Thursday, 26 May 2011

Technology and the future

This week we looked at the future of new technologies and where technology in education is headed. From an educational perspective I think the progression is fantastic, however I did feel a little bit uncomfortable with some of the concepts we discussed. This included fridges that order you milk when you run low, billboards that recognise you and target their marketing, and most disturbing, the potential google chip implanted within our brains! While I embrace new technology, the old fashioned side of me feels nervous about where it might be going, and to be honest, I'm not exactly sure why. I think my discomfort comes from a concern for the lazyness of the human race and the ability of marketers to know me better than I know myself.

In education?
Having got that off my chest, e-learning is opening up worlds of opportunity for our students that we could never have imagined until recently. Mobile learning provides portable, always accessible education, through podcasting, mobile social networking and blogging and augmented reality, and is the way of the future. Of these I thought that augmented reality is the technology I could see myself using. Augmented reality involves looking at the real world with digital inputs overlaid. I loved the example we were shown in class, where on a visit to a historical site students can look through their mobile devices and see what the location would have looked like 100 years ago. With devices such as smart phones and I-pads, I can see amazing potential for augmented reality in S&E education. Augmented reality is a fantastic tool to enhance engagement and motivation for learning.

I love the following description of augmented reality by Billinghurst (2002);
"In the Arts Center of Christchurch New Zealand there is an empty dusty
basement room. This room isn't much different from other basement
rooms, however visitors are treated to a very unique experience. Upon
entering, they hear a voice telling then to come closer into the darkness.
When they do, a life-sized virtual image of an old man appears floating in
front of them. The man turns, looks at them and tells what it was like
working in this dark space over a hundred year ago. He is Ernest
Rutherford, New Zealand's Nobel-prize winning physicist, and the room is
where he performed his first research as an undergraduate at the
University of Canterbury. Through the use of advanced technology an
empty space is turned into a very rich educational experience."

The following video gives an appreciation of what augmented reality is. It is in Spanish (I think) but you can get the idea!  

Billinghurst, M. (2002). Augmented Reality in Education. New Horizons for Learning. 


  1. Liz, I totally agree with you on this post!See I am not the only one who feels technology is going too far. We don't want to go around 'chipping' everything so that we can't think for ourselves.

    I also like the Augmented reality for education using the historical aspect and visiting places like museums, etc to enhance learning. I am all for technology that does this, I am against people becoming reliant and addicted to the 'cyber world'.

    There is an article in today's paper which states that research has found that computer games are harming children's reading ability and increasing problems of wrist and finger pain are occuring. The article also states children are becoming weaker as they are not getting enough outdoor exercise due to computers and that children as young as 3 are developing poor posture because of the increased use of electronic devices. This leads me to question the high use of electronic devices in highly technology orientated schools. What damage is being done to the children? As I have continually stated throughout my blog and others we need to create a balance for our children or there will be a great risk to their future health.

    Sorry I have replied with such a long comment!

  2. A wonderful comment thanks Cindy! I am amazed with the potential technology has but definitely think there needs to be a line drawn.

    That is interesting about the physical problems associated. Perhaps as teachers posture and safe keyboard use is something that needs to be included in our teaching? I agree, as with everything in life balance is the key!

  3. In response to Cindy's comment, I feel that the article will serve as yet another excuse for the technologically timid amongst us to postpone or delay implementing technology into the classroom. The fact that children aren't getting enough exercise has very little to do with technology but rather to do with their upbringing and attitude they have towards venturing outside; next we'll be blaming technology for childhood obesity. I think if anything we need to question the people who are making these claims and not the technology. If implemented effectively and efficiently technology has endless potential and benefits, Liz's example of augmented reality exemplifies that. A bad posture can be due to the layout of the classroom, the chairs, the structure of the lesson, the couch at home etc etc.... There is a need for a balance in life however people need to realize that technology is the future and the answer to better education instead of continually looking for excuses not to use it.