Driving Innovation: Overcoming Hurdles

This spring the new CoSN project, “Driving K-12 Innovation,” started to develop. A team of over 100 educators from around the globe began to address the first key element: Hurdles. I’m part of the team of advisers who are identifying the Hurdles – “obstacles that make participants slow down, evaluate, practice and then make the leap to better support teaching and learning.”

Hurdles that the team of advisors are addressing include: Scaling and Sustaining Innovation, Changing the Perception of Teachers who are Reluctant Technology Users, Humanizing Online Learning, Digital Fluency, Developing Non-Cognitive Skills, Evolution of Teaching, Ongoing Professional Development, Inadequate Resources, Remaining Relevant, Pedagogy vs. Technology Gap, Digital Equity.

In the first phase advisers are attempting to define each Hurdle so there’s common language. In addition, each adviser ranks each Hurdle on how surmountable the challenge for overcoming the obstacles, outlines what might happen if the Hurdle is not address, identifies how the Hurdle manifests itself in schools today, and a details a plan of action to overcome the Hurdle.

Soon the advisers will be challenged to identify the five main Hurdles. It will be interesting to see how educators from around the globe pinpoint the common Hurdles. I’ve discerned over the last decade a more common focus in schools. In September I’ll travel with a CoSN delegation to Norway and Finland to investigate the educational technology landscape. I’ll be quite interested to see how educators in these two Scandinavian countries look at the Hurdles that are identified by the CoSN team.

Horizon Report for K-12 Becomes Driving Innovation

I just returned from the annual CoSN Conference in Washington D.C. At the conference CoSN announced a new initiative – Driving K-12 Innovation. In the world of Educational Technology leaders the annual K-12 CoSN Horizon Report has become a staple for planning and conversation. At the end of November the New Media Consortium announced that it had to declare bankruptcy. The Horizon Report not only for  K-12, but for Higher Ed and all other versions was in jeopardy. EDUCAUSE, the partner for the higher education version, decided to purchase the assets for the Horizon Report. Behind the scenes a team of CoSN Board Members, staff, and volunteers with the CoSN Emerging Technologies committee met to map out a possible strategy for a new direction for K-12.

I had a special insight into what worked and what did not work with the existing report. I was on the Board of Advisors for the 2017 CoSN K-12 report. I was happy to see the new format that now includes three reports that will come out at different times during the year. In addition, the new initiative will feature a slight change in the configuration. The new direction will attempt to take the best of the past with some needed adjustments. According to CoSN here’s the focus:

  • Hurdles.  Obstacles that make participants slow down, evaluate, practice and then make the leap to better support teaching and learning
  • Accelerators.  Megatrends that drive change – sometimes suddenly other time so gradually the implications aren’t readily apparent.
  • Tech Enablers.  Tools that support smoother leaps over the hurdles and expansive changes in global K-12 education.

Stay tuned and if you’re interested and have expertise in the world of emerging technologies, please consider volunteering.

Technology and the Future of Work

Every day there seems to be a new report about the future of work. Will most jobs be replaced by robots? How will artificial intelligence impact future careers? The answers vary depending on the source and the underlying presuppositions. In November I had a chance to join over 150 educational and community leaders for a Career Readiness Summit sponsored by Remake Learning in Pittsburgh. According to Remake Learning, the event was a chance to “analyze the current state of workforce development, share promising practices, and build the partnerships required to prepare students for a changing world.” The keynote for the event was Tom Vander Ark. Tom addressed a variety of issues but focused on the impact of artificial intelligence on the future of work.

Remake Learning highlighted on their website the key implications that Tom made about career readiness for students today. These included the ability to:

  • navigate projects and work in teams, as the majority will be freelancers by 2027,
  • contribute to the economy through human judgement, creativity, empathy, social interaction, and innovative mindset,
  • work computationally and across disciplines, and
  • upskill continuously as the economy and required skills will change at a more rapid rate than ever.

Much of Tom’s references came from his research for his new project, “Ask About AI: The Future of Work.” While industries like medicine and law grabble with the implications of Artificial Intelligence in their business practices, education has not really begun to address the impact of AI on learning. Tom and the Getting Smart Team spent two years studying the implications of AI and came to the following conclusion: “machine intelligence turbocharged by big data and enabling technologies like robotics is the most significant change force facing humanity.”

To follow Tom Vander Ark and his team as they continue to document this trend, use the hashtag #AskAboutAI.