Following is a situation for instruction: There are no or few institutions of higher education since there is no need to attend. We build our own learning paths, our learning activities logged by something from multiple sources and kept in a repository under our names.
When searching for jobs etc., our learning repositories are analyzed by AIs / Machine Learning algorithms that assess our learning journeys to the job specs. Given enough information, machines become better at matching candidates. A job interview consists of a red or green light, along with a retinal scan, a weight indicating failure or success.
Can this oversimplified, instead dystopian vignette the culmination of trends?
Some might say that current ‘trends’ exist in the hopes of future-gazers and tech entrepreneurs than in reality. When she writes in this informative article reliably acerbic tech blogger Audrey Waters thinks,
“(Deliberate) Misinformation — about exactly what the ed-tech can do, about the issues it will solve, about what sort of circumstances students and schools and society are now confronting, about what sort of future new technology will necessarily give us is picked up and wielded by far too many education leaders and decision-makers. That’s what a decade of ed-tech social media and PR have wrought: hashtag gurus and fake information.”
The urge to shape the future is nothing new. In 1930 after years of commercial failure with his creation the Automatic Testing Machine (see image), Sidney Pressey nevertheless believed wholeheartedly in the future of machines in schooling: “Over the next twenty decades, special mechanical aids will make mass-psychological experimentation commonplace and bring around in education something similar to the Industrial Revolution… where instructional science and the ingenuity of instructional technology combine to modernize the inefficient and clumsy procedures of conventional schooling.”
Pressey was a psychology professor made a learning product based on his study and driven by theories. How accurate are these days? Are some modern tech entrepreneurs driven by money with students as’meat widgets’ within their own systems?
Pressey did not understand that computers will return everything along, so predictions have a tendency to spend the format the subsequent five decades’ rather than the twenty-five years’. But the thinking is the same: a hopeful assertion that particular technologies close to the asserter’s hearts (and wallets) will catch on soon and revolutionize everything.
So, without wishing to bite the hand that feeds us (tech) we encourage a healthy skepticism when studying about’trends’ over the next few decades, and to ask oneself whether the learning utopia being clarified springs from a concern for enhancing the quality of education, or enhancing the tech entrepreneur’s bank balance. A balance can always be found somewhere between the two, but we should beware of some trends that are nothing more than a businessperson’s fevered imagination’s.