The Future of Educational Technology and Education 3.0

Thinking of what education might look like in the next decade, one quickly realizes that the trends in technology are leaving a large number of our students behind. We no longer live in an age of visible movement when it comes to progress and innovation. Today is an age of exponential change. New and ever-improving technologies are popping up every day and in every corner of society.

Educating the best and the brightest in this brave new world will take a new and improved educational paradigm. Allowing our educational tools to age in the corner of the classroom will be the mistake that may cost us our future. Throwing away masses of children to inequitable access will ensure that we languish at the bottom of the global pool of employable workers for decades to come.

The New Toolbox

I was at an auction a few years ago and noticed a few old woodworking tools that I thought I could use. For a few bucks, I was able to snag an assortment of hand tools that may have been in someone’s toolbox for a generation or more. As the next decade passed, I used these tools in my shop for a wide variety of projects until my projects outgrew these old, dull tools. My woodworking creations continued to improve as did my skills and artistry. I quickly discovered that using improved tools would translate into improved craftsmanship. As any woodworker will tell you, new tools require new skills.

Woodworking is a great metaphor for shaping and molding students. There is simply no good substitute for a sharp tool. If you want to build the best projects possible, you need to use the best tools possible. Thinking in terms of the next decade for our country, we will be sorely disappointed in our projects if we fail to improve our tools.

Within this article, I will try to paint a picture of how technology will shape the way we educate students in the next decade. I will attempt to show the amazing possibilities that lay before us if we will simply walk through the doorway of opportunity that is open to us. My focus will be this idea: Transforming the student from being a passenger to becoming a “user.” You may be wondering what I mean by this. Let me explain.

Ask yourself what it means to be a “user.” A user is not simply a person who uses. For the student, being a user should involve using the latest technology in a free and autonomous manner. This new-found freedom will allow the student to become an active participant in his/her education instead of a passive passenger. No other time in history have we been so able to make this a reality.

In our current technological society, being a user also means being tracked. Tracking has become a major part of our daily lives and is precisely the engine that should drive our educational process for the foreseeable future. Tracking a student means having the ability to target education toward weaknesses and strengths. The ability to accurately customize curriculum to the individual has been the holy grail of educational philosophy for many years. This golden age of technological development may soon enable this dream to become a reality.

Current educational curriculum and individual assessment is arbitrary at best. Being able to accurately asses a student can only be achieved by using modern tracking and database technologies. The means by which we can make this a reality is readily available and only needs to be taken off the shelf to be used. If Congress is looking for a shovel-ready project, this may be the one.

Imagine a world where every child has a tablet computer with ready access to the App of virtual photographic memory (internet). Further, imagine that every student can access all the knowledge of humankind freely at any moment in time. Continue to imagine a world where a misspelled word brings up a spelling challenge application instead of an auto correction. Try to contemplate what it would mean for a teacher to have a database of every misspelled word, every misunderstood concept or every missed equation for each of their students. Try to envision a teacher with the ability to customize the experience of the individual “user” with minimal effort. Imagine the curriculum being automatically targeted to the user through an intuitive educational platform that knows every strength and each unique weakness. I could go on, but I think you get the point.

The company that makes this standard available to the educational community will be the company that shapes the future of humankind. Will it be Google, Apple, Microsoft, or some other yet unknown pioneer?

Continuing from the thoughts in my last post, I would like to elaborate on the idea of the student as a user of a new standardized educational platform. It is obvious to me that the future of education will always mirror our everyday lives in one way or another. If you examine how technology has influenced your daily life already, you begin to put together a snapshot of what it will mean to be educated in the next decade.

In the last few hundred years, most individuals would consider an education as something you receive. You often hear the question asked, “Where did you receive your education?” As we proceed through the next decade, education will slowly move away from reception and toward being custom designed for the individual user. New technology will not only allow us to receive an education, but also develop an education. The question we might ask in 10 years is, “How did you develop your education?” The question of where will still be important, but the how of the matter will be the focus that defines the individual.

To make this a reality we will need a standardized platform from which to develop a student’s unique education. This standardized platform will allow us to tailor a custom curriculum that will be matched to talents, interests and life goals. For the educator, a standardized platform will create a way to assist the student in discovering a true purpose in life through a unique educational experience. The basics of reading, writing and arithmetic will not be taught as much as they will be discovered and used. Learning will become a reciprocal experience between the teacher, the student and the machine.

Under a standardized platform, each of these three participants will have a role to play. The teacher will be the facilitator, assisting the development of the curriculum and inspiring the direction the student takes. The student will be the user, gathering resources, skills and knowledge in an efficient and measured sequence. The machine will do the work of data gathering and analysis, which will assist the teacher and student in refining the curriculum. This data gathering work of the machine will also free the teacher from the burden of record-keeping and tedious tasks that currently distract from the real job of teaching and learning.

Under a standardized system, grade level will be far less important. Achievement and progression will be measured by accomplishment and intelligence as a benchmark for success. The question of failure or success will be irrelevant and replaced with a standard and consistent measurement of potential and overall intelligence. Information will no longer be missed but continually rehearsed and monitored for retention by the machine.

In our current educational paradigm, the teacher is in charge of arbitrarily constructing curriculum. This approach to curriculum development is based on inexperience in some cases, outdated materials, inadequate funding and a shortage of time. Measuring the success of a specific curriculum is currently impossible. With a standardized system, comparisons of curricular success can be made across the entire spectrum of education and then continually reformulated and enhanced by the machine.

Sadly, teachers today are bogged down with an assortment of mind-numbing tasks that would be better suited to an off-the-shelf automated system. Tasks such as data tracking, reporting and record keeping are currently accomplished manually. These tasks could easily be delegated to an intuitive database. Developing a standard to follow would eliminate these tasks and free the teacher to do their main job of teaching students.

Education 3.0

Throughout history, man has sought to pass on knowledge to the next generation. This process started with oral tradition, storytelling and writing. With the advent of the printing press, knowledge and information slowly became available to the masses. The amount of information that could be gained by one human in a lifetime was severely limited by his access to printed materials and wealth. The majority of learning was gained through observation and imitation. We can call this Education 1.0.

Education 2.0 starts around the late eighteen hundreds with universal literacy movements throughout newly industrialized regions of the world. Improvements in education slowly transitioned from apprenticeship to formal education and training. Despite our movements toward universal education, access to knowledge and opportunity continues to be inequitable throughout the world. Even with the arrival of the computer revolution, access to the tools of learning continues to define the learner.

The next decade may mark the moment in history when all men are granted equal access to the greatest treasure a soul can possess. I use the word may in the last sentence because there is the chance that we will miss this golden opportunity. Access to Education 3.0 will only be gained through investment and universal standardization. If we continue to divert wealth toward fruitless goals and corporate greed, this opportunity will be lost or hopelessly delayed.

Education 3.0, when it arrives, will be the age of universal enlightenment. Platforms for education and learning will slowly standardize and become globally accessible and affordable. The poorest to the wealthiest will have access to the machine that runs the platform.

The thought on your mind at this point is most likely wondering what machine I keep referring to. The machine in question is the one we have been so busy teaching and training since roughly 1969. You’ve probably guessed it by now that I am referring to the internet. The great cloud of knowledge that we call the internet is precisely the mechanism that we will use to build the platform of Education 3.0. When the platform is finally in place, the decade to follow will see the greatest amount of wealth, discoveries and use of human potential that we have witnessed during our time on this earth. The only question that remains to be answered is the point at which I will leave this article.

When will we allow the user to use the machine to its potential?

Stephen McClard has been the Director of Bands at Bolivar High School since 2002. Mr. McClard graduated from Southeast Missouri State University in 1990. He started his teaching career in Southeast Missouri before moving to Illinois where he taught band for 8 years.

Mr. McClard’s bands have consistently received superior ratings at contest as well as many other awards and accolades. Since 2002, the band has traveled twice to Chicago, where they won 1st place class 4A and 1st place overall at the Midwest Music In the Parks Festival. The band also traveled to Cincinnati in 2006, receiving the same honors. In 2006, Mr. McClard was named by SBO Magazine as one of the 50 Directors Who Make a Difference. In 2006, 2008 and 2009, Bolivar RI School district was named one of the “Best 100 Communities for Music Education” in America by the American Music Conference. Mr. McClard was previously featured on the cover of the 2003 issue of SBO Magazine for his work with music technology.

In addition to his career in education, Mr. McClard maintains an online woodworking business and is a 3rd generation piano technician. His woodworking creations include custom bass guitars, which have sold all over the world and one-of-a-kind computer desks made from old pianos. His piano desks have been featured in magazines such as Business 2.0 and Piano Technicians Journal and in many other newspapers and television news features.

MoS2 Low Friction Coatings – Not Just For The Aviation Industry Anymore

MoS2 low friction coatings (also known as molybdenum disulfide, also spelled, disulphide) are regarded the most widely used form of solid film lubrication today. What makes them unique (with the other dichalcogenides) is the weak atomic interaction (Van der Waals) of the sulfide anions, while covalent bonds within molybdenum are strong.Thus, lubrication relies on slippage along the sulfur atoms. All the properties of the lamella structure are intrinsic. No external form of moisture is required. In fact, best performance from MoS2 low friction coatings is attained in the absence of water vapor, which are prone to surface adsorption. This makes them ideal under vacuum.There are a number of methods to apply MoS2 low friction coatings, including a simple rubbing or burnishing, air-spraying resin-bonded or inorganically bonded coatings, and more recently by sputtering through physical vapor deposition (PVD).Thickness will vary, depending on form of MoS2 low friction coatings, but typically ranges between 5 to 15 micrometer. Sputtering techniques can produce thin films of 0.2 micrometer. While plasma sprays will result in higher builds, beginning at 0.003 inch or more.Friction coefficient less than 0.05 is attainable, but will also vary with humidity and sliding conditions. Tests show friction decreases with increasing vacuum strength. Friction also lowers with higher load, faster surface speed, or both. In fact, MoS2 low friction coatings are superior to both graphite and tungsten disulfide (WS2). Friction with MoS2 low friction coatings is independent of particle size, though the larger particles can carry more load.Dry lubrication for MoS2 low friction coatings remains superior at higher temperatures, with oxidation rates remaining relatively low at temperatures up to 600 degrees Fahrenheit. And in dry, oxygen-free atmospheres, lubricating performance, even with oxidation products, is stable to 1300 degrees Fahrenheit.Higher air flow can affect oxidation kinetic rates in atmosphere. Molybdenum oxide products (MoO3) and sulfur dioxide. Since MoO3 alone offers dry lubrication, based on its relative softness, molybdenum disulfide coating are ideal in higher temperature environments. At higher temperatures, though, they are better suited under vacuum. In atmosphere, they are prone to water adsorption from air based on their hygroscopic properties.As with the other dry film lubricants, while differences may prove negligible, you will have to determine which is better for you: longer wear life or better performance, using MoS2 low friction coatings. Generally, friction will be slightly higher by coating both surfaces, rather than coating one surface only. But wear life will increase coating both surfaces.Friction can be good in so many areas of life. Without it we could not easily stop and start our motion, or change direction. But in moving machinery, friction causes considerable loss of energy, poorer performance, not to mention limiting wear life.As with many non-lubricated systems, the static coefficient of friction is higher than the dynamic coefficient of friction. The resultant motion is often referred to as ‘stick-slip’. Basically, the two surfaces stick together until the elastic energy within the system has accumulated to some threshold, where a sudden, forward slip takes place. Under magnification, it’s apparent the union of two surfaces is often limited to intimate contact only at the tips of a few of the asperities (small scale, surface irregularities). At these point areas, pressures relating to contact may be near the hardness of the softer material. Thus, plastic deformation occurs on some localized scale. This is known as cold welding. Where bonded junctions are formed between two materials.For lubrication to occur, these bonds, this adhesive component of friction, must be broken. And this is where products like MoS2 low friction coatings serve well.So, where are these products used today? Consider aerospace, automotive, marine and electronic, for starters. There, you’ll find MoS2 low friction coatings, again and again.

Ontario’s Wine Industry – Harvesting the Benefits of SR&ED

How wonderful it is to proudly browse the wide selection of Ontario’s wines at your local LCBO. Knowing that your own winery is both a driving force in the Canadian economy and an innovator of the local wine industry can certainly be rewarding, both personally and professionally.From challenges to opportunitiesQuite often the goal of a grape grower to produce a consistent, high-quality brand of wine is met with many unexpected challenges. With the erratic situation of the Canadian economy following the recession, wine makers of Ontario struggle to produce at the risk of manufacturing downsizing. In addition to economic factors, the wine industry of Ontario is faced with a higher stringency under Vintners Quality Alliance (VQA) regulations, and the push from Wine Council of Ontario (WCO) to raise industry standards by participating in programs like Sustainable Winemaking Ontario.For the individual winery of Ontario, keeping up with competition means continuously utilizing new technologies and finding innovative ways to provide a premium product, despite such challenges. Simply put, this boils down to having the necessary financial opportunities become available to maintain a healthy competition. Are these opportunities available to the wine industry of Ontario? Yes – SR&ED is the answer!The SR&ED programThe SR&ED program (Scientific Research & Experimental Development) aims to reimburse companies for their experimental development expenses. For over 20 years and with about $4 billion a year in funding, it remains the largest single source of federal funding for R&D in Canada. The goal is to make creativity and innovation affordable in the Canadian business environment and foster future development.The program is highly relevant to businesses who are naturally involved in shop-floor
experimentation. R&D projects that qualify under the program include (1) work undertaken for the purpose of achieving technological advancement and/or (2) creating new, or improving existing materials, devices, products or processes. The actual refund amount depends on proper identification and qualification of eligible expenditures.Wineries in Ontario serve as ideal candidates for such funding. Typical SR&ED eligible activities that apply to the wine industry include:Developing new wines
Altering soil chemistry
Handling and harvesting technology
Improved bottling techniques
Altering practice as result of the weather
Many more…
Wineries and growers may be regularly overcoming such obstacles in daily operation. Your innovative solutions to these problems may very well qualify you for some SR&ED funding. The program supports any attempts to improve your business operations, even if they do not prove successful.Which costs qualify?Working on new ideas takes time, wastes material and requires equipment modification. The SR&ED program allows retrieving these expenses:68% of wages and salaries of personnel directly involved in R&D
41% of sub-contractor expenses
22% of capital expenditures
The refund has no strings attached – as a winery owner you are free to spend it anyway you like – buy new equipment, attempt new projects, or give everyone a big bonus – the decision is yours!How we can help?Submitting a SR&ED claim is a fairly complex and time consuming process. It involves properly identifying eligible activities within your business, associating the appropriate costs to these projects and completing a highly technical report to support the claim.Using the extensive experience of a professional consultancy like ourselves, business owners have the opportunity to review their potential for qualification, and complete the application process in a few hours, and with no up-front costs. We get paid when you do!Discovering that your business is eligible for SR&ED funding makes a world of difference. The goal is to help your winery take potential technical risks that will eventually lead to significant improvements in your industry.