Is there too much of a good thing with the amount of content that you can find on the internet? Not only is there an overabundance of good content but it is fast becoming like the proverbial “needle in a haystack” for a user to locate quality information quickly and efficiently amongst the bad, tragic or just mediocre content on offer in our digital smorgasbord.
With the fast approaching world of Web 3.0 and the advent of the Internet of Things (IoT) means that the internet and its horizon is an ever-changing and evolving landscape that can provide personalised information to the user and about the user. You do have to question if this is always a good thing.
The 2016 NMC Technology Outlook – Australian Tertiary Education noted that learner analytics and location intelligence, which information is a form of big data, are areas that will have an impact in the next few years.
Big Data and meta data (data about data) have become a key focus with regards to who is creating, storing, using and most importantly selling data about you and what you look at. Think about the last time you searched for anything and you will have been prompted with possible fee-for-service products that might be similar to what you have been looking at.
Another form that this takes is when you are on social media sites such as Facebook™ you will notice based on your searches, friends and groups that “sponsored” sites appear as suggestions you might like to follow. You will also be aware (if you are using a desktop that there is an advertisement stream that is tailored for you. How does it know what you have been looking at while you are not on Facebook, simply it is from the cache in your computer or smart device and your browser history.
But when you consider the importance of how you can use learner analytics and learner actions within your site to track what they have been reviewing to ensure that the content of the course is meeting their needs then bib data is not seen quite so much in a horrible tracking light – stalking your movements around the internet, but a useful tool to support and help students.
With the increase in the cost of creating print products and the speed that these products become redundant saw the rise of Web 2.0 technologies that enabled user-generated content simply easily and cheaply. This power to the masses revolution of technology has meant that often we do forget that the internet is ‘forever’. Need proof that this is the case, then please feel free to review the Internet Archive Wayback Machine.
It is interesting that with the increase of the individual’s ability to have a voice on the internet has seen many companies fall-by-the-wayside as they have not adapted and changed their business structures to compensate for the new market place. Some may argue that if you do not adapt to the market place to survive then you do not have the right to survive.
So with that thought where does this leave educators? In this brand new world are we expecting teachers to become technology experts to guide students to some mythical promised land of better understanding? I would say that at best we need to encourage our teachers to become the facilitators of tomorrow. This means that we must move away from the “sage on the stage” mentality to perhaps taking up the guide on the side role where technology plays a helpful hand in supporting and augmenting learning for students. Technology can support student outcomes but should never dictate or drive the learning.
So the future is looking bright, but is it looking as bright as it once was or are we seeing it through a binary code induced haze? Time will tell.
De Saulles, M. (2012). New models of information production. In Information 2.0: New models of information production, distribution and consumption (pp. 13-35). London: Facet.
Kellmereit, D. and Obodovski, D. (2013). The Silent Intelligence: The Internet of Things. DnD Ventures 1st edition, California.
Roblyer, M. (2013). Integrating Educational Technology into Teaching. Harlow: Pearson.
The New Media Consortium. (2016). 2016 NMC Technology Outlook Australian Tertiary Education. Retrieved 7 July 2016, from http://www.nmc.org/publication/2016-nmc-technology-outlook-australian-tertiary-education/