Ed Tech Trends & Predictions: Right From the Horse's Mouth

Technology has already been responsible for various advances in education and that trend is accelerating each year.

EdTechReview Team had discussions with school educators and leaders to know the pulse of the education community. We have compiled those interactions for you to know the ed tech trends that are impacting and will impact educational institutions and leaders right from the horse's mouth: The Real Practitioners.

Ashok Pandey, Principal, Ahlcon International School, New Delhi sees the need of Wifi-enabled/Internet connected Schools.

In an online interview he said that, "Individualized learning, broadening the access of educational base and digitization of education will be the major challenges. Concepts such as “Digital Aristotle”, “Social media” for the “Social good”, extensive use of Web 2.0 technologies and learning management systems will drive the way teaching –learning will take place. So I see EdTech playing a key role in imparting education in the years to come. India as a country has a lot of catching-up to do. Like we launched – “Operation Blackboard” in the eighties, “Operation Broadband” should be the mantra in the year 2015."

Also he added that one cannot undervalue the power of Professional Development of Teachers for Technology Integration. In his words, "Capacity building of teachers, their ability to embrace technology and their motivation (version 3.0) to match up to the leaner’s aspirations will not only define the teachers –taught relationship but will also firmly establish the relevance of the teachers. As a moocarian I see the huge potential of MOOCs and online courses in empowering teachers. Are they upto it? It is believed that Universities and the institutions of higher education have the mandate to set the educational agenda. They have largely supervised over the alignment of market forces without being held accountable. Wide recognition of the need for competency-based education and soft-skills as an integral component of any educational experience has brought school education in the forefront. Meteoric rise and fall of jobs has created a new churning. E-education, E-governance, E-commerce are the new buzz words. Hopefully it will result in a policy –shift in favor of primary-secondary education, funding and technology."

Avnita Bir, Director-Principal at R.N Podar School mentioned Personalized Learning as the New Paradigm.

She quoted that there is an increased focus on the learner and learning outcomes. All other aspects of education like technology, curriculum, or instruction will revolve around the learner making learning personal for himself/herself. She added that "Schools will have to prove themselves on different set of parameters as the system moves from being teacher-centered to learner-centered. Learners will have to take ownership and drive their own learning. Schools will have to build an educational infrastructure that supports learner-centered environments."

After pioneering the flipped classroom model in her school, she believes that blended/flipped learning will see more acceptance in teaching-learning especially in countries like India. 

Beth Holland current working with EdTechTeacher who has over 15 years of educational experience shared two major predictions with focus on making the most of the tools in hand.

Prediction #1: From 1:1 to 2:1 to 3:1....

I think one of the trends that we will start to see is that schools recognize that adults no longer live in a 1:1 world. In a school setting, the focus has been on every student having a single device. However, most adults have access to a smart phone, a computer, maybe a tablet (or two). It's no longer about maximizing a single device but how to leverage an ecosystem in order to support teaching and learning. As school infrastructures catch up, it may be more about helping students to take advantage of all the tools that they can access.

Prediction #2: Bring Your Own Cloud

While BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) has been touted as the next trend, what may actually support schools even more is the concept of Bring Your Own Cloud. With a multitude of devices entering into the classroom, teachers often struggle to figure out how to address the different tools, apps, and tendencies of each one. However, it may be that the focus shifts towards a standardization of cloud platforms. For example, with the rise of Google Apps for Education, schools may say that students can bring any device but they have to work within the GAFE ecosystem. The same could be said for embracing iCloud or Office 365. Once this decision has been made, it becomes more of a focus on the connection rather than the device - making it easier for the teachers and providing a general framework for the students.

Growth in Formative Assessment Tools..Continued...


Harry Dickens who is an ‎Instructional Technology Education Consultant predicts Growth in Formative Assessment Tools.

With his experience in working with several school districts in my home state of Arkansas, they are looking at assessment tools that immolated any parts of the PARCC assessment. Harry says, "Of course we wanted these tools to be as free as possible. Well there are not to many inexpensive ways of getting what you want or need. I have been working with teacher to create their own, instead of buy something that will be sitting on à shelf in three years. My tools for making this happen are Edulastic, BookWidgets and iBooks. The only item with a cost beside the the device is BookWidgets at $50.00 yearly for an individual teacher. The group of developers have worked really hard to make this an amazing tool for formative assessment and summarize assessments. If you are an iBook creator please look into creating you own interactive book with Bookwidgets as part of the book. Only down fall the book can only be read and used with interactivity on iPads and MAC computers. If you have to use device like Personal computers and Chromebooks take a close look at Edulastics. Check out the reviews and start creating some amazing assessments that closely immolated practice PARCC assessment items. These assessments items work well on all devices. My goal this year is too really look more at two amazing tool. They are Hype and Activity Spot by Frolic."

In order to get views from companies in the edtech space, we tried to find out what Justin Beck, VP of Global Education for Kaltura had in mind.

He was clear with his thoughts on MOOCs as a marketing strategy, adaptive learning platform consolidation and accessibility. Read the 3 points he shared in detail:

Re-Evaluating the Success Criteria of MOOCs

“While much of 2014 we heard that MOOCs were dying (or that it was all hype and promise unfulfilled), perhaps the real thing the industry missed was a shift in perspective.  Instead of focusing on 5-10% completion rates of MOOCS as failure,  what if in 2015 we view MOOCs as something universities integrate into their comprehensive marketing strategy, namely as one of the world’s greatest content marketing approaches in higher-ed history. If we view from this perspective, MOOCs become THE marketing success story in higher-ed in 2015 and/or the comeback story.”

Adaptive Learning Platform Consolidation in the Industry

“With over 50 firms developing “adaptive/personalized” learning platforms, the market is ripe in 2015 for consolidation, acquisition.  Even though there are leaders in the field such as Knewton, Adapt Courseware and LoudCloud, there are too many options for institutions to evaluate, making the “tyranny of choice” a real issue for a campus CTO.  Moreover, the VC/funding for ed-tech is still vibrant in the sector, so expect some of the larger adaptive firm companies to gobble up the smaller ones and/or some of them to no longer be in business.”

Accessibility  

“2015 will be the year that all ed-tech companies and institutions need to start addressing accessibility issues head on. All will need to follow the mantra that Accessible Design is simply Great Design, as opening up opportunities for all learners makes for a more collaborative and impactful learning environment.”

How much do you agree with these Ed Leaders? Share your views with us in the comment box.

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About the Author
Author: Utkarsh LokeshWebsite: https://twitter.com/utkarshlokesh
Passionate about community building and lifelong learning. Working to improve education by advocating 21st Century Learning and the effective use of Technology.
21st Century Education Advocate, EdTech Enthusiast, Co-Founder and CEO, EdTechReview

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