Are you or your students wearing your Apple Watches to school, and if so, are you using them as part of your curriculum? What about the use of digital textbooks, adaptive learning, collaboration with other schools or flipped classrooms? These technologies represent some of the cutting edge tools and trends in education. While some are being implemented now, regular use of others is on the (not to distant) horizon. We’ve scanned the gurus’ lists and found the top technologies that educators need to prepare for in the next one to five years.
As we look at the top new trends in edtech, we notice some common themes:
Individualism– much of the new technology is for one person and is customized to that person’s preferences, to be used when convenient.
1. Wearable tech—smart watches and Google Glass show promise for new ways of learning, with smart watches getting the nod because its motion and pressure sensors can make it more applicable for activity-based learning.
2. BYOD—Bring your own device will become more commonplace as kids bring their own smart phones and tablets to school. Corporations found that employees who have grown used to having access to technology at home, expect the same level of sophistication at work. Students will begin to feel the same, and if their schools can’t supply the technology, the students will want to use their own.
3. Mobile learning—By the end of 2015, the mobile market is expected to have 3.4 billion users (that’s one in every two people on the planet). Mobile traffic on the Internet is set to surpass desktop traffic, and mobile education apps are the second most popular type of apps downloaded on iTunes.
Shared information—collaboration is key, whether it is with increased reliance on social media and an opportunity for more openness.
4. Cloud computing—More schools will use cloud-based tools like Google Classroom, making it easier for students and teachers to have access to information wherever they are, on whatever device they have.
5. Collaborative—Using social media to research and share information becomes the standard, not just internally but also across schools and universities.
6. Openness—Barriers to education weaken, whether through open access journals, digital textbooks and other open content, open source software or MOOCs—providing more people a chance to have access and influence education.
Hands on—even as education becomes more digitalized, there will be a need for hands-on learning.
7. 3D Printing—This allows students to transfer digital information to reality. At some point, 3D labs might be created the same way today’s computer labs are. Still at the early stages of development, 3D Printing is still 4-5 years away from widespread adoption. Other technologies that give students a hands-on tie-in to the digital world include products like littleBits electronics, which allow users to build with logic modules or programs like EdTechTitans, which teaches students to repair technological devices on campus as part of the curriculum.
Flexibility—the learning process must be adapted to meet the needs of students.
8. Flipped, blended learning—As teachers look for ways to differentiate learning, flipped and blended learning will become more commonly used in the next year. This approach allows students to be responsible for initiating learning, and gives teachers more opportunity to spend time on areas that are challenging to students.
9. Online learning—Even beyond MOOCs, students will look for the flexibility that online learning offers, both traditional and non-traditional students. And, as the number of online learners grows, organizations will begin to create more structured programs and measure their effectiveness.
10. Gamification—Learners remember 90% of what they do, even in a simulation, versus remembering just 10% of what they read or 20% of what they hear. Gamification increases the lesson’s stickiness and for that reason, is expected to increase in scope in the next two to three years.
These are exciting times for edtech. And as new technologies continue to emerge, it’s important to evaluate them to see which ones provide the best tools for your individual learning community.