Academic journal article T H E Journal (Technological Horizons In Education)

What's Hot What's Not for 2014: Our Panel of Experts Looks into the Future of Ed Tech

Academic journal article T H E Journal (Technological Horizons In Education)

What's Hot What's Not for 2014: Our Panel of Experts Looks into the Future of Ed Tech

Article excerpt

THE ONE GUARANTEED constant in educational technology is change, and the pace of that change is definitely accelerating. So as we approach the new year, T.H.E. Journal pauses to survey the ed tech trends on the horizon. As in previous years, we have assembled a distinguished panel of five experts, including several from our advisory board. We asked them to consider 10 topics related to instructional technology and predict whether each topic will be HOT [up arrow], LUKEWARM [right arrow], or LOSING STEAM ([down arrow]) in 2014. We compiled their responses to come up with an overall trend line. There was unanimous agreement on some topics and less consensus on others, but taken together, their responses paint a compelling picture of what to expect from ed tech in 2014.

[up arrow] Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)

Tom Murray: The bottom line is that all schools in the country already are BYOD. Students are bringing the devices. It's whether or not these districts choose to embrace the learning tool that makes the instructional difference. Companies continue to develop and provide new mechanisms through mobile device management and other avenues to protect a district's infrastructure, calming some of the security fears of district technology directors about BYOD.

Larry Johnson: In early studies, the act of a student using his or her own device for learning has proven to increase productivity and engagement. Tablet computing has accelerated the pace of BYOD, especially in schools, where these smaller, less-expensive devices are seen as a better option than traditional laptops.

Karen Billings: In our most recent Vision K-20 Survey, 48 percent of education leaders in secondary schools said students were allowed to bring their own devices into classrooms. Almost all respondents said the usage would grow. BYOD brings student-computer access closer to the 1-to-1 program, and schools believe they can save some money by not having to furnish the computers. It will require more network expertise in the schools and acceptance by the school leaders. But it's a movement with real momentum.

Ann Lee Flynn: While I believe an increasing number of districts will allow students to utilize their own devices as learning tools, the practice continues to raise questions of equity and does not address the need for sufficient devices to support online assessments. The growing momentum to shift from print to digital resources, often housed in the cloud, makes it incumbent on district leaders to recognize that each child must have a device and the connectivity to access resources from home--just as students from a prior generation would have had access to traditional print textbooks.

[up arrow] Social Media as a Teaching and Learning Tool

Flynn: Platforms designed to replicate many of the experiences offered through public social media outlets will expand as teachers embrace instructional practices that provide students with more authentic opportunities to engage with experts, provide feedback to one another, or collaborate with pears around the world--yet within a safe environment, especially for younger children.

Mark Stevens: Social media is expanding learning beyond the school day with content and meaningful interactions on specific topics. When combined with meaningful engagement, social media technology can be a powerful tool to reinforce learning, establish effective communication abilities, and provide the career and life skills every student will use in the 21st century.

Billings: It is a natural way to involve students over 13 years of age in more writing--and in using the social media tools they like or are already widely used by their peers. It gives students a window to the world beyond the classroom and a platform on which to express themselves and build their own knowledgebase and place.

Murray: Connected educators are revolutionizing professional development on a daily basis. …

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