I began my session by noting how Cisco (just yesterday) announced that by 2015 — or in just 4 short years — the number of network-connected devices will quadruple to 15 billion — or twice the world's population! Moreover, by 2015, 1 million video minutes will traverse the Internet every second. (In case you're wondering, this is the equivalent of 674 days of content pulsating around the globe in one second.)
Next, I noted that although the e-Book only become popular with the creation of the Kindle three years ago, e-Books are now out-selling paper books on Amazon.com. This is a significant shift in consumer behavior in a relatively short period of time.
Third, I noted that Salman Khan, the founder of Khan Academy, only began tutoring his nieces online in 2006. Today, he has over 2,200 online tutorials and over one million students access his site every month — for free.
The bottom-line is that society has witnessed a startling amount of progress in a short period of time and the future is only going to accelerate.
To prepare for this future, I then asked the group this question: Imagine your university wasn't yet established. Instead, imagine the future school logo read "Established in 2022." What would such a university look like? Who will the students be? How will they access and share information? What is the role of the teacher?
To those of you who say this is a frivalous or meaningless exercise, I'd counter that if the role of educational establishments is to prepare students for the future, it is only appropriate that they do the same thing for themselves.
Interested in some thoughts on the future of education? Check out these older posts: