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Top 10 Countdown

A concise trend report for the decade from a tech exec whose observations range from the boardroom to the classroom.

Mike LooneyWith more than 22 years of experience in technology and education, Mike Looney has a unique perspective on digital literacy, understanding the challenges faced by educators as well as by companies bringing new technologies to market. Before assuming the role of senior director of Education at Adobe Systems, he worked at other industry-leading technology companies, including Digital Equipment Corp., Claris Corp., and Apple Computer. Looney holds a master’s in psychology and a Ph.D. in communications, beginning his professional career as a public school teacher in Oregon. He sees the move toward digital communications as an exciting opportunity for both educators and students to share more creativity and enthusiasm in learning. Herewith, his predictions for the next decade.

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The incredible shrinking PC

  • PCs will be displaced by smaller and smaller computing and communications devices supporting a wider array of functionality.
  • New applications for yet-to-be-created and existing devices such as personal digital assistants (PDAs) and personal entertainment players will emerge.

The digital vending machine

  • A vast online resource of research and info, addressing copyright issues and micro-commerce schemes, will be accessible to students and faculty worldwide.
  • Students will increasingly look for information outside of traditional libraries.
  • Faculty/students keep uncovering new strategies for delivering research globally.

Borderless learning

  • A global student body will have access to more, quality eLearning programs.
  • Web-based programs will expand to serve students with similar interests, albeit from widely divergent cultures.

Better accommodation of varied learning styles

  • Multimedia technology will aid visual learning, and in particular, will assist students having difficulty with traditional approaches to learning.
  • Student testing and evaluation will change to reflect alternative learning styles, supported by new technologies.

ePortfolios make the grade

  • Universities will use media-rich portfolios as part of admissions processes and then will track and evaluate student performance using digital portfolios.
  • Potential employers will review digital resumes/ePortfolios, not paper docs.

A personal appeal

  • Online community-building activities will offer more opportunities for schools, the community, and alumni to interact with one another.
  • Fundraising/marketing will change as tech-savvy administrators use technology to send frequent, personalized communications to prospective students/alumni.

Interactive learning on the rise

  • Interactive “e” assignments will lead traditional texts for all levels of coursework.
  • Printed syllabi will evolve into online syllabi with links to assignments.
  • Course content will be assembled from a variety of online sources, not a limited number of printed materials

Easing the paper chase

  • For routine administrative processes, students will submit “e” forms, not paper.
  • A variety of digital review processes complete with electronic workflows, signatures, and security will replace stacks of paper.
  • Universities and colleges will free more funds from administrative processes and devote the resources to enhancing student and faculty programs.

Technology not just for techies

  • Liberal Arts and other non-technical programs will see increased reliance on multimedia tools for enhanced student learning.
  • Students will apply more visual, interactive computer-based approaches to completing assignments in math, physics, history, and other subjects.

Literacy redefined

  • Expanded degree programs will prepare students for the new workforce.
  • Success in school and the workplace will require true mastery of multimedia and productivity-enhancing technologies.
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