Well 2009 was certainly a transitional year for the type of tech that I follow. We seem to have moved from a world with clear definitions of media type to one where those types are starting to blur. This blurring seems to be due to one factor, the shift toward ubiquitous, real time data. This shift has made an impact on commerce and journalism, avoiding the one place where many would hope it would/could make a difference – education. Perhaps the reason for this is because at it’s root, education is geared to provide a foundation, but this foundation, once built should be using the tools that the “rest of the world” uses, right? Well, that is the conversation that will take forever and will likely never be resolved and in my experience seems to now be related to the fact that in order to exist in the educational sphere, there must be some measure of assessment and there is as of yet, no way to get the assessment tools developed fast enough to match the technologies that are being used. So with that in mind, how might we reconcile this relentless advance of technology with the lead foot dragging of education? Well I’m proposing that we forget about assessment when we are dealing with technology in education in 2010. Rather we look at technology as a way of enabling the communication needed to learn about various parts of the world and deal with the assessments as they are. Perhaps they are antiquated, perhaps they are progressive, but in the end, they are discipline specific and technology is largely discipline agnostic. The assessment of technology use will not actually be done in the classroom, but rather in the halls as students will be the masters of one communication form and instructors of another. Hopefully, there will be enough of an overlap that the two can still communicate.
This does not mean that I’m giving up on integrating technology in education, but rather looking more at what I’ve been saying is the new direction of this blog is – looking at technologies that help advance the story. The story is the learning, the assessment is something else all together.
So with that in the back of your mind, let’s see how I did over 2009. My points from last year:
- Rise of mobile data/3G in Canada
- A change in form factor preference
- Mobile UIs
- Technology abandonment
- Photo/Video convergence
- Rise of mLearning and mobile linked services
- Net neutrality and Copyright
- Microblogging going more mainstream and perhaps becoming the search jump point
- “This is me”
- The depression/recession/retrenchment
And here is how I think I scored:
- On the rise of mobile data, well that seems to have happened as data has got much cheaper over the last year and newcomers to the market like Wind Mobile are really helping this. The use of “data sticks” to provide ubiquitous connectivity certainly helps this point get made. There are also more plans out there with unlimited text, which suggests that the telcos are admitting in their own way that it costs less than nothing to handle SMS.
- The form factor has indeed got smaller and it seems now that Intel has put it’s hammer down and defined what a “netbook” really is, the format is indeed taking off. The use of Android on non phone style devices also points to a change in form factor. The iPhone didn’t really get the accessories to make it that much cooler, but Apple seemed to have other issues with the App store, so perhaps that played into things where developers where not willing/wanting to get involved into big development for the platform. That being said, there were some interesting remote programs as well as the development of hypervisors for the platform that make it more into a controller than a traditional hub. The same holds true with the other mobile platforms.
- Mobile UIs seem to have had a mixed year. There are more content pages that are delivered in a mobile friendly format, but platform specific UIs (iPhone sites) seem to be dropping off.
- Technology abandonment, well I should have called this niche gadget abandonment. There are many gadgets out there doing “one offs” other there and none of them seemed to get any traction this year (like the Twitter only Peek), Apps and widgets on the ubergadget seem to be the way that things are getting done.
- Photo and Video did indeed converge with just about every new SLR body having HD video as a feature.
- mLearning/Mobile linked and microblogging as the jump search point – well I think I hit that nail on the head pretty good. To the point where the big search engines have integrated Facebook and Twitter into their results. Of course there are many other real time services out there, but now that we see real time data in search, that field is only going to expand and have an impact on the static Web 1.0/1.5 and early Web2.0 content that is out there. New services, if they were to have any real popular geek traction seemed to have at least some type of mobile interface.
- Copyright continued to grow as did net neutrality. These dry, geeky topics started to come up more often on the news and the public is at least understanding that there is something going on there that they might want to at least be aware of.
- “This is me” seemed to have a blip this year as Facebook had a “land grab” when it enabled /user account referencing. That didn’t really seem to matter much to anyone as they were already ignoring what it said in the addressbar. People already seem to think of their account in their various SNS to be them, and it seems they don’t need a URL to help that out.
- Finally the recession, be it over or not, seems to have done one thing – not the scraping for parts that I thought would happen, but rather a bigger move toward virtualization.
So it seems to me that I hit, or at least ticked each item on my list for 2009. So what am I thinking about 2010? Well in a word… cloud. But here is the list:
- Augmented Reality – phones and other GPS enabled devices will add value to the world by being able to overlay data that incorporates real time updates, static content and, of course, social data.
- Increased power of mobile – From payments (PayPal has apps out there now), to creation and management, increasingly you’ll have to be able to do it all mobile.
- Privacy erosion – we’ll see just how fleeting privacy is, anything that gets transmitted is public, period. We should see much more this coming year, how and why this is the case. But at the same time, the value of the crowd being able to take a peek at what you do will gain value.
- Decline of traditional transmission – I think (and hope) that cablecos will realize that PVR is the first step in enabling people to get content the way that they want – and that way is file based. I don’t know if the cablecos are going to make this move or if the content creators are, but it’s certainly coming. Fast pipes, big drives and cheap streamers make it very easy to set up one’s home to be able to download last night’s episode of whatever and watch it at a more reasonable time. Apple has some of this going through iTunes, but the system is overly restrictive and I don’t think people like the idea of paying for things twice.
- Casual Gaming will explode – games on Facebook, Twitter, phones are going to grow and traditional games are going to stagnate… unless they have some social element.
- Chrome – a non phone web based OS is going to make ripples, especially for those many billions out there who only really surf and turf on their machines. For those who need to handle media files, traditional machines will still be there, but the appeal of the “global roaming profile” will certainly appeal to many.
- Short URLs – There is a reason why Google and Facebook have got into the game. I think brands are going to go to these to show approval or ownership.
So how does this all work with the “Cloud”? Well the cloud is something that is going to be delivered by only a small group of companies. Google, Amazon are Microsoft are the usual suspects to be able to deliver these predictions. I don’t think they will all come to fruition in 2010, but I’m certain that these will all have a solid start and I’m looking forward to see how the way that we learn from the storied that are enabled by these tools come to pass.
Finally, with another thousand posts over 2009, I have one more prediction. There will be much less traditional blogging. I don’t think I’ll have more than 500 posts next year as the emerging world of the web increasingly values the content that is shared in real time. So what does that mean? Well, in the past, when things happened, people blogged it and you’d use feed readers to keep up with what’s happening. Now ephemeral information and information that may not fit 100% with the theme of a blog will be tweeted or delivered over another such tool. What this means is that the tools that we choose to deliver/share content will be determined not by what we like, but by how long we’d like it to stay around (I’m talking best practice here). So I don’t think I’ll post about updating WordPress, because that is something that I’ll put into the twittersphere because it will only be relevant for a short time. But if something happens during that update that I think might have more lasting value, that will end up in the blog and if there are a number of those events that happen, they can be put into a more traditional site.
With that I’ll wrap up for the year, and effectively into the middle of January. You’ll likely see two more PoWs, but I don’t think there is going to be something earth shattering to blog about, but the tweets will likely come as they have.
All the best over the holidays.