The report shows a lot of optimism towards tablets and their utility in the classroom. This optimism should be restrained with some amount of cynicism. The selling point of tablets is their functionality and intuitive control, but they still lack the utility most students can find in a PC. There are important tools and applications that are either limited or completely absent on tablets. Given their size and price, tablets should be comparable to laptops as a learning device. Both are easily portable, but tablets are far more expensive and easier for younger students to damage.
The horizon report’s key trends present the most interesting concepts in the article. The third trend highlights an issue that I consider during every step of my education; the workforce demands skills from college graduates that are more often acquired from informal learning experiences than in universities. The clubs, activities and internships I have participated in have offered my more opportunities to create a bullet point on my resume. In other words, school does a fantastic job of reinforcing research skills and a desire to learn, but the opportunities outside the classroom are the main selling points to potential employers.
The other point that caught my attention was that the demand for personalized learning is not adequately supported in current technology practices. It’s hard to cater to everyone’s needs, especially in a large classroom setting, but teachers can utilize technology to help them better meet individual needs. According to the horizon article using data-driven approaches to effectively utilize technologies for personal use is in its infancy, but these developments would be a massive help for instructors attempting to cater to a wide variety of needs.
The outline of learning attributes in the first chapter of Meaningful Learning with Technology helped me identify my own learning strategies and motivations. The most important factor for me is an attribute the book describes as constructive or reflective learning. Exposure to new ideas and concepts is my favorite aspect of learning in any setting. In other words, I like to connect new experiences to persistent themes in my life in an attempt to become a more holistic person. This concept directly ties into the authentic or complex attribute of learning. I am often annoyed by professors who only lecture on generalities and theories rather than concrete and usable systems. I attend the University of Georgia to acquire useful skills to build a career from and I feel that many class structures ignore this student motivation
The Partnership for 21st Century Skills appears to be an organization that I can fully support. I often feel that students are limited in public schools because of the few students that would not allow for independence and full collaboration. Most people know what general areas they are interested in by their mid teenage years but are still required to study areas that are not related. Since the evolution of technology, students are better able to independently peruse interests more than ever, but public school systems are still rigidly structured, standardized test machines. The Partnership for 21st Century Skills emphasizes life and career skills rather than government enforced standards. Until institutions learn to embrace student variance and the full access to data that modern age technology allows, students will not be able to fully reach their potential.