By Lani Aquino
As any new year begins, there is lots of excitement and anticipation about what big ideas and concepts will unfold or be enhanced. eSchool Media’s Annual Trends Report shines a light on what experts and industry in the K-12 and higher education realms see as the biggest movements and changes to look for in regard to edtech for 2018. The 25 trends shared in the report range from early childhood initiatives to higher ed innovations with lots of impactful elements in between. These are 5 of the trends that teachers, students, and other education stakeholders can begin to embrace and integrate ASAP.
1. Edtech Services
A large concern with any trend or transformation often comes down to the budgetary resources available to fund it. Ricky Ye, PhD expects that edtech companies will start to shift toward offering services as opposed to pedaling products. When budgets can’t handle widespread purchases of projectors, devices, software, etc., they may be able to stretch enough to secure some content and curriculum ideas that teachers can put to immediate use. This removes the issue of high-cost bells and whistles that come with equipment and maintenance expenditures and replaces it with ideas and concepts that teachers can integrate into existing resources to bring new life to tired activities.
2. Expanding Usage of AR
A top trend in 2017 was the usage of AR. New windows and worlds are opened with this technological innovation. As the usage of AR grows, Lisa Dunnigan expects this immersive technology to move beyond the STEM realm and into more widespread usage with struggling learners. The hands-on and interactive elements of AR make it a perfect fit for ELL and Title I students. As learning comes to life before their eyes, students that often encounter roadblocks will become more engaged with the content to move past the bumps and immerse themselves in learning.
3. STEM PD
For students in today’s classrooms, the digital world isn’t innovative; it’s their normal. Joachim Horn, founder of SAM Labs, is quick to recognize this and see the need for teachers to make the digital world more engaging within the classroom. His trend expectation is an increase in teacher training around STEM lessons and learning. With students already engaging with numerous devices on a daily basis, merely the usage of technology isn’t the novelty it once was for engagement. By furthering teacher training in the areas of coding and computer science, teachers will be able to fill a need in challenging students’ digital interests.
4. Evolution of Blended Learning
As pedagogical methods gain a large following, they also begin to evolve. Julia Freeland Fisher sees the tech-based strategy of blended learning making some trending changes. As blended learning makes its way into more classrooms, the probability that it becomes a more personalized form of learning is expected to occur. With teachers gaining more comfort practicing this approach, there is likely to be a shift from teacher management of the blended model to an increase in student choice and responsibility. When students are able to determine the pace and even the possible pathway of their learning journey, blended learning evolves into an even more personalized concept.
5. Digital Citizenship Programs
As Director of Instructional Strategy for Schoology, Kellie Ady is no stranger to the increased digital presence in the lives of students. With the widespread usage of devices in both their personal and educational pursuits, it’s of the utmost importance that schools provide digital citizenship programs to ensure proper usage. With an increase in the expectation for students to use personal devices for schoolwork, the 1:1 initiative, and the overall influx of all things digital with learning, formalized training and instruction for digital citizenship is imperative. As the digitization of curriculum also increases, there is simply no way to let the citizenship component fall to the wayside.
Technology within education isn’t a trend; it’s the norm. How technology in education looks will continually evolve and change as tech needs inside and outside of learning evolve and change. As educators work to stay on top of preparing students for the future, these 5 ed tech trends should find their way to the top of the list for integration in 2018.
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