I have been exploring Augmented Reality as a context/system for learning. With ubiquitous internet (information), accessibility of powerful mobile devices (means to access information), and innovations in interaction methods including physical gestures and the ability to use brain activity to control computers (ability to interact with information), learning need not be tied to place and time.
The use of sensors to feed our devices environmental information enables more targeted responses from our devices that considers the user’s time, space, activity, plans, interests, and needs. Experimental semiotics (Iizuka, 2012) is a field of study seeking to train computers to respond to user’s non-verbal input, such as intellectual interests, emotional state. In this way, computers will make inferences and decisions based on a more holistic appraisal of the user’s state.
It isn’t hard to imagine a completely individualized program of study delivered just-in-time in authentic contexts. Based on prior assessments, the device is aware of an individual’s learning needs and can recognize learning opportunities tied to time and space. It delivers content, offers engagement opportunities, and assesses the quality of the learner’s responses. The challenge is to create a sequence of interconnected curricula that is more closely indexed to the physical world such that a computer could recognize and illustratively overlay learning material on the user's experiences through a device or interactive glass. Learning takes place not in classrooms, but in the world as we go about our business at work or play, alone or with others, wherever we might be.
Distance education, I predict, will be the norm rather than the exception as we harness (unleash?) the affordances of emerging technologies.
Iizuka, H., Marocco, D., Ando, H., & Maeda, T. (2012, March 4-8). Turn-taking supports humanlikeness and communication in perceptual crossing experiments — Toward developing human-like communicable interface devices. Virtual Reality Short Papers and Posters (VRW), 2012 IEEE (pp. 1-4). Orange County: IEEE. Retrieved from http://ieeexplore.ieee.org/stamp/stamp.jsp?tp=&arnumber=6180953&isnumber=6180843