Click here to close now.


API Journal Authors: Liz McMillan, Elizabeth White, Carmen Gonzalez, AppDynamics Blog, Vormetric Blog

Blog Feed Post

This Week in the Future: Preparing for the Future of Education

I hope we can all agree that throwing technology at children will not make them smarter.

Let’s start there, because we are throwing a lot of technology at kids these days. Computers have made their way into many classrooms. Shockingly (and sadly), not all classrooms and educators, schools and parents stay up to date.

Tablets have sped up the use of technology in the classroom. The cost of these computing devices keeps dropping, lowering the barrier between the growing minds of kids and the necessity for technological literacy. But technology alone won’t make our kids smarter. This month, some interesting research reminds us: It’s the apps, stupid.

All About the Apps

Produced as part of a collaboration between the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading, the New America Foundation and the Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop, “Pioneering Literacy in the Digital Wild West: Empowering Parents and Educators” (by Lisa Guernsey, Michael H. Levine, Cynthia Chiong & Maggie Stevens) reviews education apps for kids. The report highlights that over 80 percent of top-selling paid apps in the Education Category target children; of those, 72 percent target preschool-aged children. But what’s the quality of all those apps? In short: not so good.

Out of the 137 recently published “educational literacy” apps, websites and e-books that the group reviewed, most only covered basic skills and basic forms of learning (like letters, sounds and word recognition). Less than 20 percent focused on high lever skills, like comprehension and the ability to understand and tell stories.

This research reminds us that technology alone in the hands of children is not enough. It also tells us that educational apps and software alone also is not enough. Buying our kids a bunch of apps will not make them smarter – a much broader parent, educator and peer learning framework is needed.

Literacy Skills in Apps

I don’t think this will surprise most people. In our better hours, we know that education is complicated and each child’s learning needs to be rigorously personalized. No two kids learn the exact same way, yet we still search for the big road signs to make sure that our kids are on the right road to the future.

Preparing for Tomorrow, Today

As a futurist, I often get asked by caring parents and earnest educators, “What can I tell my kids to do to get them prepared for the future?”

This question troubles me.

Typically, when people think about our kids and the future, they want to know what these young people can do today to prepare for tomorrow’s uncertainty. They talk about the future as if it’s this thing that is coming at our kids, and if our kids aren’t ready, the future will gobble them up like some evil witch in a fairy tale.

It’s this fear that troubles me. When it comes to our kids, many people are frightened of the future. This fear breeds bad decisions.

We throw poorly designed apps at our kids in hopes that the evil witch of the future will not eat them. Instead of taking the time to make measured decisions about our kid’s education, we freak out.

We freak out because we love our kids and we want our kids to have a safe and prosperous future. This is a good thing. More people should freak out. But where should we put all that energy? Can we focus someplace more constructive?

We’re Doing it All Wrong

Douglas Rushkoff has an idea for what we could do with all that energy. Doug is a media theorist and technology writer. In the early 1990s, he wrote one of the first thoughtful books about the Internet: Cyberia: Life in the Trenches of Cybersapce. In his most recent book, Program or Be Programed (2011), Doug wrote:

“The underlying capability of the computer era is actually programming—which almost none of us knows how to do. We simply use programs that have been made for us, and enter our text in the appropriate box on the screen. We teach kids how to use software to write, but not how to write software.”

I take Doug’s advice one step further. When I get the question, “What can I tell my kids to do to get them prepared for the future?” I immediately answer, “Learn to code!”

That’s it.

Typically, the person who asked the question looks puzzled, having expected a more complex answer. I repeat myself: “Learn to code!”

Everyone should learn how to code, not just kids.

It’s a simple solution to the math of the coming future. We know that by 2015, there will be around 15 billion computer and devices that can connect to the Internet. That’s more devices than there are people on the planet. All of those devices run on code, software and applications.

Many people talk about learning Chinese, German or Hindi a valuable skill for the coming decades. While I agree, I would also say that learning to code might be more important. There will be more computers than people in China, Germany and Japan put together.

However, understanding code goes far beyond just being able to talk to computers and understand how those computers talk to each other. When you really dig in and start to understand this code, you learn something very important about the future.

From Baking Cake to Coding Apps

To understand code is really about understanding an algorithm. This might sound super geeky, but an algorithm is pretty simple. It’s a series of steps used to process data and deliver an end result.

Some of the first algorithms were cooking and baking recipes. By following each step, you get the same end result. Some dry ingredients, some wet ingredients… mix them up, pop it all in the oven, wait a bit and boom! You get cake. The algorithm could look like this. I drew it out in my notebook:

Baking Algorithm

When you really get to know how algorithms work you realize two things:

(1) Algorithms are beautiful. They are “recipes” that let us do amazing things. Look at Google’s Page Rank algorithm (pictured below). This is the algorithm that essentially built Google. This collection of steps allows you to do a search for “simple cake recipe” and get back about 41,300,000 results in 0.26 seconds.

Google Algorithm

When you think about all the amazing things this little recipe allows us to do every day, you become humbled by Page Rank. It is a beautiful creation by people.

(2) Code, algorithms and computers are stupid. Think about the computer or smartphone you use every day. If you don’t interact with it exactly how you are supposed to, it doesn’t work. In this way, computers are kind of idiotic. If anything out of the ordinary happens, BAM! It crashes, freezes or just doesn’t work.

Computers, code and algorithms need us to program them. We need to give them step-by-step functions. They can’t do anything else from what they are programed to do. Algorithms don’t have genius ideas… they are built that way.

However, humans have genius ideas! Understanding the limitations of code and algorithms shows you how valuable we all are as humans. Embracing this allows us to better prepare for a world where there are more computers than humans.

(Stay tuned for another look at the future of education, coming early next week.)


DISCLAIMERI am Intel’s futurist. I am currently on sabbatical from Intel.  My thoughts, observations and analyses are mine personally and I am not speaking on behalf of Intel.


Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Shelly Palmer

Shelly Palmer is the host of Fox Television’s "Shelly Palmer Digital Living" television show about living and working in a digital world. He is Fox 5′s (WNYW-TV New York) Tech Expert and the host of United Stations Radio Network’s, MediaBytes, a daily syndicated radio report that features insightful commentary and a unique insiders take on the biggest stories in technology, media, and entertainment.

@ThingsExpo Stories
WebRTC is about the data channel as much as about video and audio conferencing. However, basically all commercial WebRTC applications have been built with a focus on audio and video. The handling of “data” has been limited to text chat and file download – all other data sharing seems to end with screensharing. What is holding back a more intensive use of peer-to-peer data? In her session at @ThingsExpo, Dr Silvia Pfeiffer, WebRTC Applications Team Lead at National ICT Australia, will look at different existing uses of peer-to-peer data sharing and how it can become useful in a live session to...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Luxoft Holding, Inc., a leading provider of software development services and innovative IT solutions, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's @ThingsExpo, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Luxoft’s software development services consist of core and mission-critical custom software development and support, product engineering and testing, and technology consulting.
The enterprise is being consumerized, and the consumer is being enterprised. Moore's Law does not matter anymore, the future belongs to business virtualization powered by invisible service architecture, powered by hyperscale and hyperconvergence, and facilitated by vertical streaming and horizontal scaling and consolidation. Both buyers and sellers want instant results, and from paperwork to paperless to mindless is the ultimate goal for any seamless transaction. The sweetest sweet spot in innovation is automation. The most painful pain point for any business is the mismatch between supplies a...
As a company adopts a DevOps approach to software development, what are key things that both the Dev and Ops side of the business must keep in mind to ensure effective continuous delivery? In his session at DevOps Summit, Mark Hydar, Head of DevOps, Ericsson TV Platforms, will share best practices and provide helpful tips for Ops teams to adopt an open line of communication with the development side of the house to ensure success between the two sides.
There are so many tools and techniques for data analytics that even for a data scientist the choices, possible systems, and even the types of data can be daunting. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chris Harrold, Global CTO for Big Data Solutions for EMC Corporation, will show how to perform a simple, but meaningful analysis of social sentiment data using freely available tools that take only minutes to download and install. Participants will get the download information, scripts, and complete end-to-end walkthrough of the analysis from start to finish. Participants will also be given the pract...
As more and more data is generated from a variety of connected devices, the need to get insights from this data and predict future behavior and trends is increasingly essential for businesses. Real-time stream processing is needed in a variety of different industries such as Manufacturing, Oil and Gas, Automobile, Finance, Online Retail, Smart Grids, and Healthcare. Azure Stream Analytics is a fully managed distributed stream computation service that provides low latency, scalable processing of streaming data in the cloud with an enterprise grade SLA. It features built-in integration with Azur...
NHK, Japan Broadcasting will feature upcoming @ThingsExpo Silicon Valley in a special IoT documentary which will be filmed on the expo floor November 3 to 5, 2015 in Santa Clara. NHK is the sole public TV network in Japan equivalent to BBC in UK and the largest in Asia with many award winning science and technology programs. Japanese TV is producing a documentary about IoT and Smart technology covering @ThingsExpo Silicon Valley. The program will be aired during the highest viewership season of the year that it will have a high impact in the industry through this documentary in Japan. The film...
WebRTC: together these advances have created a perfect storm of technologies that are disrupting and transforming classic communications models and ecosystems. In his session at WebRTC Summit, Cary Bran, VP of Innovation and New Ventures at Plantronics and PLT Labs, will provide an overview of this technological shift, including associated business and consumer communications impacts, and opportunities it may enable, complement or entirely transform.
WebRTC services have already permeated corporate communications in the form of videoconferencing solutions. However, WebRTC has the potential of going beyond and catalyzing a new class of services providing more than calls with capabilities such as mass-scale real-time media broadcasting, enriched and augmented video, person-to-machine and machine-to-machine communications. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Luis Lopez, CEO of Kurento, will introduce the technologies required for implementing these ideas and some early experiments performed in the Kurento open source software community in areas ...
Who are you? How do you introduce yourself? Do you use a name, or do you greet a friend by the last four digits of his social security number? Assuming you don’t, why are we content to associate our identity with 10 random digits assigned by our phone company? Identity is an issue that affects everyone, but as individuals we don’t spend a lot of time thinking about it. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Ben Klang, Founder & President of Mojo Lingo, will discuss the impact of technology on identity. Should we federate, or not? How should identity be secured? Who owns the identity? How is identity ...
Developing software for the Internet of Things (IoT) comes with its own set of challenges. Security, privacy, and unified standards are a few key issues. In addition, each IoT product is comprised of at least three separate application components: the software embedded in the device, the backend big-data service, and the mobile application for the end user's controls. Each component is developed by a different team, using different technologies and practices, and deployed to a different stack/target - this makes the integration of these separate pipelines and the coordination of software upd...
WebRTC has had a real tough three or four years, and so have those working with it. Only a few short years ago, the development world were excited about WebRTC and proclaiming how awesome it was. You might have played with the technology a couple of years ago, only to find the extra infrastructure requirements were painful to implement and poorly documented. This probably left a bitter taste in your mouth, especially when things went wrong.
WebRTC converts the entire network into a ubiquitous communications cloud thereby connecting anytime, anywhere through any point. In his session at WebRTC Summit,, Mark Castleman, EIR at Bell Labs and Head of Future X Labs, will discuss how the transformational nature of communications is achieved through the democratizing force of WebRTC. WebRTC is doing for voice what HTML did for web content.
The broad selection of hardware, the rapid evolution of operating systems and the time-to-market for mobile apps has been so rapid that new challenges for developers and engineers arise every day. Security, testing, hosting, and other metrics have to be considered through the process. In his session at Big Data Expo, Walter Maguire, Chief Field Technologist, HP Big Data Group, at Hewlett-Packard, will discuss the challenges faced by developers and a composite Big Data applications builder, focusing on how to help solve the problems that developers are continuously battling.
Nowadays, a large number of sensors and devices are connected to the network. Leading-edge IoT technologies integrate various types of sensor data to create a new value for several business decision scenarios. The transparent cloud is a model of a new IoT emergence service platform. Many service providers store and access various types of sensor data in order to create and find out new business values by integrating such data.
SYS-CON Events announced today that IBM Cloud Data Services has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 17th Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. IBM Cloud Data Services offers a portfolio of integrated, best-of-breed cloud data services for developers focused on mobile computing and analytics use cases.
In his session at @ThingsExpo, Tony Shan, Chief Architect at CTS, will explore the synergy of Big Data and IoT. First he will take a closer look at the Internet of Things and Big Data individually, in terms of what, which, why, where, when, who, how and how much. Then he will explore the relationship between IoT and Big Data. Specifically, he will drill down to how the 4Vs aspects intersect with IoT: Volume, Variety, Velocity and Value. In turn, Tony will analyze how the key components of IoT influence Big Data: Device, Connectivity, Context, and Intelligence. He will dive deep to the matrix...
When it comes to IoT in the enterprise, namely the commercial building and hospitality markets, a benefit not getting the attention it deserves is energy efficiency, and IoT’s direct impact on a cleaner, greener environment when installed in smart buildings. Until now clean technology was offered piecemeal and led with point solutions that require significant systems integration to orchestrate and deploy. There didn't exist a 'top down' approach that can manage and monitor the way a Smart Building actually breathes - immediately flagging overheating in a closet or over cooling in unoccupied ho...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Cloud Raxak has been named “Media & Session Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 17th Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Raxak Protect automates security compliance across private and public clouds. Using the SaaS tool or managed service, developers can deploy cloud apps quickly, cost-effectively, and without error.
Scott Guthrie's keynote presentation "Journey to the intelligent cloud" is a must view video. This is from AzureCon 2015, September 29, 2015 I have reproduced some screen shots in case you are unable to view this long video for one reason or another. One of the highlights is 3 datacenters coming on line in India.