Click here to close now.

Welcome!

Search Authors: Carmen Gonzalez, Liz McMillan, Elizabeth White, John Wetherill, Mike Kavis

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
SYS-CON Events announced today that Vitria Technology, Inc. will exhibit at SYS-CON’s @ThingsExpo, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Vitria will showcase the company’s new IoT Analytics Platform through live demonstrations at booth #330. Vitria’s IoT Analytics Platform, fully integrated and powered by an operational intelligence engine, enables customers to rapidly build and operationalize advanced analytics to deliver timely business outcomes for use cases across the industrial, enterprise, and consumer segments.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Open Data Centers (ODC), a carrier-neutral colocation provider, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Open Data Centers is a carrier-neutral data center operator in New Jersey and New York City offering alternative connectivity options for carriers, service providers and enterprise customers.
When it comes to the Internet of Things, hooking up will get you only so far. If you want customers to commit, you need to go beyond simply connecting products. You need to use the devices themselves to transform how you engage with every customer and how you manage the entire product lifecycle. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Sean Lorenz, Technical Product Manager for Xively at LogMeIn, will show how “product relationship management” can help you leverage your connected devices and the data they generate about customer usage and product performance to deliver extremely compelling and reliabl...
The explosion of connected devices / sensors is creating an ever-expanding set of new and valuable data. In parallel the emerging capability of Big Data technologies to store, access, analyze, and react to this data is producing changes in business models under the umbrella of the Internet of Things (IoT). In particular within the Insurance industry, IoT appears positioned to enable deep changes by altering relationships between insurers, distributors, and the insured. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Michael Sick, a Senior Manager and Big Data Architect within Ernst and Young's Financial Servi...
The IoT market is projected to be $1.9 trillion tidal wave that’s bigger than the combined market for smartphones, tablets and PCs. While IoT is widely discussed, what not being talked about are the monetization opportunities that are created from ubiquitous connectivity and the ensuing avalanche of data. While we cannot foresee every service that the IoT will enable, we should future-proof operations by preparing to monetize them with extremely agile systems.
There’s Big Data, then there’s really Big Data from the Internet of Things. IoT is evolving to include many data possibilities like new types of event, log and network data. The volumes are enormous, generating tens of billions of logs per day, which raise data challenges. Early IoT deployments are relying heavily on both the cloud and managed service providers to navigate these challenges. Learn about IoT, Big Data and deployments processing massive data volumes from wearables, utilities and other machines.
SYS-CON Events announced today that CodeFutures, a leading supplier of database performance tools, has been named a “Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9–11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. CodeFutures is an independent software vendor focused on providing tools that deliver database performance tools that increase productivity during database development and increase database performance and scalability during production.
The explosion of connected devices / sensors is creating an ever-expanding set of new and valuable data. In parallel the emerging capability of Big Data technologies to store, access, analyze, and react to this data is producing changes in business models under the umbrella of the Internet of Things (IoT). In particular within the Insurance industry, IoT appears positioned to enable deep changes by altering relationships between insurers, distributors, and the insured. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Michael Sick, a Senior Manager and Big Data Architect within Ernst and Young's Financial Servi...
“In the past year we've seen a lot of stabilization of WebRTC. You can now use it in production with a far greater degree of certainty. A lot of the real developments in the past year have been in things like the data channel, which will enable a whole new type of application," explained Peter Dunkley, Technical Director at Acision, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Intelligent Systems Services will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Established in 1994, Intelligent Systems Services Inc. is located near Washington, DC, with representatives and partners nationwide. ISS’s well-established track record is based on the continuous pursuit of excellence in designing, implementing and supporting nationwide clients’ mission-critical systems. ISS has completed many successful projects in Healthcare, Commercial, Manufacturing, ...
PubNub on Monday has announced that it is partnering with IBM to bring its sophisticated real-time data streaming and messaging capabilities to Bluemix, IBM’s cloud development platform. “Today’s app and connected devices require an always-on connection, but building a secure, scalable solution from the ground up is time consuming, resource intensive, and error-prone,” said Todd Greene, CEO of PubNub. “PubNub enables web, mobile and IoT developers building apps on IBM Bluemix to quickly add scalable realtime functionality with minimal effort and cost.”
The major cloud platforms defy a simple, side-by-side analysis. Each of the major IaaS public-cloud platforms offers their own unique strengths and functionality. Options for on-site private cloud are diverse as well, and must be designed and deployed while taking existing legacy architecture and infrastructure into account. Then the reality is that most enterprises are embarking on a hybrid cloud strategy and programs. In this Power Panel at 15th Cloud Expo (http://www.CloudComputingExpo.com), moderated by Ashar Baig, Research Director, Cloud, at Gigaom Research, Nate Gordon, Director of T...
Sensor-enabled things are becoming more commonplace, precursors to a larger and more complex framework that most consider the ultimate promise of the IoT: things connecting, interacting, sharing, storing, and over time perhaps learning and predicting based on habits, behaviors, location, preferences, purchases and more. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Tom Wesselman, Director of Communications Ecosystem Architecture at Plantronics, will examine the still nascent IoT as it is coalescing, including what it is today, what it might ultimately be, the role of wearable tech, and technology gaps stil...
DevOps tends to focus on the relationship between Dev and Ops, putting an emphasis on the ops and application infrastructure. But that’s changing with microservices architectures. In her session at DevOps Summit, Lori MacVittie, Evangelist for F5 Networks, will focus on how microservices are changing the underlying architectures needed to scale, secure and deliver applications based on highly distributed (micro) services and why that means an expansion into “the network” for DevOps.
With several hundred implementations of IoT-enabled solutions in the past 12 months alone, this session will focus on experience over the art of the possible. Many can only imagine the most advanced telematics platform ever deployed, supporting millions of customers, producing tens of thousands events or GBs per trip, and hundreds of TBs per month. With the ability to support a billion sensor events per second, over 30PB of warm data for analytics, and hundreds of PBs for an data analytics archive, in his session at @ThingsExpo, Jim Kaskade, Vice President and General Manager, Big Data & Ana...
For years, we’ve relied too heavily on individual network functions or simplistic cloud controllers. However, they are no longer enough for today’s modern cloud data center. Businesses need a comprehensive platform architecture in order to deliver a complete networking suite for IoT environment based on OpenStack. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Dhiraj Sehgal from PLUMgrid will discuss what a holistic networking solution should really entail, and how to build a complete platform that is scalable, secure, agile and automated.
We’re no longer looking to the future for the IoT wave. It’s no longer a distant dream but a reality that has arrived. It’s now time to make sure the industry is in alignment to meet the IoT growing pains – cooperate and collaborate as well as innovate. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jim Hunter, Chief Scientist & Technology Evangelist at Greenwave Systems, will examine the key ingredients to IoT success and identify solutions to challenges the industry is facing. The deep industry expertise behind this presentation will provide attendees with a leading edge view of rapidly emerging IoT oppor...
In the consumer IoT, everything is new, and the IT world of bits and bytes holds sway. But industrial and commercial realms encompass operational technology (OT) that has been around for 25 or 50 years. This grittier, pre-IP, more hands-on world has much to gain from Industrial IoT (IIoT) applications and principles. But adding sensors and wireless connectivity won’t work in environments that demand unwavering reliability and performance. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Ron Sege, CEO of Echelon, will discuss how as enterprise IT embraces other IoT-related technology trends, enterprises with i...
When it comes to the Internet of Things, hooking up will get you only so far. If you want customers to commit, you need to go beyond simply connecting products. You need to use the devices themselves to transform how you engage with every customer and how you manage the entire product lifecycle. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Sean Lorenz, Technical Product Manager for Xively at LogMeIn, will show how “product relationship management” can help you leverage your connected devices and the data they generate about customer usage and product performance to deliver extremely compelling and reliabl...
The Internet of Things (IoT) is causing data centers to become radically decentralized and atomized within a new paradigm known as “fog computing.” To support IoT applications, such as connected cars and smart grids, data centers' core functions will be decentralized out to the network's edges and endpoints (aka “fogs”). As this trend takes hold, Big Data analytics platforms will focus on high-volume log analysis (aka “logs”) and rely heavily on cognitive-computing algorithms (aka “cogs”) to make sense of it all.