Technology trends for consideration

Paper prepared by Geoffrey Makstutis  (course director CSM) and Patrick Roberts (course director CSM) January 2012

1.           Mobile – the new form factors for mobile and tablet is clearly going to be where things are moving. Already, we are seeing a rapid rise in the use of tablets among our students. All of the material that we use for teaching and learning, via online channels, will need to be designed to accommodate mobile. Ideally, we should be looking at ‘responsive’ web design – which uses CSS and Javascript so that the same content can automatically be reformatted (at the client-end) for the specific device and form-factor.

2.           Open Standards – as mobile and web-based tools become more and more available and demanded by students, we need to ensure that everything we do is accessible regardless of operating system, hardware, network. We need to make sure that all of the tools/systems that we develop/procure are able to receive and ‘transmit’ via open standards. We currently face situations where users of OSX cannot get the same functionality in mail or calendaring as those that use a PC. Or, we are unable to access shared calendar data on mobile devices (because the publishing of iCalendar format data is disabled). Further, we know that our students make great use of Facebook, Twitter, etc. – all of these have ‘open’ API’s which mean we can use (or build) tools that allow us to communicate with students via those channels, as well as our formal channels.

3.           Web-based Tools –  as services such as Google Apps become more sophisticated, the University should consider shifting to these ‘cloud-based’ services rather than continue

to invest heavily in ‘iron’. For example, Google has a very robust SLA for business and education. They can provide much greater server storage capacity (just in terms of email) and it would represent considerable savings, when compared to the costs associated with managing an MSexchange installation (I’ve seen some reports that suggest 50-70% cost reductions on email services alone). In addition, again, our students (and many staff)

are already using these services which provide flexibility, reliability, broad access and ease of use.

4.           Online Learning –  so far, the University has been very limited in the way that it approaches online learning. Given the pressures that the rise in undergraduate fees

may have on recruitment, we need to explore much more flexible (and radical) approaches to learning and teaching. Where there are opportunities to develop new

types of courses that can be delivered, in whole or part, via online/blended learning

we should pursue these.

However, such opportunities will be best services through engagement with the comments above (1-3).

5.           E-Books – again, with the shift toward mobile and tablet, the library services should consider greater expansion into ebooks and electronic journals. There may be cost savings in this, as well as greater mobility and flexibility.

E Book software – simplified programming tools for self publishing in particular text books

Software is a free download from Apple.

6            Programming – this is now becoming part of the default designers skill set

HTML 5, Python, Java, etc.

7            Personal 3d printers –

3D printing is a phrase used to describe the process of creating three dimensional

 objects from digital file using a materials printer, in a manner similar to printing images on paper. The term is most closely associated with additive manufacturing  technology, where an object is created by laying down successive layers of material.[1]  Recently the term is increasingly being used to describe all types of additive manufacturing  processes, or even other types of rapid prototyping  technology.

3d printers are now within the price range of the consumer opening up many possibilities for teaching and learning, new forms of workshop and resource design.

8            Computer Voice recognition applications – SIRI IPhone, voice controlled TV

9            Raspberry Pi computer project producing computers for £18.00

to encourage programming

Widening participation possibilities?

10         Lytro – Light field camera

Article from Fast Company magazine

Lytro’s Pocket-Size Camera Lets You Take Photos You Can Focus Later

‘Forget what you think you know about taking photos. Lytro may change everything. This month, the startup ships its first, eponymous product: a camera that you never have to focus. Just point the spyglass-shaped device and shoot. There’s no need to obsess over the details–you can change the focus and perspective later. Built upon CEO Ren Ng’s research on light fields and optics, the camera, which is free of shutter lag, immediately captures not only the color and intensity of light rays but also their direction. Such data let the user create nearly infinite versions of the scene, adjusting the image on the camera’s touch screen, online, or on a computer, courtesy of Lytro software. “With living pictures,” says Ng, “not only can you share these moments but interact with them.” (From $399,




10         Social media – facebook new tools

Facebook overview

Users can create profiles with photos, lists of personal interests, contact information, and other personal information. Users can communicate with friends and other users through private or public messages and a chat feature. They can also create and join interest groups and “like pages” (called “fan pages” until April 19, 2010), some of which are maintained by organizations as a means of advertising. This is what HSA would do.[79]

Facebook offers high amounts of customisation. Facebook has a number of features with which users may interact. They include the Wall

, a space on every user’s profile page that allows friends to post messages for the user to see;[86]  Pokes , which allows users to send a virtual “poke” to each other (a notification then tells a user that they have been poked);[87]  Photos , where users can upload albums and photos;[88]  and Status , which allows users to inform their friends of their whereabouts and actions.[89]  Depending on privacy settings, anyone who can see a user’s profile can also view that user’s Wall. In July 2007, Facebook began allowing users to post attachments to the Wall, whereas the Wall was previously limited to textual content only.[86]

a News Feed

 which appears on every user’s homepage and highlights information including profile changes, upcoming events, and birthdays of the user’s friends.[90]  

One of the most popular applications on Facebook is the Photos

 application, where users can upload albums and photos.[97]  Facebook allows users to upload an unlimited number of photos, compared with other image hosting services  such as Photobucket  and Flickr , which apply limits to the number of photos that a user is allowed to upload. During the first years, Facebook users were limited to 60 photos per album. As of May 2009, this limit has been increased to 200 photos per album.

Privacy settings can be set for individual albums, limiting the groups of users that can see an album. For example, the privacy of an album can be set so that only the user’s friends can see the album, while the privacy of another album can be set so that all Facebook users can see it. Another feature of the Photos application is the ability to “tag

“, or label, users in a photo. For instance, if a photo contains a user’s friend, then the user can tag the friend in the photo. This sends a notification to the friend that they have been tagged, and provides them a link to see the photo.[102]

Facebook Notes was introduced on August 22, 2006, a blogging feature that allowed tags and embeddable images. Users were later able to import blogs from Xanga

, LiveJournal , Blogger , and other blogging services.[41]  During the week of April 7, 2008, Facebook released a Comet -based[103]  instant messaging  application called “Chat” to several networks,[104]  which allows users to communicate with friends and is similar in functionality to desktop-based instant messengers .

Facebook launched Marketplace

, which lets users post free classified ads.[107]  Marketplace has been compared to Craigslist  by CNET , which points out that the major difference between the two is that listings posted by a user on Marketplace are seen only by users in the same network as that user, whereas listings posted on Craigslist can be seen by anyone.[108]

Facebook Messages service is an email addresses, but it’s not email. The launch of such a feature had been anticipated for some time before the announcement, with some calling it a “Gmail killer”. The system, to be available to all of the Web site’s users, combines text messaging

, instant messaging , emails , and regular messages, and will include privacy settings similar to those of other Facebook services. Codenamed “Project Titan”, Facebook Messages took 15 months to develop.[113] [114]



11         Flux generation  Article from Fast Company Design

This Is Generation Flux: Meet The Pioneers Of The New (And Chaotic) Frontier Of Business

By: Robert Safian

 January 9, 2012

The future of business is pure chaos. Here’s how you can survive–and perhaps

even thrive.


Members of Generation Flux can be any age and in any industry: From left, Raina Kumra, Bob Greenberg, danah boyd, DJ Patil, Pete Cashmore, Beth Comstock, and Baratunde Thurston. | Photo by Brooke Nipar, Styling: Krisana Palma; Grooming: Stephanie Peterson

DJ Patil pulls a 2-foot-long metal bar from his backpack. The contraption, which he calls a “double pendulum,” is hinged in the middle, so it can fold in on itself. Another hinge

on one end is attached to a clamp he secures to the edge of a table. “Now,” he says, holding the bar vertically, at its top, “see if you can predict where this end will go.”

Then he releases it, and the bar begins to swing wildly, circling the spot where it is attached to the table, while also circling in on itself. There is no pattern, no way to predict where it will end up. While it spins and twists with surprising velocity, Patil talks to me about chaos theory. “The important insight,” he notes, “is identifying when things are chaotic and when they’re not.”

In high school, Patil got kicked out of math class for being disruptive. He graduated only by persuading his school administrator to change his F grade in chemistry. He went to junior college because that’s where his girlfriend was going, and signed up for calculus because she had too. He took so long to do his homework, his girlfriend would complain. “It’s not like I’m going to become a mathematician,” he would tell her.

Chaotic disruption is rampant, not simply from the likes of Apple, Facebook, and Google.

Patil, 37, is now an expert in chaos theory, among other mathematical disciplines. He has applied computational science to help the Defense Department with threat assessment and bioweapons containment; he worked for eBay on web security and payment fraud;

he was chief scientist at LinkedIn, before joining venture-capital firm Greylock Partners. But Patil first made a name for himself as a researcher on weather patterns at the University of Maryland: “There are some times,” Patil explains, “when you can predict weather well for the next 15 days. Other times, you can only really forecast a couple

of days. Sometimes you can’t predict the next two hours.”

The business climate, it turns out, is a lot like the weather. And we’ve entered a next-two-hours era. The pace of change in our economy and our culture is accelerating–fueled by global adoption of social, mobile, and other new technologies–and our visibility about the future is declining. From the rise of Facebook to the fall of Blockbuster, from the downgrading of U.S. government debt to the resurgence of Brazil, predicting what will happen next has gotten exponentially harder. Uncertainty has taken hold in boardrooms and cubicles, as executives and workers (employed and unemployed) struggle with core questions: Which competitive advantages have staying power? What skills matter most? How can you weigh risk and opportunity when the fundamentals of your business may change overnight?

When conditions are chaotic, Patil explains, you must apply different techniques. “Command-and-control hierarchical structures are being disintegrated,” says boyd. |


Danah Boyd, 34

Senior Researcher, Microsoft Research

Studied at Brown, MIT Media Lab, and UC Berkeley; named “High Priestess of the Internet” by the Financial Times; has advised Intel, Google, Yahoo, and more; worked on V-Day, a not-for-profit focused on ending violence against women and girls.


“People ask me, ‘Are you afraid you’re going to get fired?’ That’s the whole point: not

to be afraid.”

More »

DJ Patil, 37

Data Scientist, Greylock Partners

Researcher at Los Alamos; Defense Department fellow; virtual librarian for Iraq; web-security architect for eBay; head of data team at LinkedIn, where his team created

People You May Know.


“I don’t have a plan. If you look too far out in the future, you waste your time.”

More »

Look at the global cell-phone business. Just five years ago, three companies controlled 64% of the smartphone market: Nokia, Research in Motion, and Motorola. Today, two different companies are at the top of the industry: Samsung and Apple. This sudden complete swap in the pecking order of a global multibillion-dollar industry is unprecedented. Consider the meteoric rise of Groupon and Zynga, the disruption in advertising and publishing, the advent of mobile ultrasound and other “mHealth” breakthroughs (see “Open Your Mouth And Say ‘Aah!’

). Online-education efforts are eroding our assumptions about what schooling looks like. Cars are becoming rolling, talking, cloud-connected media hubs. In an age where Twitter and other social-media tools play key roles in recasting the political map in the Mideast; where impoverished residents of refugee camps would rather go without food than without their cell phones; where all types of media, from music to TV to movies, are being remade, redefined, defended, and attacked every day in novel ways–there is no question that we are

in a new world.

Any business that ignores these transformations does so at its own peril. Despite recession, currency crises, and tremors of financial instability, the pace of disruption

is roaring ahead. The frictionless spread of information and the expansion of personal, corporate, and global networks have plenty of room to run. And here’s the conundrum: When businesspeople search for the right forecast–the road map and model that will define the next era–no credible long-term picture emerges. There is one certainty, however. The next decade or two will be defined more by fluidity than by any new, settled paradigm; if there is a pattern to all this, it is that there is no pattern. The most valuable insight is that we are, in a critical sense, in a time of chaos.

To thrive in this climate requires a whole new approach, which we’ll outline in the pages that follow. Because some people will thrive. They are the members of Generation Flux. This is less a demographic designation than a psychographic one: What defines GenFlux is a mind-set that embraces instability, that tolerates–and even enjoys–recalibrating careers, business models, and assumptions. Not everyone will join Generation Flux,

but to be successful, businesses and individuals will have to work at it. This is no simple task. The vast bulk of our institutions–educational, corporate, political–are not built for flux. Few traditional career tactics train us for an era where the most important skill is the ability to acquire new skills.

DJ Patil is a GenFluxer. He has worked in academia, in government, in big public companies, and in startups; he is a technologist and a businessman; a teacher and

Extract Paper prepared by Geoffrey Makstutis and Patrick Roberts January 2012

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2 Responses to Technology trends for consideration

  1. Oliver Furlong says:

    thanks for putting this post up. It highlights lots of interesting areas that I also believe are lacking in terms of leadership from one or two parts of the university; why is it then that the UAL lacks the ability to lead from the center in relation to Web Video and related web based technology? I am an AV person and it shocks me how little Video conferencing, how little video streaming occurs, or the complete absence of a central UAL video portal such as i-TunesU, or another home made video portal. Is it because we are a collegiate structure ? Or, is it because our central IT and CLTAD departments are not married in the same way as a department like Oxford University Computing Services runs? Where skilled systems people, programmers, & network people, work alongside those with a keen eye on up-to-date pedagogical developments and teaching and learning practices.
    My view is that we lack the latter, people with good teaching & learning understanding combined with highly developed web programming skills. I believe the UAL has some really great teaching & learning (pedagogic) instructors and researchers.
    Personally I’d like to see more open source exploration, i know you have done a lot with Drupal, but in areas such as Sokai (Open LMS) or Opencast Matterhorn (lecture capture and streaming open source software). I’d also like the UAL to seriously consider a UAL video portal which would include a content streamer. I’m not sure if the ALTO filestore is designed to be this ? I’d love to know if this is what it could become, or is to help create ?
    In an age where increased fee paying students are upon us I’m surprised there isn’t some project to look into offering a lecture capture solution (for students to access online). So many other universities are offering this to their students and have large budgets to help finance this. I’m not sure if the problem is we don’t have the staff, or skills (and I know I certainly don’t), to investigate and research how these technologies could benefit the UAL as a whole ? Financially, some of these solutions only make sense if we work collaboratively across all colleges.
    I wonder if a re-shuffle in IT that merges more with CLTAD type activities will address this? I certainly hope so.
    I’m sorry if this sounds like a long rant. Its been on my mind for quite a while!

    Ollie Furlong
    Learning Content manager at LCF

  2. Pingback: What are the challenges that mean practice needs to change? | UAL digital baseline

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