Trend-Spotting 2009

It’s that time of year again, when we look out for what the technology trend-spotters predict we should be watching over the next year. This year the library and education bloggers that I follow did not disappoint. I was fortunate to attend Michael Stephens’ Education Institute audio conference on top tech trends for 2009, where he predicted that 2009 would be about:

  • The Ubiquity of the Cloud
  • The Changing Role of IT
  • The Value of the Commons
  • The Promise of Micro-Interaction
  • The Care and Nurturing of the Tribe
  • The Triumph of the Portable Device
  • The Importance of Personalization
  • The Impact of Localization
  • The Evolution of the Digital Lifestyle
  • The Shift toward Open Thinking 

Stephens’ post, Ten Trends & Technologies for 2009 in his popular Tame the Web blog expands on these themes, and is definitely worth a read. ALA’s self-acclaimed “information maven” and popular blogger, Jenny Levine, commented on Michael Stephens’ predictions in her Shifted Librarian blog post, We’re Not All Ready for the Cloud Yet. She emphasized the need to teach critical skills about the cloud, particularly relating to synchronization and privacy issues. 

Besides the broader world of libraries, I’ve been reading the predictions about the future of technology in K-12 Education. In his particularly thoughtful post  ’09 Bringing social learning to the masses, Thinking Stick blogger Jeff Utecht says that 2009 will be about broader adoption and more powerful use of Read/Write web technologies in education. 

“In 2009 I think you are going to see us build value into these tools educationally. I’m not convinced that 2009 will be about the ‘next new thing’ so we (the early adopters) will turn our focus to what we know. The tools, we know, can make a difference in education and we’ll help the masses understand those tools better and how being connected fundamentally changes the way we teach and learn.”

Will Richardson, OSLA’s Spotlight Speaker for Super Conference 2009 estimates that about 5% of educators are really thinking about the big shifts that the Read/Write web bring to how kids learn. In his Weblogg-ed post, Looking Back, Looking Forward; Slow Blogging, Slow Change, Richardson speculates on what it will take to effect change.

Speaking of Super Conference speakers, Stephen Heppell, who intrigued audiences at both the 2007 and 2008 conferences, published a fascinating article in The Guardian in which he discusses “the space in-between” – the sometimes synchronous and sometimes asynchronous online spaces that we occupy on Facebook and Twitter, for example. He speculates that educators and the media will have to think more and more about investing in people who live in these spaces, the “inbetweenies”. 

The theme this year seems to be consolidation and making meaning. A challenge to librarians and educators alike!

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