AUGUST 17, 2015
by Renee Patton, Cisco US Public Sector Education Director
I had the honor and pleasure of working with Dr. Alan Shark, Executive Director and CEO of the Public Technology Institute (PTI) and associate professor of practice at the Rutgers University School of Public Affairs & Administration, on the publication of a The Digital Revolution in Higher Education, How and Why the Internet of Everything is Changing Everything.
It was over breakfast in Cupertino, CA where we had the idea of writing a book about the significant revolution taking place in higher education, a revolution largely being driven by the Internet of Everything, or the mass influx of technology on college and university campuses across the nation, and one being accelerated by student desire to Learn without Limits.
We wanted to take a different approach to our book. Rather than creating yet another tome on trends or telling universities what to do and how to cope with this revolution, we wanted to write the book based on perspectives from a range of individuals who, while connected in some way with higher education, would bring a range of highly diverse perspectives to the discussion. We talked with an innovation expert, faculty members, a university CIO, the president of a large, state-system, highly-renowned futurists, and students, to obtain a view of the future, and how The Internet of Everything really would change everything in Higher Education. We finished the book with a framework for change, providing a practical approach to educational leaders on how to navigate, and thrive, through the changes hitting colleges and universities.
While the book isn’t just about trends, Dr. Shark’s chapter on trends, “An Ongoing Journey – Technology Trends for 2015 and Beyond,” provided an intriguing view into what we might expect in higher education. He highlights five major categories where technology will make an even greater impact in the years ahead.
First, expect learning environments to be smart, ultra-connected, and rich in multi-media. The walls of the traditional classroom are crumbling: teachers can teach from anywhere, and students can learn from anywhere.
Second, the mobility factor. According to Cisco, there will be 50 billion things connected to the Internet by the year 2050. These things include a range of devices, sensors, and wearable technology. Video will represent 65% of mobile traffic by 2019, and these will all impact education, enabling students to learn anywhere, anyplace, and on any device.
Third, research will become hyper-collaborative, and new data and analytical technologies will enable enormous processing and computational powers. Shark says, “Perhaps, statistical standards we use now for declaring accuracy will likely be increased because larger samples can be generated far more easily.”
Fourth, new Internet of Everything technologies will streamline the administration of things and people, saving time and money on activities such as online student registration, information on websites, and learning management systems that link everything together and enable administrators to have a better understanding of anything that might be happening at any point in time.
Finally, the Internet of Everything will better enable new approaches to lifelong learning. This includes badging, MOOCs, and certifications that provide learners with choice and an array of options to continually upgrade and expand skills and knowledge.
Shark closes the chapter with this: “Perhaps the greatest change moving forward will involve the concept of place. The Internet of Everything implies ubiquitous connectivity among humans and machines.” Learning environments can be anywhere, and everywhere, enabling students to Learn Without Limits.
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