Home > teaching > Adapt or Die…one year on…

Adapt or Die…one year on…

Last year I wrote “Edupunks have been making, sharing and collaborating already, and their practices will have to become mainstream for quality further & higher education to continue as before.”

Image by Robert Brook (Flickr) used under CC

Here are some of my other predictions and comments on how they have (or haven’t) come true.

Cuts will lead to less investment in ICT, staff and support.

Budgets are virtually zero. There have been spending ‘holds’ and all spending must be approved by top level management. Has anyone had any decent training this year?

Educators will embrace the cloud, moving their course content into the open network and enabling greater sharing between institutions and across boundaries that were previously seen as no-go areas.

In my department we’ve moved our course materials to Google Apps / Sites. I frequently see educators at Teachmeets and on Twitter talking about the Web 2.0 tools they’re using – blogs, wikis, etc. Some Scottish teachers are moving outside of Glow, as they find it limiting. Even the Scottish education minister, Mike Russell, has cut funding for Glow as web 2.0 tech provides more and better for free.

Closed Virtual Learning Environments will be replaced by open networks of collaboration.

See above. My department is using Facebook and Google Apps / Sites. Increasingly other educators are using the best tools for the job, not just what their institution purchased. The Centre for Innovation, Learning & Teaching at my college has set up a ‘Love Teaching Love Technology’ Facebook group which has been joined by many people from outside the college.

Course materials will be shared under Creative Commons licensing.

Look at Adobe Education Exchange or the TES Education resources site. I’m sure there are more.

Increasingly, open source and free software will become the norm rather than the exception.

The use of online tools is increasing rapidly. Google Docs, Phone Apps, Cloud storage. A week doesn’t go by without a new one appearing and someone tweeting about how they’re using it in education. Students are turning to cloud storage to overcome the limitations in their education establishments…so are teaching staff.

Teams of educators, adopting an open-source philosophy, will collaborate worldwide to maintain or replace systems that once were run by commercial concerns and left to wither and die (Delicious?).

www.compednet.com is a great example – support forums & blogs for teachers, made by a teacher, supported by teachers. The Educator’s PLN is also another example of a place where collaboration and networking is taking place. I’m sure there are more that I can’t think of just now.

Students will adapt to using their own equipment, phones, cameras, netbooks which will no longer be supplied by their institution.

Sometimes half of my class have their own laptops with them. Several have started using their own still and video cameras as they’re ‘better than the old ones at college’. Phones are used constantly for social media and students use them to post to their class Facebook groups at all times of day and night.

Paperless working will have finally arrived.

This week my college started charging students for each print they make. Although the cost is small, many students are asking to submit work electronically, and staff are encouraged to allow them to do so. Staff training session are being offered to help lecturers to make better use of electronic media. I have forgotten the PIN code for the photocopier as I use it so little.

Learning from your own home (and teaching from home) will negate the need for costly buildings and transportation.

The ‘flipped classroom’ is probably this year’s top education buzzword. It’s about learning and researching at home, before going to class for meaningful activities related to the learning. Education management’s attitude to this needs to change, as many still don’t like the idea of staff and students not being visible in the workplace.

Student socialising will happen in the virtual world, but become increasingly sophisticated with the addition of video conferencing and collaborative tools.

Facebook has become the tool of choice for extra-mural (and sometimes intra-mural) communication. Educators post important class information, assessments and learning material on Facebook. Students share their work, post tips and help each other online.

Students will have greater choice as real online learning becomes possible and location becomes less important.

The Khan Academy is probably the best known example – offering videos on many different learning topics. Stanford University is offering free online courses (I’ve signed up for Computer Science which starts in February). More and more institutions are offering free, open content.


This is the present of education. This is 2012. You’ve adapted, or you’re dead.

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Categories: teaching
  1. crlgibbons
    December 4, 2011 at 8:31 pm

    FE has still got a long way to go. Students (and staff) can’t use their own devices because there is no wifi. Paper – I am under a paper mountain. VLE – staff are being ‘forced’ to load stuff onto Moodle – reason being given is accessibility. Need I go on.
    On the other hand we have come a long way in 5 years. Where will be in another years?

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