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2011-2020: Trends & Forces Of Change

We all know that several global, technological, and human shifts have been taking place over the last couple of decades. These have changed the way people, society, and organizations need to work. I’ve been reading several reports published by forecasting organizations that further clarify these shifts and highlight key forces of change that will re-shape the education landscape over the next decade. Here’s a list compiled from the Horizon Report published by New Media Consortium, the 2020 Forecast by KnowledgeWorks Foundation and the Institute for the Future.

Self – Altered Bodies

Advances in neuroscience — will lead to new adaptive learning designs for special learners
Greater threats to human and environmental health from climate change, pollution, war, extreme urbanization, and other man-made and natural disasters will place new pressures on minds and bodies
Impact on Schools
Adaptive learning for all
Increase in Service Learning and instilling in students a sense of stewardship for self and environment
Bio-Distress — Threats to our biological, ecological, and built environments drain resources and demand coordinated responses.
Cognitive Modification — The brain becomes a site for alteration and maintenance
Enabled Innovation — Neurodiversity, physical enhancements, and disability communities converge, turning marginalized populations into mainstream innovators
Eco-Schools — become a nexus for health, environment, community, and learning
Examples or early indicators of the changes
Sharp Brains –
Center for Eco Literacy –
Green Schools Initiative –
Organizations – Amplified Organization

Digital natives and social collaborative technologies are creating a generation of amplified individuals.
The social, collaborative practices and augmented capacities will trigger the creation of improvised organizational models.
Technology is increasingly a means for empowerment, a method for communication and socializing, and a ubiquitous, transparent part of our lives.
Increase in creation of information and transparency in a world of social networks.
Impact on schools
Digital natives and amplified educators and students will challenge traditional ways of organizing learning.
Change in the role of the school
When considering instructional technology, focus will be on how it can support connected, continuous, relevant, and adaptive learning
Multiple Literacies — Effective communication requires reading, writing, and interacting across multiple media and social platforms: Broadcast, Virtual worlds, Wikis, Blogs, Digital video, Microblogs, Social networking
Open Leadership And Sociability — Open collaborative platforms enable networked teams to self-organize and support ad hoc leaders
Beta Building — A beta culture is created that displays open critique and reflective practice
Collective Sensemaking — Diverse and abundant data streams increase the need for organizations to tap collective intelligence
Examples or early indicators of the changes
The Institute Of Creative Technologies — Pioneering research on transliteracy,
Plazes – Ad hoc collaboration through microblogs,
Flat Classrooms — Web 2.0 amplifies the fl at classroom,
Digg — Platform for collective input on what is hot on the Internet,
Systems — Platforms for Resilience

System disruptions in the areas of energy, finance, climate, and healthcare will be key forces of destabilization.
Strategies that resist the disruption and try to maintain the status quo will not enough and will be unsuccessful.
Institutions can meet the system failures through innovation, adaptation, and openness. The platforms for resilience will be responsive flexibility, distributed collaboration, and transparency.
There is increasing interest in just-in-time, alternate, or non-formal avenues of education, such as online learning, mentoring, and independent study.
Impact on Schools
Need to develop strategies for building resilience into their systems and for creating lightweight, modular infrastructures to support the health and wellbeing of students, staff, and families.
Partnerships and networks will be essential and critical for building resilient school communities
Educator-business partnerships to develop learning content
Growth in alternate forms of learning.
Smart Localism — Smart networking, data transparency, and bottom-up monitoring enable responsive, open decision-making
Learning Grids — Smart-networked resource providers and learning agents create lightweight, modular learning infrastructures
Autoimmune Responses — Brittle hierarchies continue to act in ways that seem institutionally rational but which further destabilize weak, inflexible systems
Shadow “Schools” — Super-empowered, networked learning agents leverage the growing learning economy to enable provisional learning systems
Examples or early indicators of the changes
Transition Towns — Community wikis for adaptive strategies,
Online School For Girls –
School Of One –
New Tech High School –
Societies — A New Civic Discourse

Rearticulation of identity and community in a global society — This is triggered by the convergence of online participatory media culture, diverse diasporic movements (the formation of dispersed populations that share common roots and identity), and new ways of managing shared resources or commons
Free and universal access to information is increasing for all citizens, whose informed opinions are in turn shaping policy and fostering greater global democracy.
Impact on Schools
Educational discourse will take place in online public forums and spaces as “educitizens” share the status of schools and educational decision-making, resources, and activities in their communities.
School administrators and teachers will need to learn how to communicate and interact in this new world.
New Civic Literacies — Participatory media and digital natives bring transparency and collective action to the civic sphere
Learning Commons – Educational stakeholders grow collective learning resources, creating an alternative to public and private
Diasporas As New Markets — Diverse movements of people create new identities and flows of learners
Personal Learning Ecologies — Families look outside the traditional “system” to create ecologies of learning experiences
Educitizens — Students and families affiliate around educational needs and claim rights as learners
Examples or early indicators of the changes
Futuremelbourne — The city plan that anyone can edit,
DC Voice — Community school audits help manage the learning commons,
Meetup For Youth Rights — Using Meetup to discuss youth rights,
Taking It Global –
Economy — Maker Economy

Personal fabrication technologies and open-source principles democratize production and design
New forms of bottom-up social networking and economic coordination, along with advances in small-scale, community-based fabrication and design, transform local economies in the next decade, enabling productive flexibility that will help cushion against economic instability.
Technology tools will enable local communities to innovate, customize, design and create their own economic futures to meet their needs. E.g. 3D Printers, computer controlled machine tools (such as laser cutters), online networking communities for designers, consumers, artisans to share blueprints, solutions, and how-to knowledge.
Impact on Schools
Innovation is valued at the highest levels of business and must be embraced in schools.
Schools will become important hubs of design knowledge, rapid prototyping, and problem-solving skills
Increased interdependence with the local community and businesses
New skills required for the maker economy
Personal Fabrication And Design — 3D printers, and digital machinery democratize the machine shop
Lightweight Community-Based Manufacturing — Ad hoc factories and job shops enable flexible, fast, and customized production, unlike fabrication by assembly lines and dedicated factories
Networked Artisans — Solo inventors, tinkerers, and craftsmen form networks to collaborate and celebrate their creations
Citizen R&D — Makers reach out to their markets and communities to ideate, iterate, and solicit feedback
Examples or early indicators of the changes
Ponoko — Share, sell, and fabricate your designs,
Techshop - Open-access, public workshop,
3D Printer — Print three-dimensional objects,
MIT’s Fab Lab — Get access to modern means for invention,
Instructables — Post your own how-to guide,
The Open Prosthetics Project — Affordable prosthetics through open design and production,
Knowledge — Pattern Recognition

Information will continue to burgeon and will force new ways of making sense of vast amounts of data
Data visualization will require new skills in discerning meaningful patterns
Social media and collaborative tools will leave “data trails” of online interactions
Visible data picture of our lives as citizens, workers, and learners will be available anytime and online. Location-based information will be gathered by GPSs in cell phones and car navigation systems. Health and environmental data will also be gathered.
Impact on Schools
Students, teachers, and parents will need to become sophisticated at pattern recognition in order to create effective and differentiated learning experiences.
New skills in collective sense making will redefine forms of knowledge, knowing, and assessment. (e.g. Building “Rivers of Information”)
Personal Metrics — Personal data trails about preferences, attributes, and performance shape an evidence-based culture
Data Visualization And Visual Literacy — Vast data streams require visual tools to discern underlying stories
Open-Source Assessment — Data trails, participatory media, and visual tools create new bases for reputation, mastery, and recognition
Games As Practice — Gaming platforms become critical training areas for work, problem-solving, and learning
Metaverse – Blended digital-physical realities create new learning geographies
Examples or early indicators of the changes
The Quantified Self — Blog tracking personal sensors and metrics,
Gapminder –Making statistics beautiful,
Rate My Teachers — Students and parents rate teachers and schools,
World Without Oil — Massively multiplayer alternate reality game,
Metaverse Roadmap — Pathways to the 3D Web,
Superstruct – Game designed by Jane McGonigal

author credits

Educator, Consultant, Presenter DR. SHABBI LUTHRA is empowering educators, students, & parents, & building powerful 21st century learning environments. She is currently the Director of Research & Development, at the American School of Bombay.

Image Source: Joisey Showaa

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