Thursday, 16 December 2010

Gazing into a crystal ball - what is the platform for the future?

Many schools must be going through the same process as we are - deciding what to include in our capital budget. Times are sufficiently tight to have us questioning every item.
We have to replace some laptops in laptop carts and others that have definitely seen their "consume before" date; we want to expand the Macs available in our Learning Resources Centre and provide some replacement PCs; we need to provide some additional computers to new staff and classrooms. All in all a fairly large bill.
But where is the technology going? Are we ready to have more students in Secondary with a laptop? But are laptops the way to go? What about platforms that handle social media well? Mobiles?

Ravit Lichtenberg has a track record of accurate predictions and her article "10 Ways Social Media will change in 2011" is particularly interesting.

Here are her predictions: (in bold what I think applies to schools)
1. Social media will be supersized - social media solutions will be everywhere.
2. Companies will integrate social feedback into their decision making processes - "Expect to see a rise in companies who, by end of year, will be recognized for socially-informed innovation, customer focus and work environment, —much like Zappos and Amazon were a few years back." Schools need to see how to encourage and manage responsible commenting to get parent, student and staff opinion.
3. Mobile will become our gateway to the world - now, this I think is happening already. Many e-mails that I get are I-Phone or Blackberry generated. I have used mine when away from the desk and found it acceptable for many things (not for inputing - I could not have done this post on my mobile without great difficulty if at all). But, given that Blackberry Messenger seems to be the communications medium of choice amongst students, couldn't internet enabled mobiles be the thing? We are using Facebook for some announcements - much easier to receive these on a social media mobile phone.
4. Video will be everywhere - well, it is already. What used to be the exclusive report back system for students - Powerpoint - is now digital video (live or animation).
5. The next big Online Social Network will not be a network at all - the rise of community platforms and applications. Diaspora is quoted as an example. I think Google Apps for Education is one already....
6. ROI will be redefined - "ROI metrics will go beyond counting Likes and Comments" - yes, but how else would you measure the impact your social media platform is having?
7. Psychology is shifting - wow! I found this interesting - new levels of cognitive flexibility - brought about by changes in social interactions brought about by social media. Clearly there are changes at the relationship psychology level - but could there be brain plasticity in action producing students whose brains are changing and adapting and being reskilled? Wow!
8. Citizen activism back brings purpose and power - (back? why back?) - should consider students activism and also such activism working against a school's direction.
9. Social business intelligence will heat up and so will privacy - the mapping of our activities, preferences and choices may not be welcome - do we all share Mark Zukerberg's naive view about Facebook profiles? Should schools run their social media behind a firewall?
10. The role of the social media strategist will be changing - and what companies want from them will be much more informed and demanding.


Ravit Lichtenberg said...

Thank you George! I appreciate your questions about the role of social media in Education--such an important field that is fast-evolving in higher-ed but still undergoing great challenges in K-12 as well as in less affluent areas.

From a maturity perspective, the mere fact we can ask these questions is a good indicator that social technologies are no longer about the narrow application in their source field but rather, are mature enough to be applied across segments, industries, and use models.

Great discussion to be had in the coming year for sure!

Ustrategy LLC

George said...

Thanks for your comment, Ravit. It is the moment to question where we are going with social media in education - the tools are in student hands, it seems a pity not to use them.