(Looking Back and Looking Forward takes look at the articles and posts I found interesting from the previous week, along with reflections about how the trends they point to might shape my thinking about education and technology.)

I remember a session on the future of technology at the 2007 SXSW Interactive conference where someone from the audience asked the panel members about the future of privacy and, more specifically, how future generations would or would not value privacy.

One of the panelists responded that, as with many things, the general public was likely to move from one extreme to the other when it comes to privacy. In that current world (2007) people, particularly young people were sharing personal data that previous generations (the not-so-young generation) would never have shared. One possible future result of this over-sharing, the panelist reasoned, could be a pendulum swing to the other extreme, where social networks were entirely local and personal and where anonymity and privacy were highly valued.

While one might argue that cryptocurrencies and crypto technology are one part of the foundation for that privacy-first future, there are other cultural variables at play here. Take, for example, the newish social media platform BeReal

Unlike Instagram or VSCO, BeReal allows users to post just once at a random time of day. That time changes each day, but every BeReal user gets the notification at the same time, depending on their time zone (right now, American and European time zones are the only ones available).

Once you get the BeReal notification, you have two minutes to post one picture of yourself and one of your surroundings. (You’re the one pressing the button to take the photo, and you get to decide whether to post it or not.) You can comment on friends’ posts or react with “RealMojis” (selfies imitating emojis), but there are no likes. If you post late so you can share your fancy dinner reservation or cool makeup look, the app punishes you by tagging your photo with a note about how much later you posted. BeReal also discourages lurking. You can’t see anyone else’s BeReal of the day until you post your own.

What? No time to stage photos, frame your best self (and narrative), and be superficially profound or artistic? Just a snapshot of who you are at a particular moment?

If you’re like me, the very idea of BeReal makes you a little less exhausted, which beyond the obvious meaning of the app’s title, is much of the point I think. 

Maybe, just maybe, its easier and more relaxing to be your “real” self than your “best” self  (as in staged and artificial).

Now, imagine you are a young child of today whose parents are chronicling your every move and moment on social media. And imagine that time passes and you finally reach the age of your own adulthood. You now have the choice of either continuing to garner attention by sharing everything about your life and the lives of your family members or going in an entirely different direction. Toward a future that one that is smaller and much less visible, one that eschews the need to need for public attention. 

Imagine a future in which no one outside your real and local community knows what you look like, where you live, how great you are, or how you’re feeling in every moment.

If you can, imagine a future that is much more private and much less exhausting.

Further Reading

Higher Education

Skilled trade programs are booming after college enrollment dropped in the pandemic

The Key Podcast | Ep. 73: HBCUs Team Up to Go Digital

CUNY pumps $8M into ‘in-house OPM’

Public research universities adopted high-tuition, high-aid model, study finds

North Carolina expands its $500 tuition program. Will it keep paying for it?

Public opinion of higher education takes a turn for the better

Higher ed needs a Pell-Serving Institution designation

K-12 Education

Work Instead of School: A Better Approach for Our Lowest-Performing Students?

SEL Games: Learning Life Skills Through Games

Preparing Kids With Real-World Skills via Ed-Tech

Education, Learning Design, and Technology

Stephen’s Web ~ Pedagogy vs. Andragogy: What’s the Difference?

Open Badges is now on the plateau of productivity

Cornerstone Acquires EdCast: Corporate Learning Market Disrupted

Cornerstone Announces EdCast Acquisition

Perlego raises $50M to build out its vision of being the ‘Spotify for textbooks’

Open Textbook Library Reaches 1,000 Titles

Stephen’s Web ~ College students often don’t know when they’re learning

PROOF POINTS: College students often don’t know when they’re learning

What Are Digital Twins and How Can Higher Ed Use Them?

6x6x2 Open Pedagogy 1980s Style

When Students Prepare to Teach, They Learn Better. Here’s Why

PROOF POINTS: College students often don’t know when they’re learning

The Extended Mind: The Power of Thinking Outside the Brain by Annie Murphy Paul

Open Education Week 2022 Lightning Talks: Recordings and Slides 

Workforce

Skilled trade programs are booming after college enrollment dropped in the pandemic

Work Instead of School: A Better Approach for Our Lowest-Performing Students?

Cornerstone Acquires EdCast: Corporate Learning Market Disrupted

Cornerstone Announces EdCast Acquisition

What Are Durable Skills And Why Is There A Shortage?

from training to learning to performance

The Great Resignation: Why workers say they quit jobs in 2021

Technology and Technology Trends

The Latecomer’s Guide to Crypto

The one true streaming service

Social media app BeReal: College students love it 

Starbucks will pilot EV charging stations in its parking lots

From Word Docs in a File to a Non-Linear Visual Knowledge Base using Markdown

A brief tour of the PDP-11, the most influential minicomputer of all time

Exit Planning for Modern Leaders: How to Determine Your Company’s Worth