Top EdTech Trends for 2014One thing that is constant in EdTech is change, and this change keeps on happening rapidly. Trends in EdTech keep on altering and evolving with time

and as we approach the New Year let’s look at what EdTech trends we should expect this coming year.

Here’s the EdTech trend line for the coming year, 2014:

Bring Your Own Device: A large number of schools have adopted the BYOD approach for learning and have experienced huge improvement in student engagement and overall learning outcomes. The act of student using his/her own device own device for learning has proven to increase productivity. Tablet computing has accelerated the pace of BYOD, especially in schools, where these smaller and less expensive devices are seen as a better option over bulky laptops. BYOD usage is largely expected to grow in the time to come. It brings student-computer access closer to the 1:1 program and schools believe they can reduce expenditure costs by not having to furnish computers.

Social Media as a Teaching and Learning Tool: Social media platforms will continue to expand as teachers are keen on embracing instructional practices that provide students with more authentic opportunities to engage with experts, provide feedback to one another or collaborate with peers around the world all within a safe and secured environment. Social media expands learning beyond the school day with content and meaningful interactions on specific topics. It can be a powerful tool to reinforce learning, develop effective communication skills, and provide career and life skills to use in the 21st century. It is also of vital use to educators who are using it for professional development and to become connected through PLNs (Personal Learning Networks).

Digital Badges: It is expected that in 2014, we will start to see progressive school districts move to a badge system for professional development. This concept acknowledges that learning happens beyond the traditional classroom. Badging validates the importance of after-school programs and other informal learning opportunities. Gamification requires building in easy-to-reach incentives and badges facilitate this. By using such reward and motivator elements like badges, we can keep students motivated and offer them a method to recognize each other to build personal and learning connections.

Open Educational Resources: OERs are very much embedded in the daily culture of digital and blended learning. They have been widely accepted as resources for K-12 education. Educators can discover a wealth of such adaptable resources to enhance their educational practices, therefore laying the foundation for the trend destined to grow. OERs are a conduit to materials that enrich and educate students and learning.

iPads: iPads will remain hot for 2014, especially as Apple moves to a more education-friendly iOS in the near future, allowing for easier back-end management than previously available. The have a lot of advantage with their critical mass and number of learning programs which allows teachers to find appropriate resources for their students. The real value in iPads is their enormous quantity and variety of inexpensive and free apps that run on them. They are exquisitely mobile and personal and hence are being hugely adopted for personalized learning.

Learning Management System: Blended and cyber learning continue to gain a stronghold and are rising in trend owing to resources like Schoology, Blackboard, Moodle, Edmodo and more. LMSs are clearly growing as the base component of mobile learning tools, where students can access resources that a teacher provides and share resources that they find and the knowledge they build. The effective use of LMS technology facilitates the creation of flipped classrooms. An LMS can also be used to connect parents to their child’s learning, assist in reviewing materials at home, be part of interactive forums and more to extend learning opportunities.

Learning Analytics: The implementation of value-added metrics calls for the need to compile and analyze data for informed decision-making. The growth of learning analytics is being spurred by the rise in online learning, huge improvements in computing power, increase in student data, the emphasis on accountability and the desire to provide personalized learning for students. Learning analytics address the need for collection of student information and make administrators proactive in educating and informing parents and community members about how it will be used to support and improve learning.

Game-Based Learning: Games posing on learning adventures can positively impact problem-solving skills, motivation and engagement. Game-Based activities when reinforced with classroom activities and linked to the actual instructional content can fortify and sustain learning goals. Due to the proliferation of tablets and smartphones, game-play has become a portable activity. The gamification of education is gaining support among researches and educators who recognize that effectively designed games can stimulate large gains in productivity and creativity among learners.

These EdTech trends have been remarkably successful till yet and are expected to continue evolving and benefiting EdTech in the upcoming year as well. How do you plan to utilize such instructional technology ahead? Share your views in the Comment Box.

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Photo Credit: HTSABO

About the Author
Author: Saomya Saxena
Educational technology blogger, loves to research and write about tools and tips for educators on how to integrate technology into everyday instruction creatively and effectively. Fond of reading and writing.

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