The Education Technology of 2013
Moore’s Law says that computer processing power doubles roughly every two years.
In the 1970s, processing speeds ranged from 740 KHz to 8 MHz. The Commodore 64, one of the best-selling personal computers of all-time, was delivered to the world in the Spring of 1982. It featured 64 bits of memory and an 8-bit powerhouse whose processing speed would have wowed the world years before Clear Pepsi even had a chance to fail.
The Nintendo 64 was released in Japan in June 1996. It featured a 64 bit processing system (and 4 MB of RDRAM), and a processing speed of closer to 100 MHz. The 14 year gap between the two commercial products would suggest huge, exponential growth. 1 MHz in 1982 should be 2 MHz in 1984, 4 in 1986, and 8 in 1988. In 1990 this number jumps to 16, 32 in 1992, and 64 MHz in 1994. 1996? 128 MHz, which fits the mathematical expectation almost perfectly.
While the above is an oversimplification, the point is that up until now, Moore’s law has proven mostly correct.
Technology in the Classroom
Obviously there is not a direct shot from cutting edge technology to the classroom. This sort of path is obscured by cultural, economic, and societal factors, not to mention the way certain trends in public education sap attention and resources. A school district focused on improving test performance may find it difficult to innovate the way smartphones can be used in learning. Finite resources—chiefly time—means less time for new ideas.
So where does this leave education—not just in 2020, but in the near-future. To get to 2020, we have to get there first.
So what might you expect to see in 2013? Processing speed can be expected to increase somewhere around 50% in the next 12 months, but the landscape of education technology will see a different kind of change—new twists on existing trends, and new tools to help dissolve existing barriers to learning.
While it’s tempting to paint a Utopian picture of students manipulating holograms to solve global challenges, the reality will be a lot closer to what 2012 looked like, but with a few key progressions you just might find exciting. [view more]