Christopher Pirie, 2012 Chair of the ASTD Board of Directors, opened up the second day of the conference. He spoke about the exciting time where learning and technology are coming together in powerful ways. This combination of learning and technology are leading to increased efficiency, increased personal growth, and economical growth. However, this does not come without a cost. This combination can be disruptive causing unexpected change in the organization or program. Technology is also forcing a faster pace of change.
Pixie discussed the rapid growth of PCs in the last 25 years. While PC growth has been staggering, the growth in smartphones has been explosive. Unfortunately, change in education strategies has not seen the same development. However, learning is recently being disrupted by technology through three areas: device proliferation, cloud computing, and natural user interfaces.
Increasingly people are purchasing mobile devices from smartphones to iPads to tablet computers. These devices are not only communication devices but also communicate with the cloud and through geolocation. The world has become the classroom. Sensing devices recognize the location and help interact with the world. Expect to see more of this trend.
Cloud computing allows for anywhere and anytime access from multiple different devices. Because of the scale of the technologies, the cost is extremely cheap compared to building a self-developed capability. Google, Skype, Bing, Evernote, and Dropbox are examples of cloud computing.
Pirie touted Khan Academy as being a disruption educational tool. Khan Academy has over 3,100 videos on a variety of educational topics. These videos have been viewed over 146 million times.
Flipped instruction was also discussed and the impact it is having in the classroom. Also, Pirie also commented on MIT and Harvard placing their instruction online.
Natural user interface (NUI)
Pirie listed a number of devices and capabilities that fit into this category such as Seri and Kinect. These devices understand your intention and respond accordingly. The Microsoft Kinect has been the fastest selling device in its class. Talking about the products is one thing, seeing it in action is another. Here is a great video on the Lakeside Center for Autism use of the Kinect.
Pirie challenged us to get involved with using our training skills to improve the world.