We live in an age with technology change happening at an ever increasing rate. We only need to think how few years it has taken for smart phones to become such an integral part of our daily lives to know that this pace of change is not going to slow down.
In my growing up years (a very long time ago now!) probably the biggest technology changes happening were quite significant, though we didn’t always realise it at the time. Cars became available to a much broader mass market. I’m pretty sure my father was the first person in either his or my mother’s family to own a car. This suddenly brought a whole new level of mobility in to our lives that had never been imagined previously. Second, TV became ‘mass market’. It was black and white, and in England had only three channels. It didn’t broadcast 24 hours a day like it does now, but used to close down at night with the national anthem. I think I’m right that it used to close down for a few hours in the morning and a couple of hours in mid afternoon as well. Nevertheless, it brought enormous changes in how families entertained themselves. The final one that sticks in my mind is the first computer games consols – one game (a simple form of tennis) where you either played against the computer or an opponent. It plugged in to the TV, so as soon as anyone wanted to watch something, you had to stop playing. None of us then knew what all this was the prelude to.
For the children who are growing up now, the technology really defines many of their life experiences both now and in the future. As a result, these things should matter and be of more than passing interest for us as educators. After all, it’s a future that we’ve committed to preparing children and young people for.
I’m always interested in expert predictions of what are going to be the ‘next big things’, especially when they come from people with a good record of past predictions. So, I was very interested to read this article that sets out the likely big tech trends for 2016;
11 Tech Trends That Will Define 2016
(Click on the link above to read the article)
The prediction about use of Artificial Intelligence to support the learning of special needs students is especially fascinating and makes a great deal of sense. It could be enormously powerful.