $100,000 to develop guidelines and standards for… wait for it… ipods/iphones (mobile) and virtual worlds (augmented reality).

Technology trials set to advance mobile learning

Technologies to be ready fore in education

The latest K-12 Horizon Report was released back in April, road-mapping technological changes in the education landscape between now (2010) and 2015. The Horizon Report is the result of the New Media Consortium’s Horizon Project, which is a research effort started in 2002 to identify and describe emerging technologies likely to have a large impact on teaching, learning, research or creating expression within teaching around the world.
The report identifies six emerging technologies or practices that are likely to enter mainstream use within the next one to five years. Each topic is introduced with an overview of what the technology or practice is, its relevance to teaching or creative expression, examples of its use and suggested readings and additional examples are provided. In addition, it presents critical trends and challenges that will affect teaching and learning over the same time frame.
The five key trends towards adopting technology identified were that technology is:

  • increasingly a means for empowering, a method for communication and an integral part of students lives
  • continuing to profoundly impact the way we work, collaborate, socialise and succeed
  • increasing the perceived value of innovation and creativity
  • there is increasing interest in just-in-time, alternate, or non-formal avenues of education, such as online learning, mentoring, and independent study
  • changing the way we think of learning environments

The Critical Challenges that the report identified are that:

  • digital media literacy continues its rise in importance as a key skill in every discipline and profession
  • students are different, but educational practice and the materials that support it are changing only slowly
  • many policy makers and educators believe that deep reform is needed, but at the same time, there is little agreement as to what a new model of education might look like
  • a key challenge is the fundamental structure of the K-12 education establishment itself
  • many activities related to learning and education take place outside the walls of the classroom — but these experiences are often undervalued or unacknowledged

The six technologies or practices presented in the report include:

  • On the near term horizon (next 12 months): cloud computing and collaborative environments
  • On the second adoption horizon (2 to 3 years out): game based learning and mobiles
  • On the far horizon {4 to 5 years away): augmented reality and flexible displays
It is interesting to note that the critical challenges are relevant even here in Queensland, Australia. One of the core values of the Productive Pedagogies teaching framework is to create real-world contexts for students, which is one of the challenges presented in this report, as well the fact the the education institution itself is sometimes the cause of problems that are encountered. It is also interesting to note that I am very interested or entrenched in technologies that will effect education in the near to medium term, and as such are in a perfect position to ensure that I and my students are ready for these technologies and practices.