2018 TECH TRENDS REPORT — from the Future Today Institute
Emerging technology trends that will influence business, government, education, media and society in the coming year.


The Future Today Institute’s 11th annual Tech Trends Report identifies 235 tantalizing advancements in emerging technologies—artificial intelligence, biotech, autonomous robots, green energy and space travel—that will begin to enter the mainstream and fundamentally disrupt business, geopolitics and everyday life around the world. Our annual report has garnered more than six million cumulative views, and this edition is our largest to date.

Helping organizations see change early and calculate the impact of new trends is why we publish our annual Emerging Tech Trends Report, which focuses on mid- to late-stage emerging technologies that are on a growth trajectory.

In this edition of the FTI Tech Trends Report, we’ve included several new features and sections:

  • a list and map of the world’s smartest cities
  • a calendar of events that will shape technology this year
  • detailed near-future scenarios for several of the technologies
  • a new framework to help organizations decide when to take action on trends
  • an interactive table of contents, which will allow you to more easily navigate the report from the bookmarks bar in your PDF reader



01 How does this trend impact our industry and all of its parts?
02 How might global events — politics, climate change, economic shifts – impact this trend, and as a result, our organization?
03 What are the second, third, fourth, and fifth-order implications of this trend as it evolves, both in our organization and our industry?
04 What are the consequences if our organization fails to take action on this trend?
05 Does this trend signal emerging disruption to our traditional business practices and cherished beliefs?
06 Does this trend indicate a future disruption to the established roles and responsibilities within our organization? If so, how do we reverse-engineer that disruption and deal with it in the present day?
07 How are the organizations in adjacent spaces addressing this trend? What can we learn from their failures and best practices?
08 How will the wants, needs and expectations of our consumers/ constituents change as a result of this trend?
09 Where does this trend create potential new partners or collaborators for us?
10 How does this trend inspire us to think about the future of our organization?




On Change and Relevance for Higher Education — from campustechnology.com by Mary Grush and Phil Long
A Q&A with Phil Long


Mary Grush: You’ve been connected to scores of technology leaders and have watched trends in higher education for more than 30 years. What is the central, or most important concern you are hearing from institutional leadership now?

Phil Long: Higher ed institutions are facing some serious challenges to stay relevant in a world that is diversifying and changing rapidly. They want to make sure that the experiences they have designed for students will carry the next generation forward to be productive citizens and workers. But institutions’ abilities to keep up in our changing environment have begun to lag to a sufficient degree, such that alternatives to the traditional university are being considered, both by the institutions themselves and by their constituents and colleagues throughout the education sector.

Grush: What are a few of the more specific areas in which institutions may find it difficult to navigate?

Long: Just from a very high level view, I’d include on that list: big data and the increasing sophistication of algorithms, with the associated benefits and risks; artificial intelligence with all its implications for good… and for peril; and perhaps most importantly, new applications and practices that support how we recognize learning.



“The pace of change never seems to slow down. And the issues and implications of the technologies we use are actually getting broader and more profound every day.” — Phil Long




PD is getting so much better!! — from cultofpedagogy.com by Jennifer Gonzalez




1. Unconferences
2. Intentional professional learning communities (PLCs)
3. Choice Boards
4. Personal Action Plans
5. Voluntary Piloting
6. Peer Observation
7. Microcredentials
8. Blended Learning
9. Lab Classrooms




The 4th Next Generation Learning Spaces event is right around the corner! Make plans to attend this conference -- you won't regret it!

The 4th Next Generation Learning Spaces event is right around the corner!

Take a look at the latest agenda.

Here is just a fraction of what you can expect:

  • Explore what’s next in learning spaces + design thinking that breaks the barriers of tradition and inspire innovation
  • Retool your learning environments with virtual & augmented reality
  • Connect your learning space design with strategic planning initiatives
  • Discover next generation learning solutions during our networking breaks
  • Overcome institutional and financial roadblocks to building active learning spaces
  • Redesign spaces with limited budgets


From DSC:
I am honored to be serving on the Advisory Council for this conference with a great group of people. Missing — at least from my perspective — from the image below is Kristen Tadrous, Senior Program Director with the Corporate Learning Network. Kristen has done a great job these last few years planning and running this conference.


The Advisory Board for the 2018 Next Generation Learning Spaces Conference

The above graphic reflects a change for me. I am still an Adjunct Faculty Member
at Calvin College, but I am no longer a Senior Instructional Designer there.


This national conference will be held in Los Angeles, CA on February 26-28, 2018. It is designed to help institutions of higher education develop highly-innovative cultures — something that’s needed in many institutions of traditional higher education right now.

I have attended the first 3 conferences and I moderated a panel at last year’s conference out in San Diego. I just want to say that this is a great conference and I encourage you to bring a group of people to it from your organization! I say a group of people because a group of 5 of us (from a variety of departments) went one year and the result of attending the NGLS Conference was a brand new Sandbox Classroom — an active-learning based, highly-collaborative learning space where faculty members can experiment with new pedagogies as well as with new technologies. The conference helped us discuss things as a diverse group, think out loud, come up with some innovative ideas, and then build the momentum to move forward with some of those key ideas.

If you haven’t already attended this conference, I highly recommend that you check it out.





Top 10 IT Issues, 2018: The Remaking of Higher Education – from er.educause.edu by Susan Grajek and the 2017–2018 Educause IT Issues Panel

2018 Top 10 IT Issues

  1. Information Security: Developing a risk-based security strategy that keeps pace with security threats and challenges
  2. Student Success: Managing the system implementations and integrations that support multiple student success initiatives
  3. Institution-wide IT Strategy: Repositioning or reinforcing the role of IT leadership as an integral strategic partner of institutional leadership in achieving institutional missions
  4. Data-enabled Institutional Culture: Using BI and analytics to inform the broad conversation and answer big questions
  5. Student-centered Institution: Understanding and advancing technology’s role in defining the student experience on campus (from applicants to alumni)
  6. Higher Education Affordability: Balancing and rightsizing IT priorities and budget to support IT-enabled institutional efficiencies and innovations in the context of institutional funding realities
  7. IT Staffing and Organizational Models: Ensuring adequate staffing capacity and staff retention in the face of retirements, new sourcing models, growing external competition, rising salaries, and the demands of technology initiatives on both IT and non-IT staff
  8. (tie) Data Management and Governance: Implementing effective institutional data governance practices
  9. (tie) Digital Integrations: Ensuring system interoperability, scalability, and extensibility, as well as data integrity, standards, and governance, across multiple applications and platforms
  10. Change Leadership: Helping institutional constituents (including the IT staff) adapt to the increasing pace of technology change



Also see:

2018 Top 10 IT Issues — from educause.edu


The Remaking of Higher Education
Higher education’s biggest concerns are converging with technology’s greatest capabilities. Evidence is mounting that digital technology is a major differentiator and a key to productivity and success within higher education. The 2018 Top 10 Issues reveal the broader strategic impact of technology on the entire institution.

IT organizations will be focusing on four areas this year:

  • Institutional adaptiveness
  • IT adaptiveness
  • Improved student outcomes
  • Improved decision-making

IT organizations won’t focus on these areas alone. Leaders from across campus are invested collaborators with IT. When information technology brings strategic value, the solutions and the technologies that power them are less important than the people, processes, and culture—which make all the difference in the 2018 Top 10 IT Issues.



Also see:

Strategic IT and the 2018 Top 10 IT Issues — from er.educause.edu by John O’Brien
While those of us in campus IT organizations have long considered the topic of technology as a strategic asset, this year—the 20th anniversary of EDUCAUSE—may well mark a far broader realization of information technology as a strategic asset for higher education.


Still, the landscape and strategic placement of technology has changed. IT advances are constant, not occasional, and technology on campus is ubiquitous and enterprise-critical. Meanwhile, presidents, provosts, and boards — under considerable pressure to improve student success — appreciate that technology offers some of the brightest hopes for moving this hard-to-move needle. For this reason, among others, student success became the foundational focus of the 2017 Top 10 IT Issues. And the 2016 Top 10 IT Issues stressed the degree to which information technology is an institutional differentiator when it comes to not only student success but also affordability, teaching, and research excellence.

It’s one thing, of course, to ask ourselves about the strategic nature of information technology and quite another to find evidence that those outside the IT organization are experiencing this strategic sea change. Yet in recent months we’ve seen exactly that. One example is the American College President Study 2017, from the American Council on Education (ACE). Written by and for college and university presidents, the report advises presidents to attend fully to technology, especially “using analytics functions to make better decisions and leveraging technology to scale out quality, cost-effective best practices.”



From DSC:
I appreciate the following statement — and have often reflected upon its truth:

While those of us in campus IT organizations have long considered the topic of technology as a strategic asset, this year—the 20th anniversary of EDUCAUSE—may well mark a far broader realization of information technology as a strategic asset for higher education.


On a separate note…while obtaining and reviewing data / analytics certainly helps, often that isn’t enough.

Steve Jobs didn’t acquire data or do focus groups before introducing the Macintosh, nor before introducing the iPod, nor before introducing the iPad, nor before introducing the iPhone. But these devices literally changed the world.

Solid vision and innovation are what really count — they bring about the real game-changers.




From DSC:
I have been trying to blog more about learning how to learn — and to provide some more resources on metacognition and the like.

Along these lines — and with permission from the author — the following excerpt is from Quentin Schultze’s solid book, Communicate like a True Leader (pages 35 & 36).  I asked Quin if I could share this excerpt because I think it’s a great strategy to share with students. Whether they know it or not, learning how to learn is THEE key skill these days.

Quin would also emphasize some other items such as listening, attending to reality, communicating effectively with others, and more…but my focus here is on learning strategies.  So I share it in the hope that it will help some of you students out there just as it helped Quin.



During the beginning of my sophomore year, I started reviewing each day’s class notes after classes were over. I soon realized how little I recalled even of that day’s lectures and discussions. It dawned on me that normal note-taking merely gave me the impression that I was learning. I implemented a strategy that revolutionized my learning, launched me successfully into graduate school, helped me become a solid teacher, equipped me to be a productive researcher-writer, and made it possible for me to be an engaging speaker.

I not only reviewed my notes daily. I rewrote them from scratch within a couple of hours of each class meeting. I used my actual course notes as prompts to recall more of the lecture and to help me organize my own reactions to the material. My notes expanded. My retention swelled.

My revised notes became a kind of journal of my dialogue with the instructor and the readings. I integrated into my revised course notes my daily reading notes, reworking them into language that was meaningful to me and preparing to ask the instructor at the next class anything that I was uncertain about. From then on I earned nearly straight A’s with far less cramming for exams.

Moreover, I had begun journaling about my learning — one of the most important communication skills. I became a real learner by discovering how to pay attention to others and myself.

In a broad sense, I learned how to listen.




We Need to Help Our Students Build Solid Online-Based Footprints
I used a tool called VideoScribe to create this piece. The video relays how important it is that our students have solid, sharp, online-based footprints.


We need to help our students build their own online-based footprints



We need to help our students build their own online-based footprints




We need to help our students build their own online-based footprints




Provosts, Pedagogy, and Digital Learning — from er.educause.edu by Kenneth Green, Charles Cook, Laura Niesen de Abruna and Patricia Rogers
Panel members from an EDUCAUSE 2017 Annual Conference session offer insights about the role of provosts and chief academic officers in digital courseware deployment and the challenges of using technology to advance teaching, learning, and student success.


At the EDUCAUSE 2017 Annual Conference, Kenneth C. (Casey) Green moderated a panel discussion with two of the CAOs involved in the Association of Chief Academic Officers (ACAO) Digital Fellows Program and with the principal investigator on the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation grant that created the year-long program. In this session, the three panel members offered their perspectives on campus IT investments, including what the panelists see as working—and what they see as missing—in instructional technology portfolios today.



Green: What about protection and support for faculty—especially young faculty? Often and disproportionately, younger faculty handle the heavy lifting for departments because, being younger, they’re supposed to “do the technology stuff.” Yet, when they do it—and I hear this at all types of institutions—they don’t get credit for the work in terms of review and promotion. The technology work doesn’t count, particularly at four-year colleges and research institutions.2 Young faculty are told: “Wait. Get tenured, get through the hurdle, get over the hump, then do it. Because this will not help your career—even if you’re being pressured to be the lead person on a digital learning initiative for your institution.”



Niesen de Abruna: …Now the CIO has to be a partner with the CAO. Their joint enterprise is to leverage learning in their community and to work together and translate things for one another, acting as partners in terms of trying to benefit from what’s happening in instructional design. It’s very exciting for CIOs and CAOs to have that sort of relationship.



Also see:

  • Insights from Campus Leaders on Current Challenges and Expectations of IT — from er.educause.edu by Kathryn Gates and Joan Cheverie
    IT’s role across a higher education institution is crucial, yet campus leaders typically understand IT challenges and opportunities based largely on their functional roles. Interviews with campus leaders offer insights into these views, as well as how to understand IT more broadly to better serve an institution’s mission.




High-Tech, High Touch: Digital Learning Report and Workbook, 2017 Edition — from Intentional Futures, with thanks to Maria Andersen on Linkedin for her posting therein which was entitled, “Spectrums to Measure Digital Learning
Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

Our work uncovered five high-tech strategies employed by institutions that have successfully implemented digital learning at scale across a range of modalities. The strategies that underscore the high-tech, high-touch connection are customizing through technology, leveraging adaptive courseware, adopting cost-efficient resources, centralizing course development and making data-driven decisions.

Although many of the institutions we studied are employing more than one of these strategies, in this report we have grouped the institutional use cases according to the strategy that has been most critical to achieving digital learning at scale. As institutional leaders make their way through this document, they should watch for strategies that target challenges similar to those they hope to solve. Reading the corresponding case studies will unpack how institutions employed these strategies effectively.

Digital learning in higher education is becoming more ubiquitous as institutions realize its ability to support student success and empower faculty. Growing diversity in student demographics has brought related changes in student needs, prompting institutions to look to technology to better serve their students. Digital courseware gives institutions the ability to build personalized, accessible and engaging content. It enables educators to provide relevant content and interventions for individual students, improve instructional techniques based on data and distribute knowledge to a wider audience (MIT Office of Digital Learning, 2017).

Nationally, the number of students engaged in digital learning is growing rapidly. One driver of this growth is rising demand for distance learning, which often relies on digital learning environments. Distance learning programs saw enrollment increases of approximately 4% between 2015 and 2016, with nearly 30% of higher education students taking at least one digital distance learning course (Allen, 2017). Much of this growth is occurring at the undergraduate level (Allen, 2017). The number of students who take distance learning courses exclusively is growing as well. Between 2012 and 2015, both public and private nonprofit institutions saw an increase in students taking only distance courses, although private, for-profit institutions have seen a decrease (Allen, 2017).








How to be an ed tech futurist — from campustechnology.com by Bryan Alexander
While no one can predict the future, these forecasting methods will help you anticipate trends and spur more collaborative thinking.


Some of the forecasting methods Bryan mentions are:

  • Trend analysis
  • Environmental scanning
  • Scenarios
  • Science fiction





From DSC:
I greatly appreciate the work that Bryan does — the topics that he chooses to write about, his analyses, comments, and questions are often thought-provoking. I couldn’t agree more with Bryan’s assertion that forecasting needs to become more realized/practiced within higher education. This is especially true given the exponential rate of change that many societies throughout the globe are now experiencing.

We need to be pulse-checking a variety of landscapes out there, to identify and put significant trends, forces, and emerging technologies on our radars. The strategy of identifying potential scenarios – and then developing responses to those potential scenarios — is very wise.














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