I have been rather disappointed lately that over the last few years we have not had much in the way of predictions in the education sector. For a while there it seemed like pedagogical prognostic punditry was a wide-spread New Year’s ritual across the blogosphere. I think that COVID and AI have a lot to do with fogging up the crystal balls. A year before COVID shut down schools it would have been hard to predict that a virus was going to change teaching (hopefully forever). Maggie Grady at the University of Buffalo points out that COVID as made us more flexible as teachers, changed how we communicate, and introduced “new” teaching methods such as the flipped classroom. I will be interested in seeing what the research shows about how these changes were implemented, how long the changes persist, and how they effect student success and retention.
I think AI would be hard for most in the education world to make predictions about because most educators really don’t understand what it is, how we will use it, and how it is changing. I keep reading education articles about AI that still apply concepts like “thinking” and “creating” to AI (“Gosh, it thinks just like we do!”). The idea is that since we have read a bunch of books and articles and come up with ideas that ChatGPT does the same thing and therefore it is “thinking” as if the sum total of thinking is the regurgitation of information. But I digress, which is how you know that I did not use ChatGPT to write this: ChatGPT is terrible at meandering digressions (see Victor Hugo or Balzac for really good digressions). My point is that the AI technology is changing so rapidly that it would be foolhardy to make predictions about where it all will wind up.
All of this isn’t to say that you can’t find ANY predictions about education for 2024. There are a number of industry and private consultant types that have a lot to say but most are thinly veiled sales pitches. You can read a lot of the “AI is important and nothing will help your students succeed with AI better than CainCo’s Widgetware 3000…” type of thing at places like eSchool News. Stephen Downes was kind enough to post a link to 157 trends from mostly corporate as presentations in a Google Drive.