Whenever we analyze the landscape of higher education technology, we find a range of trends in various stages of development. There are topics with real staying power, such as learning space design (which has factored into our trends list for several years).
School technology decisions are becoming more democratic, and the pervasiveness of Internet-connected devices is helping to lead a revolution. We are reaching a point in time where technology is empowering people toward a path of personalization, and almost every new technology in the education technology space today fills a cog in that wheel. The following are some of the top trends and market innovators leading the charge this coming year – attracting developers and investors along the way.
Flipped Learning is a form of blended learning where students learn their lessons at home by watching video lectures and studying content online, and then doing their homework in class. Basically instead of learning directly from the teacher students learn from each other through a process of small groups using critical problem solving.
By using Wi-Fi enabled classroom technology and various mobile-app solutions you can create the interactive environment that students benefit the most from. The value for educators comes from generating powerful analytics to measure student responses while also having the ability to stay engaged with your students in and out of the classroom.
Rise of the Marketplace: Now more than ever, education technology vendors are moving from application maker to platform provider. In the process, many are opening their APIs to foster collaboration – not only among end-users, but cross-platform. This vendor collaboration and openness encourages rapid innovation and content sharing that ultimately benefits all stakeholders. It also begins to open new distribution models for new companies looking to gain scale quickly, and new business models for those with widespread scale and reach.
Data-Driven Institutions: In the age of big data, with leaders focused on making data-driven decisions, having a data and information management strategy in place in IT is no longer just a luxury, but quickly becoming a necessity.
A unified data standardization effort can make all systems and processes better and can be directly managed by assessing how data is collected, cleansed and ultimately stored.
All Things Mobile: Innovations in mobile technology are advancing education and extending classroom learning by giving students the opportunity to learn anytime and anywhere. From smartphones and tablets to eReaders and laptops, devices are in demand and so is the hotter-than-ever mobile app marketplace. Mobile apps are one of the fastest growing areas in education technology that support learning. They are abundant, inexpensive and easily accessible. In an effort to keep pace with the advancement of these mobile education tools, while facing budget realities, many schools have started to embrace Bring Your Own Device practices.
With the recent explosion in education-related apps, educators can decipher students’ interests, academic passions and “trouble spots” more readily and in real-time to differentiate and fine-tune instruction. MIT App Inventor, for example, enables students to create their own apps in the comfort of their classrooms. The app offers training for students, a forum and additional support for educators, and a “challenge” for students to create their own apps.
Gamification: Interest in using game design and mechanics to increase engagement in learning has advanced considerably in recent years – from social and goal-oriented games, to everyday tasks containing gamified elements.
The school year is certain to usher in new digital tools and different teaching approaches. Only time will tell which technologies will have the greatest impact on education and the learning lives of students, but one thing is certain – the path to personalized learning has begun.
Digital Literacy: Creating a digital literacy curriculum can be based on students’ developmental stages, and educators should be cognizant of both the risks (such as distractions) and myriad learning opportunities that technology integration and utilization in the classroom may provide. With increasing numbers of teachers using technology in the classroom and schools permitting students to become engaged with content via digital literacy, some schools are adopting formal digital literacy curriculum and digital literacy plans.
Digital Textbooks: You might think it would cost more to provide tablets for every student in your school but think of how many textbooks you are saving every year. Textbooks are getting more expensive and they are usually used for seven years before a new edition comes out. A digital textbook would be more cost efficient and can easily be updated to reflect the most recent information.
Article by: Busayo Tomoh