Technology Predictions for 2010

I guess this is the time of the season to look into the crystal ball and make predictions about the year ahead. Certainly 2009 has been an exciting year for all types of technology and in 2010, I predict we will begin to see even more rapid developments. One of the really exciting development has been in the area of mobile handsets.

With more people connected to the web via their smartphones we need to take a look at this factor and plan accordingly. With Apple raising the bar with the iPhone we have seen a flurry of development and new smartphones are being released on a weekly basis. This year we saw the release of the BlackBerry Storm 2 as well as the Motorola Droid featuring the Android operating system from Google. This has certainly been a hotbed of development and the apps for these mobile devices continues at a furious pace. Next year we will continue to see huge developments in the mobile handset market which will play out well for us in education. The real tipping point for this technology will be the ability to run Flash applications on these handsets. From what I have been reading Adobe is working hard with Research in Motion (BlackBerry) and Google to build Flash into their development tools. Once Flash becomes standard on these devices you will see incredible applications that can deliver on the promise of these devices for learning. In many cases the students we work with are carrying very powerful computing devices which could be used as an educational tool to advance their learning. So next year look for smartphones to play a larger role in the area of classroom and mobile learning. I am already beginning to see a number of companies that are developing accessories or companion products to work with smartphones which could really propel this whole arena. So next year might just be the year of mLearning- that is mobile learning opportunities from anywhere on your smartphones.

As much all of us are used to starting up our applications from our hard drives - we will continue to see a shift to the cloud at even a faster pace of adoption. I recently had a conversation with my nephew who is in his early twenty's who had just purchased a new Windows laptop. I asked him if he had purchased a copy of Microsoft Office to install and he looked at me and said "there is no reason to, I am now using GoogleDocs for all of my work." So yes there is a huge shift happening and as we move forward we will begin to see more and more students and educators adopt the cloud to do all of their work. I suspect that as I speak to educators, that many schools will jump on board in 2010 and will sign up for Google Apps for Education. In doing so, both teachers and students will recognize the quantum leap in collaboration and learning that just wasn't possible with standalone applications. So look for 2010 to bring about huge shifts in collaboration and moving to the cloud for our personal computing.

We have also just begun to witness the movement from the printed book to the digital book and 2010 is going to be a banner year for ebooks as it explodes into the market. If it is any indication, Amazon reported that their sales from downloaded books to the Kindle outpaced that for printed books for the 2009 Holidays! With this in mind we will see a number of new players in this market with their own spin on the feature set. During the 2009 holiday season we saw the release of the Nook from Barnes & Noble which was an instant success. We also have Sony in the market touting not one but three different Sony Readers. Competition is good, and I suspect we will see a host of other companies making announcements about their branded eReaders at the Consumer Electronic Show come this January in Las Vegas. In any case- it is clear that ebooks will evolve over time and will play a much bigger role in schools. As we saw in the Kindle 2- having access to text to speech built-in can make a world of difference for students who need accessible curriculum material. Having consumer products that are designed with assistive technology from the beginning helps to keep the costs down and make it a universally designed product from the get go.

I hope you have a wonderful and Happy New Year! I would appreciate hearing about your predictions for 2010- so feel free to add your comments.

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