With only a few business days left in 2022, I’ve been looking back at all that’s happened this year. It’s a cliché, I know, but there’s clarity in reflection and I’ve found clarity can be a powerful force toward setting goals. Here at Nectir, we borrowed from Spotify’s “Wrapped” concept and brought together some of the year’s happenings:
This year was characterized by growth. We took international flights, expanded promotions, and began growing the team as we brought on new users, found new bugs to be squashed, and met new people at conferences around the country. What an exhilarating experience! It’s been a joy to meet some of you in person and hear your stories. Shout outs to: Dr. Gina Solano at SUNY Oneonta for her amazing advocacy of chat tools at her campus; Sable Cantus at Mt. San Antonio College for exploring new approaches to mathematics; and Nathan Atkinson at Grand Valley Tutor for re-envisioning what tutoring can look like for students and parents. You all have been incredible collaborators and we look forward to working with you in 2023!
I’d also like to put these stories into perspective: this was a year like no other. Educators and students are burned through after two years of uncertainty and languishing. EdTech went from a booming bull run galvanized by the pandemic to a burst-bubble facing a looming economic recession. TechCrunch’s Natasha Mascarenhas makes the point that needs across the sector are uniquely human and non-techie right now. Gina, Sable, and Nathan were touchstones in that regard, and we are grateful for their insights. This landscape is in part why moving forward we are focusing our efforts on underrepresented communities and amplifying the work already being done to cut through the uncertainty and stagnation.
Shifting from the rearview mirror to look at the road ahead, EdTech’s newest entrant may change the game in 2023. A breakthrough in artificial intelligence has brought forth ChatGPT — a free, new-age conversational AI capable of engaging in human-like conversation and even generating original content. It’s the second part that’s likely to revolutionize education — I’ve already seen ChatGPT spit out fully-written papers causing some institutions to call for a ban of the site on their school network. That said, I’ve also seen educators embrace this as an opportunity to teach critical thinking and research skills by inviting students to “write” an essay with ChatGPT and then focus on adding the citations. Regardless of approach, ChatGPT will force innovation in educational spaces and bring up questions about the role of AI in education. In EdTech, ChatGPT may become an idiosyncratic copilot or automation tool — time will tell. If you want to learn more about what this might mean for higher ed, check out Dr. Bryan Alexander’s Future Trends Forum wherein he brings a community together to dive into this and other trends affecting the future of education.
As we close the year, thanks for being here and thanks for your work to move education forward. May 2023 bring joy to you and yours. We’ll see you next year!