Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself. ~ John Dewey

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flipboardOK…so let me clarify that title. I honestly think textbooks are on their way out…or at least I hope they are. Really it should read “Flipboard as core curation artifact for classrooms” but that wouldn’t have you here reading now would it. 🙂

I’m in love with Flipboard. I have been for awhile now….it’s one of the first apps that gets downloaded on all devices. But lately as I’ve been thinking about the death of textbooks and what might replace them I have started to dig deeper into Flipboard and really think it has a ton of potential to be that core curation body of knowledge for teachers and students.

Why Flipboard:

  • Can be installed on all devices! I mean all devices. Windows, Mac, iDevices, Android. That by itself gives it a top marks!
  • Beautiful layout: Design matters…and Flipboard knows that. Every time I show Flipboard to a teacher or student they instantly love it…what’s not to love. Big pictures, magazine flare, beautiful transitions.
  • Connected: You can connect Flipboard to a ton of different accounts and at the same time connect it to hashtag conversations giving you all kinds of different ways to bring information together in one space.

Flipboard Magazines:

This really is the game changer. Flipboard rolled out magazines a while a go. Allowing a user to create a magazine and “Flip” things into it. Others can subscribe to your magazine and see what you find interesting. You can check out my magazine here ——————————————————->

So basically a teacher would have a flipboard account….set up a magazine for thier class and then “flip” all the articles, resources, etc they want students to access into the magazine. The students subscribe to the magaizne and have all that content dispalyed beautifully on their screen….no matter what that screen is.

Class as Content Curators:

Of course….that would work but I think we can go farther. I don’t want the teacher finding all the content for the course. I want students to have the ability to add content to their “textbook” as well. Content that we can discuss in the classroom, that can spark conversation…the real reason we come together..to be social. What if we could have all the students in a class adding to the “textbook” have them find things that interest them on a given topic and allow them to “flip” that into our “textbook” as well. Flipboard allows that too…where you can invite others to add to your Flipboard magazine. Game changer!!!!

But Wait There’s More!

Because ever student is going to need a Flipboard account to make this work they also will be able to create their own boards around content they enjoy. The class magazine (aka textbook) becomes part of that but so does other things that interest them. Also…..because you can search a twitter hashtag and add that to your Flipboard. A class hashtag now becomes part of the conversation. Where kids can tweet something, hashtag it with something like #engp1ju (English Period 1 Jeff Utecht) and have all that content in their new “textbook” as well.

Social and Academic

I talk a lot about breaking down the barriers of social and academic. That this is the world we live in where we work and are social at the same time. A Flipboard account would allow students to have both. A student could have a Flipboard account that had:

  • Class Magazine (textbook)
  • Class Twitter hashtag
  • School Twitter hashtag
  • Their Instagram account
  • Their Facebook account
  • Google+ Account (School or/and personal)
  • Their own Twitter feed
  • News from things that interest them
  • Their Tumblr account

[box] Bonus: Check out the Flipboard tutorials here to get started![/box]

Easy Sharing

Then there is the sharing component. I read something in my Tumblr stream that applies to what we’re talking about in class and I can…with two clicks….add that to our class textbook.

Every student is using Chrome of course (they are right?) so we add the Flipboard extension to Chrome and again in two clicks students can add any website they are on, any article they find to the class textbook.

Or we share it to the class twitter hashtag. Or we share it to our personal account. Our personal and academic lives overlap and what we have is……just life.

If you know of a class…or your class is doing this…please let me know. Cause I think this has HUGE potential to bring everything together. I’m even starting to wonder if it would be worth pursuing for COETAIL? To show teachers who we can create a “textbook” based on the latest things people are reading, tweeting, finding, and sharing. Kim and I might need to have a conversation. 🙂

I like trying to predict what each year will bring us in Educational Technology. Looking back over the topics I’ve chosen through the years this one blog post probably shows more than anything where I’m focusing my attention and passion with technology. Plus being a futurist is kind of fun…..you actually get to make it up. 🙂

Here are my past year’s predictions….you can decide for yourself if I am any good at it.

2007: The Year of the Network (Can we say Twitter and Facebook)

2008: The Year of the “Live Web (Ustream.tv and other services take off)

2009: Bringing Social Learning to the Masses (Education goes deeper in understanding social connections)

2010: The Year of the Mobile Web (iPad, Android, iPhone do I need to say more?)

2011: The Year of the QR Code (These little buggers start showing up everywhere)

2012: Mobile and Integration (Chromebooks, iPads, laptops, tablets, phablets, phones…yeah the list goes on and on)

2013: Opps….forgot (Check out these 10 Innovations in 2013 that improved the world)

As I wrote a few weeks back, I do think we are in a pause at the moment and 2014 will probably be the last year of it before we start up that next big adoption curve of wearable technology. Doug Johnson took my blog post and added his own thoughts (I love true blogging) which are worth a read.

Looking at my old prediction 2010 is where this current pause started. The iPad was released and over the past four years education has been adopting and thinking about mobile computing and its effects on teaching and learning. Just today I read about Los Angeles School Board approving $115 million to purchase up to 70,000 iPads. I do hope they are able to fulfill the board’s idea of what these devices are for.

Board member Monica Garcia said moving quickly was an educational imperative.

“The whole point of this program is to revolutionize instruction,” Garcia said. Low-income students don’t get access “to what is a part of all our worlds today…. I don’t understand how cutting back what’s good is good for kids.” (via 9to5mac)

Moving quickly is the only way to go at the moment, as the next wave of gadgets that will disrupt our world is around the corner.

CC Wikipedia
CC Wikipedia

Yes….wearable is coming. 2014 will be the year that we will see Google Glass become publicly available….we hope. But even if Google decides to hold off on the release (which I don’t think they can afford to do) there are plenty of other companies ready with products of their own. The Verge has a good run down of some of the best wearables they saw at the Computer Electronic Show that just ended in Los Vegas.

The first disruption I think hope we see in education is in Physical Education. Wearable technology…something like FitBit has great potential I think to revolutionize PE. When students and teachers can track their own physical activity throughout the day I think we can start looking at how this effects the PE grade. What if we could grade students truly on their physical activities. What if we could have a physical activity grade and students could look at their device and say, “Ah man….I have to go run a couple laps to get an A this week”. Pretty cool I think. True disruption to PE might be on the way.

I’m not sure what something like Google Glass will do to the classroom environment. I think it’s to early to tell and the technology is still really young. But I do know that what this really starts us towards is voice commands for everything. Business Insider gave its four big tech trends of 2014:

1. Consumer tech loyalty will die

2. Computerized assistance will become a thing

3. Gesture computing will become a reality

4. Retail stores will start to get personalized

I really like these four big trends and all of them, I feel, fall inline with wearable technology. My Moto X phone has become my computerized assistant. When I’m working it sits on the desk next to me. I never touch it but I give it commands. “OK Google Now” and it turns on and goes to work. I’m working on my computer, my phone is putting appointments in my calendar, setting reminders, creating lists, setting my alarm (makes my wife jealous). Motoy (Yeah…I named my assistant) just goes to work doing things for me. Math calculations, looking for directions, flights, hotels. Now….I try to imagine taking everything that I do with my phone and then putting that in a heads up display. Blows my mind what that will be like…and excites me at the same time (yes…I have a saving account for google glass….yes my wife knows about it).

When we’re talking wearable, gesture computing just makes sense….reminds me of the TED Talk years ago when we first saw what this world would be like….now it’s coming true. Easy to see how retail stores will take advantage of this…when you have a pair of glasses on and you walk into a store and it helps you find sizes, gives you reviews, knows you’re looking for a new pair of jeans because you searched them a couple days ago and locates them in the store for you. I don’t know…..this whole thing is going to be really cool and kind of freaky. Or is that really freaky and kind of cool?

So….we have one more year in a pause. One more year to get comfortable with mobile devices before they become wearable. I hope we take this year to really think about what true integration looks like so when these new devices do hit our schools we look for ways to integrate them at a level that once again changes education and not just upgrades it.

Questions for you:

Is your school starting discussions about wearable technology?

What happens when students bring it?

How do we prepare for it to come to our schools….because it is coming.