The past 12 months have provided us with incredible insight into the future of technology. By seeing how we had to adjust our lives due to an unprecedented level of disruption and change, we can begin to forecast what will continue to evolve over the coming decade.
Fundamentally, the more things change the more they stay the same. And, that truism has never been more applicable than it has with technology. During the past year, technology played an outsized role in our lives allowing us to safely manage through a global health crisis that would have been impossible without the high level of advances technology has made possible.
However, technology is not running at peak performance. Instead, what we have learned is that there are great opportunities for improvement. For those who are interested in making an outsized impact, there has never been a better time to jump in and learn how to code and build with technology. In fact, learning computational thinking could be the best investment one can make in the personal development of the next generation.
Virtual Learning Will Improve
Depending on your professional career, many of us have utilized videoconferencing in one form or another due to colleagues or business partners who we needed to connect with in different geographies for many years. While our kids had been exposed to technology since birth, they had never truly had to utilize videoconferencing platforms as their primary modality for learning.
As a result, we saw how far behind technology is when it comes to synchronous learning. From Khan Academy to YouTube, there are certainly tons of asynchronous options. However, to directly engage kids the current platforms will need to improve dramatically.
While we will eventually get the content part of the learning right, one of the biggest opportunities for remote learning will be in how to engage kids with their instructors and each other. We know that the internet can be used to deliver content. However, what we still need to demonstrate is that we can create a virtual environment that is as engaging as in-person learning.
Video Gaming Communities Continued Connection
Unlike traditional education platforms, gaming platforms were already ahead of the curve when it comes to community engagement. During the past several months, gaming provided an outlet for players to interact, have fun, and de-stress. The quality and variety of games was already near an all-time high prior to 2020.
The big difference now is that those who may have given up gaming due to personal or professional responsibilities have now returned. Instead of just the next generation dominating gaming platforms, you have the original players who are now enjoying playing with their kids. This is setting up a multi-decade bullish trend for gaming where grandparents, parents and kids are all having fun playing with each other.
Similar to the issue that gaming has constantly battled is the quality of inclusiveness for all players, there has never been a bigger incentive for game makers to get this right. If they are able to bring the entire community of players under a big tent, we will see continued growth from those who may have traditionally believed that gaming was not welcoming for them.
Mobile Applications Reign Supreme
From grocery ordering to restaurant takeout and everything in between, mobile applications are experiencing an unprecedented cycle of engagement. When technology companies placed powerful mini computers in our hands, the resulting reliance on these platforms to manage larger and larger portions of our lives was predictable.
However, simply having a mobile application is a baseline. What will really drive dominance going forward is those applications that remove friction and make things easier for users. For example, Domino’s Pizza has a tracker that allows you to see when your pizza is ordered, when it enters the oven and when it is ready. By providing transparency into the process by connecting their technology systems in store to a mobile application, Domino’s is a providing a bespoke experience at scale.
Look for companies in all industries to invest in these types of experiences for their customers. Those who have mobile applications that are not considered useful will see declining share of screen as customers will increasingly flock to those applications that make their lives easier.
For the balance of this decade, we are going to see a rapid explosion of how technology is used in our daily lives. From education technology to video games and mobile applications, those who can harness the power of technology will enjoy professional success. While it may seem like it is too late to build your computational thinking muscle, the reality is that the potential of technology to change everything is just getting started. Since technology fundamentally exists to solve a variety of problems, learning how it does this is extremely applicable regardless of when you get started. While there are some kids who have been introduced to these foundational concepts, there are still not yet enough who are learning about the world changing potential of technology. During the 2020’s, let’s make sure we are preparing all learners for success in our technology-baed economy.