7 tech predictions for higher education in 2014

“Predictions are challenging, especially when predicting the future.”

For teenagers, the option of anonymity online gives them the freedom to ask whatever they want.

Every year for the past decade, I have blogged about what I think the big ideas and trends around eLearning will be for the following year.  Some of those predictions have been spot on (MOOC-fever in 2009) while others have missed the mark (Confidence based testing in 2007 – I still think we missed the mark by not pushing this concept…).  But, with 2014 on its way, the time has come for some more predilections.

Differently than previous years, I have decided to go for quantity this time.  I’m going to briefly describe 7 trends that I believe will hit their stride, really get (meaningfully) started, or otherwise dot the education landscape.  In other words, here are 7 things I believe you will see blogged about regularly, formally written about in education publications, the subject of grants and other financial opportunities, and represented in numerous conference presentation titles.  Enjoy!

1. Tablets  – Already the dominant product today (most computer manufacturers have already limited creation of laptops, etc), schools will see more utilization of these devices. iOS will settle into a “premium” model due to market penetration. (Yes, the irony of Apple’s dominant position as the market adopted leader is not lost on someone who attended high school in the 1980’s.)Android will be used by the masses because of the “freemium” model. But more than that, the “groove” of curriculum, content, and assessment for education is starting to be felt with regard to these devices that are ubiquitous in many other businesses today. 

While this does not mean more teachers will employ use of social media – one look at the Babson survey finds that college professors are just now reaching the norms of the general population for personal use, while use of these tools in the classroom are still quite low – nor does it mean that K-12 organizations will open up the security gates for more web usage. The fear of life outside a walled garden is still real and still high.But tablets, which can now be seen in several commercials touting their educational relevance, will move into a place of appropriateness in the classroom. From simulations to assessment “packages” combining both software and hardware to better searching/citation aggregation, tablets will find a more relevant home in the walls of academia.