Jan 07 2016

Looking Forward to a New Year in Ed Tech

Some technologies gained steam in 2015, and we learned a lot of lessons along the way.

Now that we’ve popped the cork on 2016, I’ve also had some time to reflect on this past year. After all, 2015 saw a host of new technologies and solutions bloom while others faded from the spotlight.

The Internet of Things, for instance, trickled into schools as wearables and connected devices became less expensive. In Ohio, beacon technology now lets teachers push educational materials to students’ tablets at set times. In Minnesota, wearables track students’ heart rates and steps as they exercise in gym class. New York schools even made the move to IP video surveillance systems to improve security.

The rise of 3D printing was even more meteoric.

Gamification, on the other hand, lost its place on the New Media Consortium’s NMC Horizon Report: 2015 K–12 Edition, which features predictions for the K–12 technology market. NMC CEO Larry Johnson called the education trend “too hard to integrate.”

7 Lessons Learned in 2015

Besides watching the ebb and flow of classroom technologies, my colleague Eric Patnoudes and I kept our ear to the ground at CoSN 2015, Miami Device and other thought leadership events. Here are a few of our Connect IT insights from 2015:

  1. During the strategic planning processes, schools should purposefully abandon items that have proved ineffective, and then reinvest efficiency gains back into the classroom
  2. Unless teachers receive both training and professional development, they’ll understand only how to operate technology, not how to use technology to provide new, engaging learning opportunities.
  3. To salvage ineffective professional development programs, schools need to redefine what it means to help teachers improve, re-evaluate existing programs and reinvent the way they support effective teaching at scale.
  4. Technology alone cannot improve education; change is possible only when schools’ thought leaders bring together student-centered instructional design with differentiated training and professional development.
  5. Whether you’re preparing for ISTE or any education technology summit, it’s important to stay focused on your strategy and to continuously consider how the technologies at hand will support students.
  6. Educators need to teach students how to be responsible digital citizens, not only to safeguard their health and wellness but also to ensure their personal security.
  7. The one-to-one ratio is not a silver bullet. School districts receiving new funding should consider investing in culture and people development before purchasing new tech toys.

What’s Next for Ed Tech?

As we approach 2016, the Connect IT team is already hard at work lining up our thoughts on a number of key themes, including technology leadership, training and professional development, and mobility. So check back periodically for expert insights into the latest 2016 trends.

The author will lead a session, “Leading Schools in the Digital Age,” from 12:00 to 12:40 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 14, at the Future of Education Technology Conference in Orlando, Fla.

This article is part of the “Connect IT: Bridging the Gap Between Education and Technology” series. Please join the discussion on Twitter by using the #ConnectIT hashtag.

[title]Connect IT: Bridging the Gap Between Education and Technology

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