What Could The Next Big Thing In Technology Be?

One larger thread in the conversations I have been in about the future of Apple without Steve Jobs centers on “what will the next big thing in technology be?” Jobs was responsible for so many game changers through the years that it is hard to imagine the technology world without him. But to be honest, there have been many game changers through the years from many non-Apple companies.

Will the next big thing be a fundamental re-design of a the phone as we know it? Tech crunch has an interesting article on a bendable phone that is controlled by kinetic movements as much as touch. An interesting concept even if you hate the shape (which some seem to – I kind of like it). Some think the phone will also become implanted in a pair pf glasses, with an interface that virtually floats in front of your eyes.

The bigger concept to realize is that the iPhone is not going to be the last major re-think of cell phones as we know them. Computers themselves may one day “disappear” as they become so small that we no longer notice their presence – just their interface.

I’m still thinking that 3-D printing will be a major game changer in ways that we can’t image yet. Think of how it could change online learning if you can email actual physical objects. Even face-to-face learning could be greatly enhanced by the ability to print objects. A spontaneous question from a student could be examined in a matter of minutes rather than waiting until the next day (after the teacher has had time to go home and find what is needed to answer the question).

Or will the mysterious Google X lab come up with something so crazy that we can’t even imagine the possibilities?

I still think there is also great potential in virtual worlds. At some point in the near future, some one will crack the interface issues and steep learning curve that Second Life is infamous for and we’ll have Star Trek holodecks before you know it.

The times they are a-changin’…

Matt Crosslin
Matt is currently the Learning Innovation Coordinator with the UT Arlington LINK Research Lab. His research focuses on Learning Theory, Innovation, and learner empowerment. Matt holds a Ph.D. in Learning Technologies from the University of North Texas, a Master of Education in Educational Technology from UT Brownsville, and a Bachelors of Science in Education from Baylor University. His research interests include instructional design, learning pathways, sociocultural theory, heutagogy, virtual reality, and open networked learning. He has a background in instructional design and teaching at both the secondary and university levels and has been an active blogger and conference presenter. He also enjoys networking and collaborative efforts involving faculty, students, administration, and anyone involved in the education process.

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