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7 EdTech Trends You Should Know About

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Technology continues to cause massive changes to learning environments.

EdTech has transformed everything from teacher-student interactions to assistive technologies. And some of the most exciting trends in education technology are making personalized learning possible. As tech and IT costs fall, more schools are investing in these cutting-edge technologies to help their students succeed. Here are seven EdTech trends you need to know about for 2019.

1. Artificial Intelligence

AI is trending in education because it helps teachers identify personalized approaches to instruction. Since AI can “learn” from student inputs on digital tests, quizzes, and worksheets, it can test areas of mastery and weakness. It can then adjust the content and presentation to accommodate those needs. These tasks are common for any instructor, but they’re also time-consuming. Automating these tasks can free up time for teachers to focus on guiding students to their educational goals.

For example, Thinkster Math is a tutoring program that uses machine learning to create personalized learning programs in math. The AI presents math problems and tracks how the student got their answer. The program looks for areas of misunderstanding and places where students have missed steps in their problem-solving. Then it makes suggestions based on that data. The process corrects the student within the context of solving the problem — the most valuable teaching moment. The AI can deliver useful feedback that’s customized for the individual student.

2. Augmented and Virtual Reality

Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) have massive implications for educational instruction and student engagement. Artificial reality brings students to quasi-realistic settings where feedback is instant. As prices continue to drop for AR/VR equipment, schools can invest more in “immersive learning” approaches.

AR has already made its way into the classroom via supplementary textbook materials that add extra dimensions to lesson plans. Students can use tablets and smartphones to access 3D models of dinosaurs and flashcards that interact with their textbooks. These innovations literally bring subjects to life and engage students on a much higher cognitive level than traditional classroom lectures.

3. Game-Based Learning

Games have always been an integral part of learning, but the growth in EdTech and electronic devices in the classroom will drive the popularity of game-based learning. This playful pedagogy uses repetition and goal setting to improve comprehension and retention. Like video games themselves, students move from one level to the next, gaining skills as they go. The key is to create learning challenges easy enough to “win,” but challenging enough to promote learning.

Game-based learning is highly motivating, immersive, and encourages students to learn by doing. Because students are already familiar with games, educational apps that use these approaches will become more critical to personalized and blended learning strategies.

4. Cloud Computing

Cloud computing is already bringing low-cost data storage, software hosting, and connectivity to the business world, and educators are now seeing its benefits for education. Cloud computing broadens where and when students and teachers can access homework. With documents, assignments, and lesson plans stored in the cloud, students can take tests or do homework anywhere there’s an internet connection. Students can access assignments from home during free time, vacation, or during an illness. And teachers can access assignments outside of school settings.

Schools are adopting cloud-based services to relieve students of heavy textbooks and the need for locker storage. And digital libraries are replacing physical ones, saving resources and space. Cloud-hosting software can also save schools IT resources since software is managed and delivered over the internet. No need for server rooms, IT tech, and equipment.

5. Move to Mobile

The move to mobile EdTech is beginning in higher education where almost every student has a smartphone. Like cloud-based computing, mobile’s advantage for education is making learning and resources accessible anywhere, anytime. Another benefit mobile brings is that students can interface with their instructors, institutions, and groups using devices they’re already familiar with.

Schools moving to mobile can also benefit from "Bring Your Own Device" (BYOD) strategies — a growing trend among high school and post-secondary education. Teachers can choose from a variety of BYOD learning apps for note taking and collaborative writing projects. And students can work from devices they know how to use.

6. Online Social Networking & Learning

While social networks and education seem at cross-purposes, schools are starting to use social networks for collaborative learning opportunities. Social networking for education takes collaboration outside the classroom walls. Like mobile devices, social collaboration online gives students opportunities to learn from each other: anywhere, anytime. Collaborative learning promotes diversity perspectives, peer learning, raises confidence, and improves engagement.

Educational social media platforms like Twiducate let teachers communicate assignment due dates, provide links to resources, and disseminate other useful information. Therefore, social media solves a practical problem for teachers. But it also has the potential to support learning — by offering more opportunities for discussion, asking questions, and challenging ideas.

7. Online Learning and MOOCs

Online learning is more popular than ever both in education and business settings. Massive open online courses (or MOOCs) like Udemy or Khan Academy offer cost-effective ways for institutions to supplement their curriculum. Colleges and universities are moving into the MOOC space too, offering online courses on sites like EdX. The entrance of MIT and Harvard into these educational spaces is helping with certification and standardization — two problems that have plagued online learning for years.

posted Mar 12 by Jorani

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1. Alternative input devices. These tools are designed to allow students with disabilities to use computers and related technology easily. Some alternative input devices include touch screens, modified keyboards, and joysticks that direct a cursor through use of body parts like chins, hands, or feet. Some up-and-coming technology in this area is sip-and-puff systems, developed by companies like Microsoft, to perform computer functions through the simple process of inhaling and exhaling. On-screen keyboards are another area of input technology that is providing K-12 learners with disabilities better use of computers and mobile devices for learning.​

2. Speech-to-text options. This technology is making mainstream waves through its use in popular cell phones like the Android-platform Razr M. While it is a convenience tool for people without disabilities, speech-to-text provides a learning advantage for students who have mobility or dexterity problems, or those who are blind. It allows students to speak their thoughts without typing and even navigate the Internet. speech-to-text options can also “talk back” to students and let them know about potential errors in their work.

3. LAMP. Language Acquisition through Motor Planning, or LAMP, connects neurological and motor learning in a way that makes communication easier for students with autism and related disorders. These principles have proven especially helpful for students who do not speak or have very limited verbal skills. Paired with technology, LAMP principles empower a growing student population with autism to effectively communicate and reach higher academic achievements. LAMP is present in technology – from specially made computers to learning apps.

4. Sensory enhancers. Depending on developmental patterns, children may need to learn differently than their peers. Instead of ABCs and numbers first, a child with language delays may benefit from bright pictures or colors to learn new concepts. Sensory enhancers may include voice analyzers, augmentative communication tools, or speech synthesizers. With the rapid growth of technology in the classroom, these basic tools of assistive technology are seeing great strides.

5. Screen readers. This technology is slightly different from text-to-speech. It simply informs students of what is on a screen. A student who is blind or visually impaired can benefit from the audio interface screen readers provide. Students who otherwise struggle to glean information from a computer screen can learn more easily through technology meant to inform them.

6. Mobile learning. Tablets and smartphones in the classroom are no longer a matter of “if,” but “when, and how quickly?” Administrators and educators can tap into the convenience of mobile technology in the classroom and the potential for student learning adaptation. Over half of school administrators say there is some form of mobile technology in their classrooms and that they plan to implement more when it is financially feasible. School districts should keep in mind that the purchase of mobile devices for K-12 use is only one piece in the learning puzzle. There must be funding for teacher training and maintenance of the devices too.

7. Learning analytics. This evolving concept in K-12 classrooms is different from educational data mining. It focuses on individual students, teachers, and schools without direct implications to the government. Learning analytics are the education industry’s response to “big data” that is used in the business world for improvements and redirection of focus. Learning analytics show students what they have achieved and how their achievements match up with their peers. If implemented correctly, this technology has the potential to warn teachers early of academic issues while keeping students more accountable. Using the mobile and online technology already in place, students can better track and tailor their academic experiences.

8. Open content. The rise of MOOCs, or massive open online courses, has trickled down from college learning to K-12 education. Increasingly, K-12 educators are also coming to believe that all information on any given topic already exists. In effect, a growing number of people believe that content does not need to be re-created or purchased, and the idea has gained steam among K-12 educators specifically. Within the next three years, expect more shared content available to teachers and to students. Open textbooks, resources, and curricula are not the only benefit of an open content push; shared experiences and insights are also valuable teaching tools.

9. 3D printing. Also known as prototyping, 3D printing will allow K-12 students to create tangible models for their ideas. Many fields, like manufacturing, already make use of this technology to determine the effectiveness of ideas on a smaller, printable scale. In education, this technology will bolster creativity and innovation, along with science and math applications. The STEM Academy has already partnered with Stratasys, a leading 3D printing company, to start integration of the technology in programming classes.

10. Outdoor/environmental learning. In short, more schools are looking for ways to get students and teachers outside. We are in an era of experiential learning, so environmental education fits the bill for many students. Lessons in this field teach children an appreciation of the earth and of its resources that the human population is quickly depleting. A better, hands-on understanding of nature also helps with science comprehension and gives students practical learning experiences.

Research has also found that teaching outside, even for short stints, improves student attitudes, attendance, and overall health. In many schools, teachers have always had the freedom to take students outside if they deemed it lesson-appropriate. Look for more official outdoor-teaching policies in the coming year, though, that encourage teachers to incorporate outdoor and environmental learning in all subjects.

As you can tell, many of these technologies have the power to change dramatically the learning experiences of students with learning disabilities, impairments, and other challenges that traditional learning methods have been less able to address. It is likely that we will see more use of these ten technologies and concepts in the next few years. In another article, I will focus on five more of these technology concepts every teacher must know.

in EdTech
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Education Technology (also known as “EdTech”) refers to an area of technology devoted to the development and application of tools (including software, hardware, and processes) intended to promote education.

Put another way, “EdTech is a study and ethical practice for facilitating learning and improving performance by creating, using and managing appropriate technological processes and resources.”

Although this developing field may sound like a specialized niche, its potential implications are far-reaching and affect many segments of the population. Read on to find out if you’re among those most likely to benefit from the advancement of EdTech, and how you can contribute to its growth.

For Educators and Educational Institutions…

The great tech minds tasked with creating the data-driven processes and applications that facilitate learning may understand solution-implementation–but they can’t stand in for educators when it comes to disseminating knowledge.

Conversely, strong educators aren’t necessarily equipped or inclined to deal with all the technology available to them and develop ways to apply it to their discipline. They will be the first to tell you that there are enough challenges in their day-to-day work without asking them to become IT experts, as well.

“If developed and applied correctly, #edtech has the potential to become industry-changing”

Services like Alma and Engrade provide one-stop solutions for teachers and schools while illustrating just how far EdTech can take us. If developed and applied correctly, educational technology has the potential to become truly industry-changing for educators–streamlining time-consuming processes (like lesson planning, reporting, and record-keeping) and simplifying communication–with even farther-reaching implications for educational institutions themselves.

EdTech Magazine cites the capacity of this technology for providing institutions with “a very clear understanding of any number of points of reference — student progress, budget performance, alumni snapshots; the list of possibilities and insights truly is limitless.”

For this reason, the future of education relies on an ongoing dialogue between educators and educational institutions, and professionals in the tech world.

The future of education relies on educators, institutions & tech professionals

For Technologists and Designers…

For tech professionals, this means a growing and ongoing need for development in the area that is able to scale as evolving devices and technology multiply avenues for information delivery. And that’s a tall order in a landscape where these elements are developing almost more quickly than they can be understood and applied to the field of education.

Not surprisingly, the current rate of EdTech development is leaving gaps. The recent Software & Information Industry Association’s 2014 K-20 vision survey revealed a“high desire for more technology integration–and need for more support–at all educational levels.”

The annual survey, which polls nearly 1,000 educators across every tier of K-20 education, was released in June during the International Society for Technology in Education’s 2014 expo and indicated that “the ideal level of technology integration is significantly higher than current levels.” EdTech Magazine highlighted several findings from the report, including the following pain points:

  • The majority of K-12 respondents do not feel “highly prepared” for online, summative assessments: 42 percent say they have adequate bandwidth, and 36 percent say they have enough devices and other hardware for students.

  • Three-quarters of K-12 respondents say technology integration is highly important, but their current levels and ideal levels of integration do not align: Only 22 percent say their schools are already highly integrated.

These findings signal a need for technological and professional development on every level of EdTech and the presence of unique career development opportunities.

For Career Seekers…

While a number of job-seekers wish to find work that is simultaneously fulfilling and profitable, the two don’t always seem to go hand in hand (just ask a teacher).

However, the dramatic increase in venture capital investment in Education Technology promises just that.

Forbes remarks, “Whereas teachers generally top out at around $80,000 (and only if they get masters/doctoral degrees), education entrepreneurs have shown that making money and doing well are not always misaligned.”

Whether you’re embarking on a new career or seeking career guidance, the promise of the growing educational technology field delivers enticing opportunities to apply your skills in an environment with true global impact.

For Everyone Else…

At the risk of over-evangelizing the importance of Education Technology, it can be said that the successful development of these tools will impact every aspect of our future. Accessible, effective solutions for superior education empower students and teachers to focus on the task of learning. They can do more with the resources they have, improving the quality of education available to young people around the globe, and better-equipping them for the future.

These are our imminent engineers, architects, and doctors–the leaders of social and political movements to come. Making sure they have the best means available in order to prepare them for these roles ensures a brighter future for all living creatures, and for the planet itself. The next generation faces no shortage of challenges–it’s our job to see that they face no shortage of support in order to overcome them.

in EdTech
+1 vote

The world is changing, and education must change with it. Many schools are aware of this fact and are trying to rebuild their activities in accordance with the opportunities offered by new technologies. Some universities borrow ideas from the business world, referring to the experience of successful start-ups in order to launch some new processes for themselves. Gradually, a paper routine leaves the schools, giving way to electronic means of working with data.

1. School as a Service

School as a service begins with the commitment of the state to each student as a digital student. When states reduce historical barriers, the transition to personal digital learning will mean a school service: access to quality courses and teachers from several providers.

Education SaaS changes the basic assumptions – it does not need to associate time and place. This does not mean that everything will become virtual – in the foreseeable future, at least 90 percent of families will benefit from local schools, but this requires new thinking, new staffing models, new budgeting strategies and new ways of communicating with students and families.

2. Mobile Learning

Mobile learning, also known as m-learning, is an educational system. Using portable computing devices (such as iPads, laptops, tablets, PDAs, and smartphones), wireless networks provide mobility and mobile training, which allows to teach and learn to expand beyond the traditional audience. Within the class, mobile training provides instructors and students with increased flexibility and new possibilities for interaction.

3. Gamification in Education

Gamification in education is sometimes described using other terms: game thinking, the principles of the game for learning, the design of motivation, the design of interaction, etc. This differs from game-based learning in that it doesn`t imply that students themselves play commercial video games. It works on the assumption that the kind of interaction that players encounter with games can be transformed into an educational context in order to facilitate learning and influence on students’ behaviour. Because gamers voluntarily spend a lot of time for gaming, researchers and teachers are exploring ways to use the power of video games to motivate and apply it in the classroom.

4. Big Data

“Big Data” is a term that we are used to hearing in business, but it is also an important tool for education. Learning World explores this technological fashion word and talks with an expert on this topic: Kenneth Cuciere, co-author of “Learning with Big Data.”

Cukier sees “Big Data” as an opportunity to adapt learning to the individual needs of students and the learning process. Instead of avoiding this, teachers must accept changes that bring in large data, and use them to their advantage.

One example of the large data that occurs in education is the “Course Signals”, which allow professors to give feedback if there are early signs that students do not exercise or do not use class time.

5. Blended and Flipped Learning

Blended learning is a pedagogical method in which the learner learns, at least in part, by providing content and training through digital and online media using the student controls in time or place. This allows the student to create an individual and integrated approach to learning. Blended training is combined with a flipped class approach to learning.

The Flipped class is a pedagogical model in which the typical elements of the lecture and the homework of the course change to the opposite. Students watch short video lectures or other multimedia materials asynchronously before a class session. Then, class time is devoted to active learning, such as discussions, design or problem assignments, or laboratory exercises. This learning model allows teachers to guide the teaching of students by answering students’ questions and helping them apply the concepts of the course during classes.

6. Massive Online Open Courses

Nowadays MOOCs may not be so widespread as when they first attracted attention, and people no longer think that this is the answer to the problems of educational inequality. Nevertheless, MOOCs still deserve close attention, as it develops as an important part of education, and it offers its students many advantages if used well. Moreover, The New York Times called 2013 the “Year of the MOOC” because it attracted a lot of attention and money.

7. Personalized Learning

Personalized learning is a sort of adaptive learning that considers working with computers to make decisions, based on previous levels of learner understanding when interacting with a computer program. Learning analytics and artificial intelligence are the essences of individual learning because without them it would be impossible to easily adapt the instruction on the basis of immediate answers.

Personalized learning can seem like a dream in many schools, but it’s already happening more than we can imagine – and often behind the back of the teacher.

in EdTech
+1 vote

In Fall 2017, when Hoover High School in San Diego’s Unified School District began building the next year’s master schedule, school leaders discovered something concerning. Some of the students who needed extra support—English learners, special-education students, and others in need of academic interventions—were more likely to be scheduled in larger classes with less experienced teachers. They were also significantly underrepresented in Advanced Placement courses, and were often separated from other students throughout the day because of how their intervention blocks were scheduled.

This problem is not unique to Hoover. A growing body of research shows that outcomes for students diverge not just within districts, but within individual classrooms and schools. Improvements to pedagogical practices are critical, but insufficient, when students have unequal access to rigorous coursesacademic programs, and experienced teachers.

To systematically address these inequities, decision-makers must understand the processes that create them. Increased funding alone will not address endemic achievement gaps, because equity is more than just a fiscal or pedagogical challenge; it is also an operational one.

A school’s schedule determines how its core resources—time, personnel, even physical spaces—are allocated throughout the day. It dictates fundamental elements of the student experience: the teachers and peers they interact with throughout the day, the size and composition of their classes, their access to additional supports and services, and whether or not they take courses and electives aligned with their interests, graduation or college entry requirements.

Operational decisions also shape the course load for teachers, and whether they have scheduled time for collaboration, planning and professional support to deliver high-quality instruction for their students. These formative decisions are made by guidance counselors, assistant principals, principals, and superintendents before students ever enter the classroom.

Designing the student experience is no easy task. Schools are incredibly complex organizations, and only grow more complicated as they adapt to shifting demographics and expectations. The complexity of allocating scarce resources within schools is compounded by a maze of local, state, and federal requirements. The “alphabet soup” of programs, services, and strategies—CTE, IEPs, IB, ELL, GT, PBL—reflects a gradual shift toward a more personalized approach.

Against that backdrop, a school leader’s ability to make equity-informed decisions has, historically, presented a Rubik’s Cube-like challenge. School leaders are almost always aware that scheduling practices can have unintended consequences on equity, and student outcomes. But most haven’t had the tools to map assumptions to data and operationalize necessary changes. In many schools, these important decisions are still made using magnet boards and other processes with limited capacity.

The proliferation of student information and learning management systems means that the data that districts need to understand, and perhaps re-think, the allocation of resources is no longer trapped in file cabinets and magnet boards. Evaluating the implications of schedule or operational changes—and making the changes themselves—has gone from aspirational to feasible. With the right tools and data, districts can rethink school operations from a data-informed, equity-focused lens.

This was the case at Hoover, where Diane works as vice principal. She and her staff came together and decided the scheduling process had to change. Examining the data together, teachers became aware of the unintentional consequences of the previous schedules and why changes were being made.

Hoover pursued a data-driven approach that allowed for more balanced class sizes and ensured newer teachers were not overloaded with large classes of high-need students. Rosters became more diverse. Students with special needs and English language learners now learn alongside students in gifted programs who would traditionally be separated during the day. Importantly, the schedule guaranteed common preparation and planning time so teachers can meet and discuss the best ways to support all pupils.

Changes did not happen overnight. Hoover involved the school’s academy directors, teachers, and families in a robust process of schedule redesign—and recognized that real transformation requires a mindset and culture shift.

Implicit bias training and cultural awareness training helped equip staff to consistently hold high expectations for all students, and to shift any discourse from placing blame for poor outcomes to instead committing to improving those outcomes. Students and families were included in events to learn about the new academic programs, and they participated in a process of structured choice for new courses and electives to boost both rigor and engagement.

It’s time to embrace not only the potential, but the essential role of operations in furthering the pursuit of educational equity. When overlooked or underestimated, school-level processes can inhibit access to rigorous, high-quality teaching and learning. But when harnessed correctly with equity at the core, school operations have the power to improve every student’s experience—and to catalyze all other efforts to enhance pedagogy, rigor, and engagement.

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