Wednesday, December 9, 2009

General: A view of the future?

I have been asked to prepare a paragraph on how technology might look in the next ten years in New Zealand, and to comment on how an academic institution might need to be aware of to be prepared for the future.

Here's my thoughts:

By 2019, internet access will be ubiquitous in New Zealand. Broadband infrastructure and mobile devices will make connectivity universal. Information will be at one’s fingertips, literally. All books, theses, journals will be available instantly on request; payment will be through either micropayment or institutional license (for enrolled students). Society will learn fairly quickly that connectivity does not equate with learnativity.

Part-time enrolments will increase as more students balance the opportunity costs of tertiary education with their own desire for lifelong learning. Full-time students will also exist however they will be a minority of, typically, school-leavers. To overcome the barriers of ‘local’ distance, classes will be streamed live to all course enrollees who will in turn participate via their mobile devices. Students will interact through online spaces that are extremely fluid and convenient to use from mobile devices however such interaction will serve only a small part in academic learning. Assessment will increasingly become important; rather than being collaborative, assessment will become increasingly reflective and integrative in scope. The classic essay will remain.

To be prepared we need only anticipate with open minds. The switch to this sort of environment is neither complex nor expensive, and good quality education and course design will remain so in this emerging environment.

Some reports and further banter are available from

A more cynical view of the future would be as things are now, only more of our students drive to class in hybrid cars ;o)

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