Collaboration, Higher Education, Horizon Report, K-12, Learning, report, Research

#FOECast: Ideation Week for the Future of Education

What project should we create to grasp the future of education and technology?

This is a big, bold question that is being explored and discussed in facilitated conversations via Bryan Alexander this week for:

Future of Education & Everything Community (#FOECast) IDEATION WEEK: February 26-March 2, 2018 

For those of you who know me (or are just getting to be acquainted), I am all for a grassroots initiative to discuss and dig into problems by and for a community. The idea of this week is to encourage “ideation” in an open, accessible way to explore how we’ll investigate/understand the future of learning, education, technology, and probably more. This is an exciting endeavor instigated by Bryan (and more!) to crowdsource where the Horizon report might go — or even expand into areas it did not reach. The goal (or dream) is: “to create something bold and new, a project drawing on the middle of the 21st century. This is a public and open process, through which we hope to get as broad and diverse a set of perspectives as possible.”


JOIN the LIVE Online Sessions to CONTRIBUTE!

During the online, synchronous meetings, these will be the four questions/prompts to guide the conversation:

  1. What needs did the Horizon report meet?

  2. What forecasting methods should we consider?

  3. What shape should a new effort take?

  4. What scope should this cover?

If you are not able to make a time/meeting, please feel free to participate in this organic and growing discussion. You can comment by tweeting and follow the #FOECast hashtag. Add your comments and responses to this open Google doc that continues to grow and be annotated (love it?).  Join and contribute to the ongoing Slack channel (find the direct URL here: Additionally, you can post your own thoughts/ideas to the four questions (above) on your own blog, video, or other digital media of your choice. I have no doubt the community of futurists, instigators, designers, and then some would welcome all contributions … well, maybe not smoke signals (yet).

I expressed my sentiments about the NMC Horizon Report and the value it offered in the doc:

1) What needs did the Horizon Report meet?

I think the horizon report helps to bring together multiple stakeholders have contributed to the different entities in education come together (K-12, higher ed, and libraries) and the professional organizations/affiliations of practitioners and researchers. The horizon reports offered information, knowledge sharing, exemplars/examples, and practical experiences collected in one hub. Related to that, we started to bridge into other geographic areas and branch into the needs of industry. This cross-section of representation started to pollinate ideas and encourage people to move beyond a role or institutional focus into what is possible for the future of education. Does the horizon report need to be exclusive to technology? Should we be focused on the education landscape as a whole? This could be the changes in demographics for learners, educators, practitioners, and organizational trends/needs.

I’m stilling chewing on these questions… and thinking out loud (out blog?). I hope to join the conversations and be part of this collaborative discussion and threads on the interwebs. If you too care about the future of learning and have a thought of two — do join in. This is important and we need ideas from all around the education/learning table. What do you think about the future of learning, education, and technology?


An UPDATE on March 4, 2018:

After participating in a couple of conversations, watching the online discourse, and critical contributions in the shared doc/slack spaces, I thought I should finish up my own contributions to all that is shared and where this #FOEcast conversation might go. Here are my responses to the last 3 questions posed for the week:

2) What forecasting methods should we consider?

I am not sure about forecasting methods; however, I am not sure we do a decent job actually aggregating the data, research, and current practices in a comprehensive manner. There are a number interesting and creative pedagogical practices that rarely get reviewed or researched. Additionally, there is rarely many findings or research implications that are shared well with practitioners for teaching/learning/training. I would be more interesting in considering how we bring these information sources we currently have to understand the broader landscape. Perhaps this involves bringing different entities, stakeholders, organizations, etc. together to process and review learning practices in a few different pockets and industries. With criticisms of integrity withing the educational technology research and critiques of past NMC briefs, I am not sure how the past reports were developed always expressed the trends of teaching/learning/training around the globe. Who gets included or excluded with a Delphi panel? Why is there a focus on technologies and tools, rather than solving problems? How can future trend reporting truly reach and cover a broad spectrum of how learning and development is evolving with “innovative” or forward thinking pedagogical practice? Those would be the questions I would want answered for predictions and pathways forward for research methods to develop a new report.

3) What shape should a new effort take?

Perhaps going from the original Delphi model of “ask the expert” + community to curate a report of the “state of learning” (or training or development — per Stephen Downes above) to tease out the original PDF report and present it in multiple ways that interests and engages multiple audiences (e.g. educators, researchers, designers, admin, training, L&D, etc.). A digital showcase of applications beyond a webinar or webcast could include bit-sized examples of testing and experimenting with learning design, a technology in application for learning, or other via a podcast+show notes, video demonstration, testing exemplar of a concept, team blog of experimentation in progress, or a “behind the curtains” look for how to apply pedagogical practices. There is no shortage of how to share knowledge that allows it to cross into different industries, learning/educational areas, and could engage multiple professionals (not just K-12, higher ed, workplace learning, library, etc.) — this could be shared with those who are willing to test/try/experiment in learning. Perhaps focusing on the issues, concepts, and problems will help bring a broader audience and interest to the findings in these future of learning reports AND help us to connect the nodes between professions, practitioners, and a variety of industries. Let’s start encouraging play in other professional sandboxes!

4) What scope should this cover?

I think FOECast has the potential to go beyond the original Horizon Report. It could be more than a function of educational sectors or even geographic locations discussing the trends for technology + {Library, K-12 education, Higher Ed, etc.}. The new version looking at the future of education (or learning/development/training), could provide a pathway to discuss critical issues, contemplative ideas, and thoughtful pedagogical practices. Some of these trends may include technology; however, the focus could be on the issues or problems the collective wants to solve in teaching/learning/development. I would hope these reports (or open ideation events or whatever shape this takes) continues to involve an integrated community of practice to engage, question, think critically, contribute, and challenge one another to do better work (teaching, researching, designing, etc.). What are the questions we should be asking? What are the practices we could be testing or piloting? What are the nuances for teaching/learning?

I am a big fan of how Kay Oddone shared this diagram below and reflected how connected learning principles emerged out of the FOEcast week of brainstorming/ideation:


I agree with this, and further push this idea to embrace how connected learning often drives professionals to contribute to a networked community of practice. The FOEcast week reminded me how an organic group of people can support and contribute to moving an idea forward. The community is vested in a common purpose and many want to not just talk, but also contribute to how we can shape our future practices, with regards to formal and informal learning. With formal education institutions (K-12, higher education, etc.) and professional associations/organizations there seems to be a tension of how to balance innovative ideas and approach future-oriented projects due to structural barriers or workforce constraints. This process allows for more freedom and willingness to connect the nodes to share knowledge and involve those who might be interested in a problem/issue or topic. What is great about this designed experience is the potential to move this conversation (and future actions) beyond a particular professional role/title/function, across institutional/organizational boundaries, and involve others who have not contributed their voice yet. This is critical, as sharing at the intersections of what we do in learning/training/development will help to truly advance our pedagogical practices.

There was so much thoughtful discussion and critical thinking shared on the live chats, hashtag and open Google doc (go see for yourself). Thanks for instigating this needed conversation, Bryan, and to all the contributors — it has been a real delight to read your ideas and hear your thoughts in this open dialogue.  I hope this process of thinking, talking, and doing something for the future of everything continues. I’m interested… count me in! This might be the wrap up blog post for the #FOEcast week, Final push: Create!, however; this conversation and community contribution seems to be just the beginning:

ACPAdigital, StudentAffairs

ACPA Digital Task Force: Report and Higher Ed Live Discussion

Last year I was invited to join the ACPA Digital Task Force – so you might have read a few blogs (here, here, here, & here) about my involvement or tweeting about the issues we were working on using the hashtag #ACPAdigital

The Role of Digital Technology in Higher Education.
Direct Video Link

The former ACPA President, Kent Porterfield, in conjunction with the ACPA Board of Governors and International Office established the ACPA Digital Task Force (#ACPAdigital). The #ACPAdigital group, led by Ed Cabellon and Tony Doody, was charged with “understanding how to advance the application of digital technology in higher education, informed by student affairs scholarship and practice, to further enhance ACPA’s influence and its role as a leader in higher education in the information age.


Last week ACPA shared the Draft Report and Recommendations document, which included our contributions made over the last nine months. Each sub-group of the taskforce researched and/or worked on various projects to provide insights for student affairs educators in the follow areas:

  • Scholarship and Research
  • Teaching and Learning
  • Organization Infrastructure of ACPA

Here are the emergent themes from the#ACPAdigital report:

  1. Integrate digital technologies that advance teaching and learning within higher education.
  2. Design training and development opportunities to enhance college student educators’ use of digital technologies.
  3. Invest in the creation and dissemination of research and scholarship in digital technologies.
  4. Develop the infrastructure and resources appropriate to ensure sustainability and relevance in digital technologies.
  5. Establish and grow strategic collaborations and partnerships to capitalize on existing resources for higher education.
  6. Ensure equal opportunity to the resources necessary for full engagement with digital technologies.

Please read and review the FULL REPORT, and provide any comments you have to Tony or Ed. We would love to get your feedback, questions, and thoughts on the draft.

UPDATED (April 1, 2015):

Learn more about this report from the Higher Ed Live show (4/1/15) as the #ACPAdigital Task Force chairs discuss our work, the draft report, and how digital will impact student affairs educators on The Future of Digital Education show. Please follow @HigherEdLive & all the tweets from #HigherEdLive and #ACPAdigital. READ: The show “Notes” (tweets) on Storify. Or WATCH the recording here:

Conference, Higher Education, StudentAffairs

Technological Advancements & Considerations for Student Affairs at #ACPA15

This week I will be in Tampa, FL for the 2015 ACPA Convention (Follow #ACPA15 chat on Twitter). Besides getting a chance to warm up from the chilly winter weather, I am looking forward to connecting with a number of student affairs (SA) professionals and faculty who will be attending. This year’s convention holds a number of informative and interactive sessions in the program to support professional development and scholarly research for SA educators. I have a few meetings (#ACPAdigital and #ACPA16, I’m looking at you!); however I am really looking forward to catching up with a number of colleagues who will be in attendance. I suspect a number of hugs and high fives will happen soon.

ACPA Tampa 2015

Part of my time in the next couple of days will be spent with the fine folks I have been fortunate to work with on the ACPA Digital Task Force (#ACPAdigital).


The association established #ACPAdigital to make recommendations on how student affair educators can best advance the application of digital technology in higher education, specifically through informed scholarship and practice. Being charged with reviewing how ACPA will be a leader in the field, this task force was divided into four working subgroups:

  • Proven Practices
  • Knowledge and Skills
  • Research and Scholarship
  • Informed and Responsible Engagement with Social Technology

While serving on the #ACPAdigital task force this year, I can personally say, the efforts made to evaluate and assess  and how current educators shape student development for digital learning has been impressive. As I review the 49-page report we are sharing with the ACPA leadership this week, I am looking forward to the conversations we will have about our findings, recommendations, questions and proposed research agenda. It is critical that student affairs and learner support entities in post-secondary education consider how technological advancements will impact the work we do with students in face-to-face, blended, and online learning environments. This groups needs to be at the table for discussions on distance education and workforce preparation considerations. I am excited to be part of the discussion and push to move in this direction with student affairs. To learn more about this report and #ACPAdigital’s work, be sure to review the task force website:

As a member of the Informed and Responsible Engagement with Social Technology (IREST) group, I was part of the collaborative author team who contributed to updating Erik Qualman’s What Happens in Vegas Goes on YouTube. The last few months of swapping ideas, sharing resources, discussing issues, and making edits with Paul, Jason, Courtney, and Erik has been great – and we’re so pleased that we are able to share our efforts this week at #ACPA15:

campus book launch ad.003

The ACPA co-branded book, What Happens on Campus Stays on YouTube, is designed to have your students reflect on their digital identity, with regards to their college experience and future personal/professional development. For #ACPA15, early release copies of book will be available for sale ($11.99) and the official launch on Amazon/public sale will be in April 2015. If you want to get a sneak peek of the book before everyone else, get your copy at the ACPA Booth in the Expo Hall or join our #SAreads event happening on Saturday (3/7) from 12:30-1:30 pm at the #ACPATrendingNow roundtables in the Marketplace with Courtney and myself. If you are interested in bulk orders for your curriculum or campus, please be sure to reach out to Courtney O’Connell so she can discuss options best for your institutional needs.

Will you be found at the harbor front this week for #ACPA15? Let me know – I would love to have a chat and catch up. See you soon!

EdTech, Horizon Report, Learning Technologies

What’s On the Horizon [REPORT] – 2015 Higher Ed Edition

The New Media Consortium (NMC) just put out the NMC Horizon Report – 2015 Higher Education Edition last week to share what is ahead in technology and learning in post-secondary for the next few years. This report identifies the trends, challenges, and specific technologies we might see in higher ed over the next 1-5 years.




Image c/o Johnson, Adams Becker, Estrada, & Freeman (2015)


Key trends expected to be adopted in educational technology in higher ed (from the report) include:

  • Evolution of online learning
  • Rethinking learning spaces – what our learning environments and mediums are
  • Increasing focus on open educational resources (FINALLY. Hello, OER!)
  • Rise of data-driven learning and assessment (the good, the bad & the ugly)
  • Agile approaches to change (Really? Where? Sign me up, Higher Ed!)
  • growing important of open communities and university consortia (Looking forward to this)

Significant challenges impeding ed tech adoption in the post-secondary education realm include:

  • Adequately defining and support digital literacy
  • Blending formal and informal learning
  • Complex thinking and communication
  • Integrating personalized learning
  • Competition from new models of education (dare I say MOOCs)
  • Relative lack of rewards for teaching (duh!)

Important developments in educational tech for higher ed include:

  • Bring your own device (BYOD) – I think it’s because we had to…
  • Flipped classroom
  • Makerspaces
  • Adaptive learning technologies
  • The Internet of things

If you work in learning technologies or distance education, much of this report is not “new” – however it gives some insights and examples of what is ahead in the post-secondary landscape. If you working in higher education, I suggest you DOWNLOAD and review your own copy. Not all these trends and predictions are surprising  – but it is always good to know what others are working on in the field of #edtech. Happy reading!


Johnson, L., Adams Becker, S., Estrada, V., & Freeman, A. (2015). NMC horizon report: 2015 higher education edition. Austin, Texas: The New Media Consortium.

EdTech, Higher Education, Online Learning

Online Education in the US [2014 Report]

As I am on my way to the EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative (ELI & #eli2015), specifically to attend the National Research Center for Distance Education and Technological Advancement (DETA) Summit, I figured it was critical to review the 2014 Grade Level: Tracking Online Education in the United States just released from the Babson Survey Research Group (BSRG):

“The study’s findings point to a competitive marketplace, in which traditional institutions are gaining ground on the for-profits in online and distance education,” said study co-author Jeff Seaman, co-director of the Babson Survey Research Group. “While the rapid pace of online learning growth has moderated, it still accounts for nearly three-quarters of all US higher education’s enrollment increases last year.”

It is clear that online learning is on the rise in America – yet there is a vast difference between how administration and faculty view it. A majority of post-secondary education leaders (70.8%)  indicated that online learning is “critical to their long-term strategy;” however these leaders may struggle with online adoption as only 28% of their faculty find “value” and view online education as “legitimate.” A number of findings in this report show opposing views for online education. For example, these two factions of higher differ  by their awareness of open education resources (OER).


There is much more of this narrative to tease out; and I would like to go through this report further (on the plane) and learn what others in the field have to say. For now I will leave you with some of the ‘quick facts’ shared, and encourage you to download and read through the FULL REPORT if you are in the online learning sphere:

Key report findings include:

  • The number of higher education students taking at least one distance education course in 2014 is up 3.7 %t from the previous year.
  • The year-to-year 3.7% increase in the number of distance education students is the lowest recorded over the 13 years of this report series.
  • Public and private nonprofit institutions recorded distance enrollment growth, but these were offset by a decrease among for-profit institutions.
  • The percent of academic leaders rating the learning outcomes in online education as the same or superior to those in face-to-face remained unchanged at 74.1%.
  • The proportion of chief academic leaders reporting online learning is critical to their long-term strategy reached a new high of 70.8%.
  • Only 28.0% of academic leaders say that their faculty accept the “value and legitimacy of online education.”
  • The adoption of MOOCs (Massive Open Online Course) is reaching a plateau, only 8.0% of higher education institutions currently offer one, another 5.6% report MOOCs are in the planning stages.
  • The proportion of academic leaders who believe that MOOCs represent a sustainable method for offering online courses dropped to 16.3%.


A couple areas to note, and for further discussion this week at #eli2015 and the #DETAsummit (Follow @UWMDETA):

Pgs. 43-44: Discuss the undercount and overcount of distance education, i.e. for “fully online” enrollments – this seems to be hazy, as it might be as learning design for enrollment varies by student population type and course design delivery.

Pg. 44 – “The definition of ‘distance education’ is causing confusion”

There was an interesting segment in this report that struggled with the term “distance education.” This report takes into account distance education, when looking at “fully online” higher education programs. This part of the report reminded me about the Twitter debate of online learning, online education, distance education, and then some when trying to name an update to an edited book. Check out “The State of ______ Learning” thread on Storify to learn what was discussed. What terminology is best? How can we describe/define education that is delivered from a distance/online/on the web/virtually? Please advise.

Higher Education, MOOC

The State of #OnlineLearning in the US [REPORT]

The 11th annual survey and report of online learning in U.S. higher education was recently released:

Grade Change: Tracking Online Education in the United States”*


Background: From previous studies and reports of online learning in the US, there is a strong belief that  online education is a critical component of post-secondary education institutions’ long-term strategy. In surveying a number of higher education entities, it is apparent that the development in online learning has shown a small but steady increases over the past decade. This report also teases out how PSE institutions are providing online education – blended, hybrid, and others as they experiment with different models of online learning pedagogy.

Screen Shot 2014-01-19 at 10.08.16 AM

The respondents from more than 2,800 post-secondary education institutions in the US, attempted to answer the following overarching questions about online learning in higher ed:

  • Is Online Learning Strategic?
  • Are Learning Outcomes in Online Comparable to Face-to-Face Learning?
  • How Many Students are Learning Online?
  • How are Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) faring?

Key findings and highlights from the report: 

  • Around 5.5 (NOT 7.1) million higher education students are taking at least 1 online course (Read more: HERE and HERE)
  • The % of academic leaders rating the learning outcomes in online education as the same or superior to those as in face-to-face instruction, grew from 57% in 2003 to 74% in 2013
  • The 6.1 % growth rate represents over 400,000 additional students taking at least 1 online course
  • The number of students taking at least 1 online course continued to grow at a rate far in excess of overall enrollments, but the rate was the lowest in a decade
  • 90% of academic leaders believe that it is likely or very likely that a majority of all higher education students will be taking at least one online course in 5 year’s time
  • Only 5 % of higher education institutions currently offer a MOOC, another 9.3 % report MOOCs are in the planning stages
  • Less than one-quarter of academic leaders believe that MOOCs represent a sustainable method for offering online courses

For more on the study design, survey administration, analysis,  and report production, check out The BABSON Survey Research Group:

*The survey is designed, administered and analyzed by the BABSON Survey Research Group, with data collection conducted in partnership with the College Board, and is sponsored in part by Pearson and the Sloan Consortium

Update – 1/19/14 @ 6:45 pm:

It appears the BABSON survey numbers seem to be off from the IPEDS data for students who have completed online courses – 7.1 vs. 5.5 million. Thanks for the update, Kevin. Here’s a useful article to read.

Higher Education, Learning Technologies, web 2.0

Higher Education in a Web 2.0 World

The Higher Education Academy and JISC have recently (May 12, 2009) published a new Higher Education in a Web 2.0 World report (also available as a PDF), which examines the projected future trends in the use of technology in higher education.

The group was created in February 2008 to conduct independent research and review policy implications for higher education, specifically around the experience and expectations of learners and the increase of emerging technologies.

higher ed

Flickr photo by jrodgers

The HE in a Web 2.0 World report analyzes the use of web 2.0 technologies at colleges & universities in the UK, with regards to the digital divide and information literacy. It is clear that various institutions are utilizing online resources in various ways to support learning and engagement.

Issues that will continue to prompt change in higher ed include:

  • Tradition
  • Environmental factors
  • Diversity in the learner population
  • A richer educational experience
  • Practice in schools
  • Open source materials and online universities
  • Skills development