12596 OL: LAST MINUTE CANCELLATION: Speculative Educational Technology Futures

06/12/2015 @ 2:00 PM – 3:30 PM
El Capitan B

Organizers: sava saheli singh, Tim Maughan

The future of technology in education is always portrayed as the answer to what ails current educational realities. But for many of us, this ed tech future with its promise of a democratic system affording equal access and social equity is just that: always the future. The innovation-obsessed cycle continues as we are endlessly dissatisfied with how little difference these promises make to the people implicated in these futures. These products and practices, cloaked in the latest buzzwords and jargon, often trickle down to less-privileged populations after they’ve been tried and rejected, yet still adopted as the new and advanced methodology that will solve the “problem” of education, while ignoring larger societal, cultural, and economic issues.

In an attempt to break away from the standard model of reimagining and presenting emerging technological innovations in a context-free bubble, we want to provide a context based on wider future trends. For example, what real-world effects will issues such as climate change, smart city technologies, and changing modes of access to networks have on individuals attempting to reap the benefits of new educational models?

Instead of investigating or listing out each trend or technology and their individual effects, we will present a selection of case studies to illustrate their possible impact on society and education in both positive and negative ways. We will follow the lives of individuals in imagined futures from different ethnic, economic, and cultural backgrounds illustrating how each of them might interface and interact with the different technologies.

For example:

– How might gamification and badges translate from school to the workplace for inner city children?

– What could be the implications of big data, ‘smart cities’, and surveillance technology on educational spaces?

– What are the potential differences in how MOOCs may be used for professional development by practitioners in middle-income vs. lower-income populations?

– What is the impact of DIY and Maker communities on global economics and access to education in other countries?

– How might ubiquitous/wearable technologies impact the standard of living and educational opportunities for different communities?
The aim is to merge academic approaches to emerging educational trends with a futures/foresight style approach to wider social, economic, and environmental changes – how can we take possible futures into account and then work towards mitigating the negative effects of those? We will use techniques and methodologies such as design fiction, world building, and user journeys, and also involve the audience in active and lively participation in imagining the future of education.

The goal of this approach is less to make accurate predictions about the impact of future technologies and practices on education and more to place them within the context of emerging trends. We hope to help people reimagine possible educational and technological futures from a more well-rounded, holistic, and inclusive viewpoint.

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