Futures of Education

There is no doubt that the future of education rests in the hands of technology and, as teachers and administrators, being able to embrace and adapt to these changes. The first thing that was presented in this week’s material was the use of thin clients and blade PCs. Being a student at Western Oregon University, this is something that I am very accustomed to because it is something that the university has incorporated into their system. Thin clients are hardware terminals without any software or hard drive and offer a centralized approach to using many computers. This can be seen on campus as a student can log onto any computer with their school issued username and password and access the same files. This approach is energy efficient, simple, and reliable. Out of all ideas that were presented this week, I think this is one that will be utilized the quickest. It is something that is already used by many universities and in a matter of a couple years I feel that high schools with also be included into the mix as well.

Due to the fact that I am not very “tech-savvy” the concept of virtualization was confusing to me. Basically it seemed to be a way for one to run multiple operating systems on one machine, which is not something that most people do. Benefits of virtualization include keeping the primary platform clean, saves money, is easier to manage, and is good for people who want to run a lot of programs at the same time. I am not sure where schools stand currently in terms of using virtualization but it seems that they would reap the same benefits as listed above.

Gesture-based learning using a Kinect seemed to be something new, innovative and fun. I can see this being something that is especially used in middle and elementary classrooms and for subjects such as geometry and physics. Although the idea of this is still very new, I can see it taking off within the next 3-5 years. As far as student advising and my career, I really do not think that this would be something that would be as useful as technologies such as virtualization and thin clients.

Lastly, I thought that the last video of Steve Schoettler had the most impact on me. It just reiterates that fact that like, he mentioned “education in the U.S. is not improving”. Working in education, this should be a huge red flag for every department. Aspects such as  family background, personality, multiple intelligences, understanding, and cognitive ability are all important to understand and measure in terms of analyzing the overall student yet we are not doing this, even though we have the technology for this already available. It seems to be a little disturbing that the same algorithms are used on the internet and in social networking to make recommendations to users, yet we are not applying them to one of the most important things in society, properly educating and analyzing our students to better meet their needs.

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