What will online learning look like in 20 years?

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outreach educator & multimedia producer

glimpse of futures - Megatrends method

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John Naisbitt talked about the three stages of technology innovation (telephone; automobile; computer, etc). First is "play" or toy scale of adoption. Next comes "work" or taking over existing modes of doing things on a wide, normalizing scale. Finally comes "serious play" in which the gadget or practice is applied in often unforeseen ways; example, cars used as storage shed or coffin. Taking this three-stage approach, let us turn to edtech that is in the toy or play phase in order to predict ways we can do existing learning "functions" better [stage 2], and then stretch a little farther to imagine applications not intended in the beginning, but which turn out to open up new ways to thinking and acting. This is all a bit abstract, but the 3-stage phenomenon seems to hold true.

Senior Program Associate, National Writing Project

20 yrs from now?

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I wonder if we can even conceive of what "online" and "virtual" will mean 20 years from now, let alone predict what online and virtual learning environments will look like. Twenty years ago, we barely had a graphics-based Internet. To me, a more interesting question, and resulting responses, would be: What impact will online learning have on you as a teacher a year from now?

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