Revisiting my 2014 predictions for education, the ISTE Ignite talk reprise

I did an Ignite talk at ISTE 2014 in front of a few thousand people.


For those unfamiliar, an ignite is a five minute talk with 20 slides that auto advance every 15 seconds. It's fast paced and presenters have to be very prepared, or very good at improv.  Here is the post I wrote about that experience in 2014

I thought it might be fun to revisit the text I used to prepare myself for that ignite and see how some of my predictions turned out. 


ISTE 2014 Ignite Talk  2024 Thoughts about what I said in 2014
I Predict...  Now I know...
Hello, I'm Jen Roberts. I teach high school English with 1:1 laptops in San Diego. But before I taught high school, and way before my students had laptops, I taught 7th grade, and Edgar was one of my students. I am still Jen Roberts. I still teach high school English. My students still have laptops, but now they are Chromebooks and they get to have them 24/7 instead of being stored in a cart in my classroom. 
When I taught Edgar and his classmates in 1999, dry erase boards were the latest technology, and my teacher computer weighed 60 pounds. But outside our classroom, Google was getting started, people were beginning to buy small computers called laptops, and Wifi was on the horizon. Ahh the 90's. That computer really did weigh 60 pounds. The one I work on today weighs about 3 pounds and fits in my backpack.
Today, Edgar is a computer professional. I know because he is the webmaster at my son's preschool. The job he does today did not exist when he was in my class. I'm not sure where Edgar is today. My children are long past pre-school and I don't run into him there anymore. I suspect he is doing well.
When I run into Edgar, I get a fresh reminder that we are preparing our students for their futures. As teachers, we should be futurists. That's the nature of the business. And predicting that future is not just our prerogative; it's our obligation. I run into even more former students more often now that I have taught a few thousand more students. It is always amazing to see them thriving in the world. 
Of course, our predictions won't be right all the time, or even most of the time, but that's not the point. Predicting the future is not about being perfect or even specific. It's about being open to possibility. You will be wrong, but by how much?  Still open to possibility.
If I predict that my children will own electric, self driving, cars by the time they are 25 I might be right. I'm just extrapolating on existing data. It could happen. Neither of my kids is 25 yet, so this may still happen, in fact it seems even more likely now. I have a plugin/hybrid car. It's not self driving, but the adaptive cruise control is very nice. As I look around the highway though, I can see plenty of electric cars with even higher levels of autonomous driving capabilities. 
If I predict that in ten years schools will have 100 times the bandwidth they have now, I might be wrong. But what if I'm right? In 1964 Isaac Asimov predicted that phone calls would become video calls by 2014. He was right! What comes after video calls? Imagine the possibilities for learning and human interaction. We do have much higher internet speeds in my school now than we did in 2014. I also have much higher speeds at home. 

Video calling, webinars, and online virtual meetings have proliferated and become a regular part of my daily life when they used to be a rarity. 
And field trips are going to be a whole lot more interesting. Virtual Reality Headsets will let you take your class on a virtual field trip to any place in the universe and any point in time. The price point on these will come down to the point that every school can have a cart of VR headsets. Google Expeditions was a lovely step in this direction. Schools can now buy a class set of VR headsets, though I think most still prefer to spend that money in other ways. 
I predict that wearable tech is coming to our classrooms, where it will initially be banned and then eventually accepted. Who would have guessed in 1988 that we would all be carrying cell phones today? Google Glass and others will become just as ubiquitous as cell phones have. What else is coming? Google Glass went away, but recently Meta and others have been promoting a new wave of AI enabled wearable devices. And a lot of this wearable tech is less visible, ask someone who got new hearing aids in the last few years. 
In 2013 I stepped into a 3D cave and an undergraduate at UCSD walked us through a hemoglobin cell. She estimated the setup cost about 1 million dollars. But a mass produced version of a 3D pod could be commercially available to schools for a fraction of that cost. And I want one. I still want 3D caves for every school. There is no technical reason every school can't have a room with four wall projection to immerse students in learning experiences. If you have been to one of the traveling shows like the Beyond Van Gogh experience you know what I mean.
As we move into an era where the common core is reshaping curriculum and 1:1 programs are putting a device on every student's desk, I'm concerned that we will see a growing tension between corporations who want to package and deliver content, and educators who want to create collaborative, productive spaces, for children to grow. We are seeing a digital divide between corporate packaged curriculum, now AI adaptive, and educator driven learning experiences. 
I'm worried that the next educational divide will be between the students who have the privileges and autonomy to determine their own learning and those who don't.  Yep, still worried about that. 
I predict that climate change will impact our kids lives. But, It will also drive innovation as we adapt. It will become a wedge issue in politics because there is no compromise that will stop weather patterns from changing and sea levels from rising. Our students must be prepared to change and innovate to survive. They will need to make hard decisions when they choose who to vote for and where to live. Wow, that who to vote for line. Plus climate change, and extreme weather events. I'm not saying that was hard to predict, but it is already having an impact on our lives. 
I predict that our world will become even more connected, driving the pace of innovation even faster. Students who are ready to join a connected community of innovators will have an exponential impact on the accelerated change coming in the rest of this century. Being a part of a connected classroom community and connecting across the globe with other classrooms is a good way to get started. The world will be more connected, another not hard to guess prediction. 

Are well connected folks more likely to innovate? Possibly. I still get new ideas from my interactions with others. 
Our kids are going places, but they won't get there all alone. Artificial intelligence already flies our planes. It will soon drive our cars, boats and tractors. And AI will help us make decisions from all the big data we are collecting. It may even help us predict… Whoa, I was talking about AI in 2014? And I was right about it helping sift through large amounts of data to drive decisions. 
Today it helped me build this table and separate the paragraphs of my original talk into separate rows. A few moments of prompting saved me lots of copy/pasting. 

I also asked Claude.ai which of these predictions turned out to be true. Out of 10 predictions it listed four as true, one as largely true, and the other five as partially true. 
Yes, many of my predictions are my own hopes carved into prophecies by raw optimism. I have prophetic dreams, not the kind that show me the future while I am sleeping, but the kind that tell me that innovation and education are a human rights.  Innovation and education are human rights. Access is an equity issue. 
These are the dreams that tell me we can leverage technology to awaken the curiosity in our students and engage them in positive change. Our students are going to be living in the future for the next one hundred years. Predicting what that world will look like is not hard, and preparing them for it is the challenge we've already accepted. I think it is even more true now that we can leverage educational technology to awaken student curiosity and engage students in positive change. 

Our mandate to prepare students for a world with all of these trends still stands. 
I predict that many of you will tweet me your predictions for your students. I hope I'm right. I'm still on Twitter @JenRoberts1, but I'm more active on Threads @TheJenRoberts
Hashtag #iPredict Yeah, don't use that hashtag now. 
And by the way, I predict that ISTE 20-14 is going to be fabulous. It was fabulous. Shortly after I gave this talk my friend and co-author Diana Neebe was honored as the ISTE Outstanding Young Educator. She was featured in a conversation before the keynote and the session we did together was well attended. Our book came out the following year and we were on a roll, helping teachers embrace the affordances of 1:1 devices in their classrooms. 

I still believe educators need to be thinking a lot about the future. It's not hard to make predictions. No one will judge you if you are wrong, and even if you are only partly right your students will be better off for your forward thinking. 

The slides I spoke from in 2014 are below. 

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