Strategic Futurists; Value Systems Specialists

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Higher Ed is still playing catch-up - will it ever be on par?

Wednesday 10 April 2013

In the article I link to below, Diana G Oblinger, the President of EDUCAUSE offers the Higher Ed community some insights such as this one: we've moved on from the Information Age and are now in the Connected Age. Such a statement will come as quite a shock for many Higher Education Institutions and policy makers in Governments around the world. In the article, Diana highlights the areas in which the educational setting is widely connected - learners, faculty, institutions and to that extent, I think the article is right on the money. But here's the scary thing - if this is news to many in HigherEd (and alas it is for far TOO many) then not only are they playing catch-up, they're already going to be missing the ALREADY EMERGING step that is BEYOND 'Connected'

And that step is 'Context'.

Being connected is becoming increasingly irrelevant. There's reams of data available to almost anyone who wants it, extending (though not wholly) to almost every part of the globe. Data is said to be 'everywhere'. We carry devices that can connect us 'anywhere' - we can access whomever and whatever pretty well 24 hours a day, 7 days a week consistently around the world.

Beyond Connected is Context. We are already seeing user groups ask about data and being connected in CONTEXT to their personal situations, to what they are witnessing, to what they are doing, to what they need THERE and THEN. The emerging skill set is around 'what does this mean?' and 'how can this be useful?' or 'dangerous?' or 'important to share?'

If Higher Education Institutions focus on 'Connected' they're already missing the point. That boat has sailed. What they need to do, ought to do, must do in my opinion, is shift focus to Context - 'in what way can what we do be relevant and useful to the immediate contextual needs of the individual?' That is the thinking behind MOOCs that started some five or so years ago with the likes of Stephen Downes - long before other well know institutions discovered them.

From Connected to Contextual. Can HgherEd make the leap? Here's the EDUCAUSE Article on 'Connected'


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