Exploring The Impact On Education Of The Tech World In 2022

Emerging Tech In Education: The New Demands
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Summary: Next year is destined to bring a preview of new technological capabilities and nearly continuous advancement of existing ones. The impact this brings will likely be rather abrupt changes to how we live and work. We need to focus on becoming more effective at increasing our competency in what’s new.

New Demands On Education From Emerging Tech

The world’s education infrastructure must prepare for the 2022 infusion of new technology. As new technologies enter and become more prevalent in our daily lives, the need to update the skill set of the global workforce will increase. This demands the continuous infusion of the new curriculum throughout the world’s educational systems as well as throughout our ongoing professional development programs. A review of over a dozen rapidly advancing technologies identified a few that will stand out next year. Here are the 5 technologies with the greatest potential contribution to change in 2022:

  1. Artificial intelligence (AI)—also included is machine learning (ML)
  2. Big data
  3. Internet of Things (IoT)
  4. Robotics
  5. 3D printing

Combined, these 5 areas of technology have a 2022 global market estimate of $450 billion. This sizeable of a projected 2022 global market works to illustrate the expansive nature of the uses of these 5 technologies. As such, that increases the need for applicable, instructional programs, training, and continuing education. This is necessary for the existing workforce as well as those preparing for the workforce of the future. It has become clear: These 5 emerging technologies' impact on some industries will bring about "step changes," while others will experience a vertically steep, rather abrupt, line of change. Either way, brisk action is now needed. Some now believe some of our core economic principles need to shift to realign with the supply and demand of emerging technological capabilities.

Insight: One interesting observation is that artificial intelligence and big data are being fed by the other 4 technologies. To a lesser extent, the other technologies feed and feed off one another as well.

The global science and technology world has entered a multi-year period of advancement that is far different than any we have seen in history. Not just are multiple technologies rising at the same time; in many cases, they feed and feed off each other. This combines to create a period of significant change in the world, in which we live and work. Bringing the global population up to speed and aware of the changes brought about by emerging technologies is now an essential task for educators. Interesting data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics recently came out. They found that since the coronavirus outbreak began, strong growth for many STEM occupations in the United States took place.

Not surprisingly, they included epidemiologists, medical scientists, biochemists, biophysicists, and biological technicians. However, in this case, "prompt," supportive action will likely take years for students to get the education to meet the current requirements of those positions. Will current enrollment levels and the existing education system be able to meet these needs? That is the big concern. Few people would argue against this and other current technological changes receiving our immediate attention.

Insight: One government metric showed that of the 1.8 million bachelor's degrees awarded in 2015–16, there were only about 331,000 (18%) in STEM fields.

Alarms are going off! In June 2021, Forbes published an article that stated: "The tech talent war has no end in sight." Then, in September 2021, ZDNet published an article saying, "The shortage of tech workers is about to become an even bigger problem for everyone." A recent Gartner survey determined that "IT executives see the talent shortage as the most significant barrier to 64% of emerging technologies, compared with just 4% in 2020." Now, that is a sizeable and rapidly growing issue. The problem does not exist just in the United States. It is a shortage of qualified, technical talent worldwide. Data Tech pulled it all together in a recent article. They wrote, "Worldwide, there is a global talent shortage of around 40 million skilled workers. If left unattended, companies risk losing more than $8.4 trillion in unrealized revenue by 2030." The $8.4 trillion figure is far greater than Worldometer’s report on GDP numbers for all but two countries: the United States and China.

There does not seem to be a quick and easy solution to this large and growing problem. Attracting an increased percentage of students into STEM education is a growing economic issue to be sure. It appears that a problem with this degree of significance should be receiving much more attention than it is currently. An increase is needed now!

Insight: Another factor to consider: A 2019 survey by the Morrison Institute, at Arizona State University stated: "40% of administrators, say that they have the most difficulty filling math teaching positions."

Emerging technology is the language of transformation. With all of this going on and all that has been said, who is responsible for addressing the shortage of STEM educators? Who is responsible for creating and updating the STEM curriculum to better support the technologies that have begun to emerge? Once updated, who will and how will it be kept up-to-date given the current and projected pace of advancement? Finally, how can the STEM student base be grown to meet the increasing need? Taking a step back, it is clear that the entire tech talent pipeline must be enhanced if we expect to respond to the current and future global needs. With that said, where do we really stand when it comes to building a strong tech talent pipeline that is so important for everyone? Clearly, there is a lot going on in this subject area. But it does not seem to be enough to adequately address the current or future problem from beginning to end.