DAILY INSIGHT: 10 ed tech predictions sure to go wrong in 2013

Is this the year someone will name a child "#"? 
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Is this the year someone will name a child "#"? 

By Carl Hooker, CIO Advisor

People always try to be prognosticators at this time of year. Resolutions, predictions, and usually at least one or two references to the end of the world will be spewn across the Internet in the next several days. So I decided to attempt my own top 10 prediction list, only these are predictions I’m pretty sure won’t happen. Besides, I think I have a better chance of success when I go with failures, so here goes:

Top 10 Ed Tech Predictions Sure to Go Wrong in 2013

1. The “21st-Century Skills” will be renamed something more appropriate and clever -

We’ve all fallen in and out of love with this phrase in the Tech world. ”Digital living” or “soft skills for the global marketplace” have been bantered about lately as alternatives, but I haven’t really heard a good phrase to replace this soon-to-be-13-year-old phrase. In technology years, that’s like a century old. If it hasn’t happened in the first 12 years of the 21st century, I doubt it will in the next year, but here’s my attempt: We should call them “the Curious Core” and do away with those 4 subject areas of the 1950s we clutch on to so tightly.

2. The Flipped Classroom will become commonplace -

When done right, the idea behind flipped instruction (homework at school, lecture at home) is a valuable tool. Although, it can also be just additional busy work or as Gary Stager puts it: "The flipped classroom outsources our inability to edit an obese curriculum to children who must pick up the slack in their 'spare' time." If this prediction comes true I pray it's not at the cost of kids having to double their school day, but my money is we are still a couple years away before this becomes commonplace.

3. The PC will make a comeback!

Just wanting to make sure you are paying attention. There will still be a bunch of PCs out there, especially in education where they can die a slower death. The reality is, there is a use for both PCs and mobile devices in the new educational landscape. That said, PCs will continue a downward sales trend.

4. A Non-Apple tablet will rule them all -

Apple’s iPad is likely safe for another year, but the not-so-impressive price point of the iPad Mini and the closing of the gap by Samsung, Kindle, Asus and now the Windows 8 phenomenon will mean Apple will have to continue to up its game to keep the wide lead it has in the tablet markets. And I haven’t even mentioned the biggest Apple competitor out there….Google.

5. More districts will realize there needs to be more instructional technology support staff -

In 2013, terms like BYOT, 1:1, flipping, MOOCs and “insert tech term here” will all be parts of classrooms in districts across the land. With all these great technology gifts comes a tail and it’s called training and support. Unfortunately, I don’t think this prediction comes true to the determent of all of us trying to truly make technology integrated and invisible. I’m fortunate to have my team of #iVengers, but a district real close to me decided to go in the opposite direction. In 2011, this unnamed, large, urban, central Texas district purchased 20,000 netbooks while simultaneously firing or “re-structuring” its entire Instructional Technology department. Now, those netbooks sadly sit in closets waiting to be loved.

6. Someone will finally name their child “#” -

We have a bunch of crazy names out there already, why not #? The problem is that people older than 40 will call him “Pound Sign” and people younger than 40 will call him “Hash Tag,” causing all sorts of character confusion later in life for this kid. No truth to the rumor that our third (due Feb. 26) will be called “@ Hooker”.

7. We will finally break away from accountability ratings based on high-stakes assessment -

There’s a better shot of JLo and Ben Affleck getting back together than this happening. I do think there is a groundswell movement sweeping across the country (and in Texas for sure) to do away with a lot of this. I think we are still somewhat addicted as an educational institution to the perversion of high-stakes testing. Other options could be accreditation and local accountability systems tied into evidence-based learning and national assessments. I just got way too serious there; who are we kidding? We all know what a smash hit Gigli was, right?

8. There will be a record turnout (and heat) for ISTE in San Antonio in June -

The ComicCon of the ed tech world comes back to Texas this year. With budget cuts (see number 5) and Texas’ non-Common Core values along with record-hot temperatures, the turnout for this event is likely to be down from San Diego the year before. I predict convention goers looking to make more of a splash in the Texas area will instead opt to attend the cultural event known as iPadpalooza held in Austin the week before. At least there will be live music and food trailers there!

9. Internet Memes will become the hieroglyphics of our culture -

As absurd as it sounds, this one is the one item on my list likely to come true. I think I’ve seen these quirky photo-phrases double on my Facebook and Twitter feeds every day since mid-March. What started as a bunch of “I Can Has Cheezburger?” cats will eventually evolve into an actual university-level course I predict called “American Meme: A picture is worth just a few clever words.”

10. My “Giving up email for Lent” experiment will be an epic success -

This experiment is way ahead of its time. In fact, maybe too much ahead of its time. I’m going to attempt to give up email for Lent on February 13, 2013. I’m going to have an auto “In the Office” response that tells people the other 15 ways in which they can get in touch with me. The premise is simple: The next generation of kids barely use email. While it may never go away (Hey, we still have snail mail), I do feel it’s time we start examining how it’s used and the wide variety of ways we now have available to us for communication. My wife and several co-workers have told me this could be the end of me, but I figure between the religious reasons and the fact that it begins on the 13th of ’13, I should be safe. Right? Stay tuned….

So there you go. I hope you enjoy and please if you know a professor who could teach the Meme class or think of a better phrase for 21st-century skills please comment below or just add to the list! Happy New Year!

Carl Hooker is director of instructional technology at Eanes ISD in Texas and blogs at Hooked on Innovation, where this is cross posted.



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