Podcast #61

In this blockbuster finale of #edtechsummer, Edward and Doug invite three experts to share their thoughts on the future of educational technology. Michael Feldstein (e-Literate and Mindwires Consulting) reminds us that technology should serve pedagogy and suggests some sensible criteria which we can use to evaluate new products. Matthew Rascoff (Duke Center for Instructional Technology talks specifically about the future of the Learning Management System (LMS) and the potential for edtech to help students connect with each other. Bryan Alexander (independent futurist) steps back to ponder the broader impact of technology on higher education. All in all, this is one of our most thought-provoking episodes.

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Show Notes

0:00 Intro

0:34 Closing out Edtech Summer!

2:32 Who is Michael Feldstein?

3:24 Where is ed tech going?

7:38 Liberals all think they’re different. This can make faculty reticent to adopt technology when everyone else is. People who work in higher ed should spend more time thinking about teaching.

11:35 We need to support educators in being empirical. Medical analogies in education are common, but they’re often wrong.

15:07 Good teachers are empirical, but we don’t yet have a scientific model in higher education.

17:06 We’re trying to invent a pharmaceutical industry without a notion of medical science. Pencillin wasn’t invented, it was recognized. Empirical means a feedback loop: hypothesis-testing.

21:51 One key part of science is conversations. The learning management system can lead to learning.

25:40 The future of educational technology for Michael Feldstein. Tools as tutors.

29:06 Ed tech needs to save time, and make learning visible and shareable.

31:41 Doug on Michael Feldstein’s criteria for choosing educational tools:

  • Does it provide information on what students are doing and where students are succeeding/struggling? Does it “make learning visible?”
  • Does it make faculty more efficient and give them more time to focus on students?
  • Does it help faculty share information about students, treatments, and experiences? Does it encourage conversation between faculty?

35:27 Evaluating MOOC’s and the LMS using Michael’s criteria

41:25 Matthew Rascoff, Associate Vice Provost for Digital Education and Innovation, and what he does.

44:40 When the ed tech tail wags the teaching-learning dog and how to avoid it. The future of ed tech as more like an app store.

48:18 Educause’s Next Generation Digital Learning Environment. Some of the most innovative teachers use the LMS the least.

55:27 The adaptive theory of learning may be having a moment of soul-searching. It won’t disintermediate faculty and it’s not disruptive, but the social theory of learning has a lot to say for itself.

1:00:00 Duke’s goals: helping people learn more (effectiveness) and helping more people learn (distribution). Capitalism uses empathy to meet needs. In online learning, you can’t succeed without marketing.

1:05:22 Doug sees the LMS as not there yet, agrees the Next Generation Digital Learning Environment is what the LMS will become. Do markets meet needs or create them? Need to have vs. nice to have.

1:11:12 Introducing Bryan Alexander, consulting futurist

1:14:15 Bryan helps people explore their fears and fantasies about technology.

1:18:09 Whom we teach and when we teach them will likely change. Why aren’t we better at adapting to new environments? The humanities have adopted technology in a big way.

1:22:18 Why do people work in higher ed or in firms in general? Safety in numbers. Asking “Where is the LMS going?” today may be like asking “Where is communism going?” right before the fall of the Soviet Union.

1:29:47 To move forward and not let technology wag us, we need to appreciate science fiction and spend more time imagining of the future.

1:32:26 Doug’s big takeaways:

  • We’re headed toward a ‘thin’ LMS.
  • Adaptive learning is a lot of work.
  • The best tools may be discipline-specific.
  • The ed tech market is far from mature.
  • Choosing the tools is not the same as helping students.

1:37:34 Signing off.