The pace of technological developments is set to increase at an unprecedented rate in the next ten years, but how this will impact learning environments, skills training and access to education was discussed by futurists and education leaders at the StudyPortals Student of the Future conference this week.
Using video images of the 2011 tsunami in Japan, Yuri van Geest, founder of think tank SingularityU, called on educators to act before the rising tide of technological advancements.
Citing examples that already exist today, including voice recognition technology used by human resource departments, Geest said technological development is shifting from the ice phase, to water and now steam.
“People and ideas are interacting like never before”
“People and ideas are interacting like never before,” he commented, predicting a new model of work where smaller teams of employees rely on communities to outsource specific tasks.
“It’s flips the whole system inside out,” he said. “There’s less ownership and more access.”
How to prepare students to be successful in this new world of work was discussed by Nanette Ripmeester, founder and director of Expertise in Labour Mobility and Sara Custer, editor of The PIE News.
Drawing on statistics from i-graduate’s International Student Barometer showing that only 23% of international students use seek career advice from their university and only a third of them are satisfied with the service, Custer charged higher education providers need to drastically improve their careers services in order to compete with industry-linked MOOCs and internship initiatives.
Ripmeester suggested universities use gamification to make careers advice more accessible and appealing to students. She added that career training should reach beyond careers centres and into campus-wide curricula.
A successful example of how universities are harnessing technology to create greater access to higher education was given by Zvi Gilal, dean of Georgia Tech’s College of Computing.
In the opening plenary, Galil shared Georgia Tech’s success story of its Online Master of Science MOOC that has 3,300 enrolments this autumn.
With a 55% acceptance rate and costing students only $6,600 compared to $42,000 on-campus for out of state tuition, he said the course attracts students who aren’t able to afford the travel and time to study on site.
“In rankings, universities get points on high selectivity but the story with them is not accessibility it’s deniability,” he said. “The whole story of admissions into higher education in the United States is a joke…we want to be able to accept everybody who is qualified.”
Explaining why the university decided to start the course with Udacity, he said: “I felt that we should do it because this is where the world is going. This is how many many students will get higher education. If someone should do it, we should do it.”