The Classroom will Learn ‘You’

IBM have released five videos – “In the future, everything will learn” detailing their belief in where technology will take us in the next five years. In ‘The classroom will learn you’ IBM believe that the “classroom of the future will learn about each individual student over the course of their education, helping them master the skills that match their goals.” Something that is echoed (or mirrored) in the 2014 NMC Horizon Report also announced earlier this week, where ‘learner analytics’ are highlighted as a key trend (in the mid-range / 3 to 5 year context) and under the heading ‘important developments’ in Higher Education (time-to-adoption of one year or less). 

YouTube:  IBM / The Classroom will Learn You

Sheila McNeill, the ALT Learning Technologist of the Year, also writes on this and the other 4 IBM videos – “Meet the future – he’s called Steve” – and Sheila makes an important case about the ‘system’ …

“So “the system” will keep me safe and secure. But who owns the system? What else are they going to do with my data? Who else will have access to it ? How can I set my privacy and notification levels? Who pays for all this? Who really benefits?”

Indeed. With all this data being used for our own good (supposedly) someone must have access to it in order to know what is available to be used and for what purpose. Who will that be. Google? Amazon? Government(s)? Who will decide who accesses what? Will we have control over any of this? We are already in the age of ‘big data’ where we are already questioning whether we will ever know the full extent of what is known about us from what our devices, searches, browsing history, etc. are already collecting. Where will systems like this go, how far will they ‘interrogate’ our lives; will it be kept solely to the classroom, will it continue when the learning takes place at home, in the cafe, in the library, at the bus stop? Will it stop when the learning (course) stops, or will it continue to interrogate our actions through devices and beyond the original intent? Where is this going to lead?

Nice idea IBM, but at the moment quite scary and with a whole heap of ethical and moral questions that need answering before I’d be happy for my boys to participate.