Monday, July 25, 2016

Future of Jobs - World Economic forum

From the World Economic Forum, comes another summary of the future of jobs - with an emphasis on employment skills and workforce strategy.The report looks at demographic and socio-economic drivers of change and their impact on future jobs. As an outcome of the approaching Fourth Industrial revolution brought about by advances in technology – artificial intelligence, genetics, robotics, nanotechnology, biotechnology, 3D printing, big data etc

An similar article on the website provides 9 ways education could meet the challenges. The recommendations are from the Global Agenda Council on Education. The recommendations are very general and they include: providing a compelling vision of the future; set ambitious goals that force innovation; create choice and competition; pick many winners; benchmark and track progress; evaluate and share performance of new innovations; pair great accountability with autonomy; invest in and empower agents of change; and reward successes and productive failure. Which reads to me, support the early adopters, record findings, learn from successes and failures and follow-through to ramp up to the next stage.

One of the references was interesting, on amplifying human potential from Infosys.The report focused on what young people's views were on the future. In general, there was great optimism. Summary of points are:
young people are an optimistic and pragmatic generation in the face of adversity;
emerging countries are optimistic and confident in their readiness for the future;
emerging markets and technological skill underpin the confidence;
future appetite for technology is concentrated among the already highly-skilled;
advanced markets show most significant gender gap in technological skills;
education is failing to prepare young people for working life;
right brain (softer cognitive skills) need nurturing – time management, people management, coordinating of others, tech skills related to study/ skills, actively learning, complex problem solving; training and teaching others, verbal communication, active listening, creativity, persuasion;
employers fall short on employees’ training expectations;
industry views on the future of skills and work are closely aligned with those of young people;
liquid skills will be pre-requisite for the future;
stable careers are most desirable; and
high awareness of radical changes on the horizon.

Much still needs to be done within the educations sector to ramp up responsiveness to change. It has been over a decade since many of the above themes were introduced - e.g. mlearn conference 2008 yet still very slow change in education to meet the needs of a rapidly changing world :( MOOCs were pushed as one game changer but the promise of MOOCs has since been ramped back with the tsunami now more of a ripple. For vocational education, MOOCs were not going to fit in with learner profiles and the types of skills required to be learnt. So, still no quick fix on the horizon, it is still going to be change through sound planning at the learning design stage and building of staff capability to bring about innovative practice.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Pokemon Go - AR in NZ

Unless you live in a country with no mobile coverage, it would be  difficult to miss the Pokemon Go phenomenon. Currently only available in certain countries, with NZ being in the list to be first up in being able to access the app. For iOS and Android and thankfully not yet on Windows, as I would be tempted to give is a go!

 In NZ the local media has surely gone over the top reporting summaries of the craze, providing warningstips and even one for people who will have no idea what it is all about!

While out for dinner with my 'kids' on Saturday, I found both plus partners have downloaded the app, although only one has succumbed (so far) to start playing. They are all in their late 20s / early 30s and would have been in mid-childhood when the original Pokemon phase began. My involvement then was the parent who had to shell out $$ to finance the acquisition of various aspects of the game and to mediate when things got rougher than usual as squabbles over Pokemon trading cards occasionally boiled over. I can see what a marketing coup the app is with an already present population of Pokemon knowledgeable users from the mid-thirties downwards.

The good thing is that most people will now find out about augmented reality and where it might be useful beyond gaming. AR is not new in education, see Hongkiat 2013 blog, and emergingtrends 2013 plus some more recent blogs - edsurge and teachthought. As always, it needs to be - what is the learning outcome from using AR? that is top most in implementing AR. My take from all the excitement. Good to see wide coverage of AR to raise it's profile. There is a need to leverage off all the AR apps that are out there already. Main challenge at present is that many are OS dependent and hardly any will run on Windows RTs :( however, with the increased realisation of the potential of AR, more apps will no doubt be developed and more contextualised AR apps may come about e.g this one developed in Spain for "car painting"  and  ARstudio developed in Australia.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Virtual Reality - vocational education applications

With my background in baking and patisserie, I have been a sceptic of virtual reality. Although visual input is important in learning baking, the whole baking process largely multi-sensory. Smell and feel are extremely important contributors to gauging various stages during baking. The real socio-materiality aspect about baking is tactile / textual. I often use the example of ‘being able to read the dough’ as it is mixed or handled. I encourage novice bakers to use their hands as in so doing, the feel the various physical changes cake batters or dough go through as they are mixed and processed.

However, VR is useful in many other trades. For example in construction, VR provides the ideal learning tool to learn socio-materiality aspects like spatial alignment and the ‘hidden’ utilities found in buildings (wiring, plumbing, heat / ventilation etc.). VR provides for access to parts of equipment or machinery which are usually difficult to get to e.g. in automotive trades. 

VR field trips to places difficult to get to (e.g. Mars) and VR games are also useful. Examples are more common in the schools as per this link and here.   Wired provided some higher education examples and hypergrid business looks into five ways VR could change education.

Hardware for VR is becoming affordable, examples are the OcculusVR goggles  (around the US$100 mark) and there is always the ‘maker’ option with Google cardboard which also requires a smart phone.

So as always, important to keep options open and to evaluate each opportunity to incorporate technology into education with the focus on learning. Does bringing VR in improve learning for the topic. If yes, is it a cost effective option, allowing for issues of ease of access to specialist equipment etc.

Monday, July 04, 2016


A collation of resources on e-assessments in preparation for a project of 'formative eassessments'.

There is an eassessment association in the UK with page with case studies and relevant journals including the international journal of eassessment - open access once you register.

Also a series of future of assessment conferences based in the UK with a vocational education focused series of conference with archives. The eassessment conference for education as a whole was in January 2016.

Australian resources include ebook by Crisp 2011 and an ncver report 2003 on online assessments for vocational education. Resources also from University of Melbourne site.

In NZ, Hazel Owen's blog and slideshare provides an overview of vocational education assessments. Ako Aotearoa has links in their resource guide to assessments and there is information from an etools project from Massey.

Overall, a good deal of information. Many discuss the pros and cons, especially related to summative assessments via digital methods. All also advocate the advantages of 'assessment for learning' via online, virtual / digital methods. So I think we are on the right track. To update the work from the past 25 years, current tools provide for even better possibilities to support the gathering of naturally occurring evidence / assessment for learning, especially to shift away from a predominantly text-based artifacts to multimodal / multimedia evidencing.