I've written here before about Bryan Alexander and his outstanding Future Trends in Technology and Education newsletter, which I've considered essential and vital reading since 2013. Bryan is one of the most exciting and influential voices in that place where the worlds of education and technology and today and tomorrow intersect.
Today I want to share one of the newer efforts he has undertaken: the Future Trends Forum, delivered via Shindig. I've had a few opportunities where my availability allowed me to watch and participate in one of the weekly sessions he's been doing for a year or so now, and thoroughly enjoyed each of these interactive events.
Shindig: A Next-Level Video Conferencing Platform
First, however, a brief aside about Shindig – this is an impressive platform for connection digitally. Every participant can be a video presence and connect with any subgroup, or even come “on stage” to participate in the dialogue that's happening. Think Hangouts, WebEx, etc., nicely improved. There are lots of different ways for participants to connect and communicate, with the whole group, or in small break out groups, or via chats.
To my way of thinking, Shindig takes a big step towards the synchronous distance learning delivery platforms that I believe we're going to see as an important part of the future of education. I could easily write another post about it, and hope to one of these days. In the meanwhile, if you watch some of these recorded FTF sessions, you'll get a good appreciation of some aspects of how the platform works.
“An experiment in collective futuring”
The most recent Future Trends and Technology forum I watched and participating in was a more experimental undertaking than the general approach where Bryan will typically have a guest or two. This particular forum was a group-think sort of look at current media and events and how they might offer insights into the future of education and technology. Quite a few participants got to come “up on stage” and share their thoughts.
We got into a lot of interesting streams of thought, ideas, and questions. I threw in my two cents about how more than ever, as misinformation and propagandizing are so enabled via the Internet, the need for better digital literacy education for students of all ages has never been more vital. During the discussion, someone shared (in one of the chat windows that are easy to start) Michael Caulfield's free, Creative Commons licensed ebook, “Web Literacy for Student Fact Checkers”. I wrote a couple posts about this excellent resource last week.
Below is the recording of this particular forum. Note that all the FTF sessions are available in this YouTube Playlist.
So in addition to sharing this wonderful forum and powerful tool (Shinding), I would also like to again recommendation that people subscribe to Bryan's outstanding free Future Trends in Technology and Education monthly newsletter. It's a rich resource that tracks new, ongoing, and fading trends. I never fail to find unique insights in each edition.