As near as I can predict, based on what I’ve been hearing, reading, and researching in the Educational Technology field these past couple of years, the major trends to watch through this next academic year (in no particular order) are:
- Cloud computing – as demand for scalable networks spreads dynamically during the ebbs and flows of our recovering economy, the power struggle for control (or at least not losing any perceived footholds already assumed) will continue to be a hot topic for debate and a popular hook of tech-tabloid headlines.
- Green technology – The aforementioned economic turbulence will continue to drive demand for such innovations as eTextbooks, paperless assignments, redesign and allocation of formerly tech-centered spaces toward more socially inviting ones, and power consumption reduction solutions.
- Web 2.0 collaboration – I expect to see increased migration among faculties and staff toward web-based collaboration apps including off-site storage, social-bookmarking, and eportfolio creation tools.
- Security – IT departments will have their hands full dealing with security and privacy issues both real and imagined.
- mLearning – pushing information to handheld devices as well as delivering instruction to mobile platforms will be one of the hot attention-getters world-wide this year (it’s about reaching the masses).
- Bandwidth – The battle for bandwidth will continue as new technologies are developed to speed delivery through existing channels as well as create new models for wireless delivery.
- Tablet readers – The publishing elite and their parasitic entourage will be working around the clock to deliver content to this new platform du jour.
- Social media networking – Social Media will continue to buzz about “who” you know (not “what”), and “how” you are connected.
- Monetizing the web – The new relationship economy will continue to churn creative models of monetizing the web via lite app upgrades, click-thru ads, push content, subscription feeds, paid apps, and ??
- Knowledge management – The data deluge will increasingly pressure enterprises of all types to ensure digital literacy among their constituents through new models of continuous professional development delivery promising baseline technology adoption, adaptation and integration within their defined best practices.
Five years ago, the buzzwords were all about email, spam, phishing, cookies, and adware. Cutting edge technology gurus were explaining Podcasting and RSS feeds. But many of these problems and interests were addressed by software-centric solutions.
The new models are trending toward virtualization of servers, networks, and storage which simply means the top 10 trends to watch will resolve themselves in some virtualized solution as opposed to a device-centric fix. In other words, the networked crowd will benefit from a distance.
So grab your smart device and find a seat near the babbling data stream. Watch the ebb and flow of these trendy buzzwords as they move with the tide. And add your valuable input by interacting with the networked crowd. More data is better if we want an accurate picture of the future.
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