The use of technology in education is only increasing. Students, teachers, and administrators have embraced technology in the classroom today like never before. As a matter of fact, technology in the classroom is now the norm, while tech free classrooms and teaching styles are becoming less and less popular with parents, students and instructors. So, what are the hot technical trends for 2015 in the world of education? If you are unsure of which trends to follow, here are 7 ed-tech trends to watch during 2015 and beyond.
Until relatively recently, the options given to people participating in internet based training programs was video based training, or text based training. Unfortunately, these options only maximize the abilities of certain learners. Today, online training is interactive and dynamic. The result is online education that works for a wider range of participants. Hands on or tactile learners will especially applaud these new interactive models of training, because instructional methods rarely work to their strengths.
Imagine a class where you take in information online from the comfort of home, by watching instructional videos and accessing materials from the internet. Now, imagine imagine leaving home to go to school in order to do your homework. This may seem like a strange concept, but it is becoming more and more popular. The flipped classroom works because it caters to the current student's desire to to acquire information in a convenient way (videos can be paused, fast forwarded, and reversed. Then, it also provides help for students as they begin to process and navigate new information. Some say that the flipped classroom is nothing new. It simply follows the concept that students are to be held responsible for understanding the matirial
For years, students who dared to possess an electronic device in class, let alone use it was at risk of disciplinary sanction. This sanction was often, ironically, imposed by a teacher or administrator who was equally connected and engaged by their own electronic device. BYOD or bring your own device embraces the use of personal technology, in the classroom. Why the change in attitude? Teachers are seeing the value in giving students access to their devices rather than enforcing arbitrary rules. BYOD also preps high school students to use their devices responsibly while they are in the college setting.
This ever improving technology allows students of all abilities to participate meaningfully in the learning process. More and more advanced technology is being used in the classroom to help students to learn according to their needs and abilities. Much of this technology focuses on the ability to communicate, which not only helps kids with communicative or social disorders to focus, it also has received the attention of Stephen Hawking. Imagine a classroom where a non-verbal student can participate in discussions.
Learning is a social process, and we are just now beginning to learn how the presence of technology has a positive impact on this. Apps and utilities such as google docs, evernote, and other technology allows students to work with one another to complete projects, communicate ideas, and even work in real time together.
Virtual reality headsets, watches, fitness trackers, etc., these are all wearable devices that can be used in the classroom to demonstrate or facilitate learning. However, these forms of wearable technology are only the start. Muse is a headband that teachers can use to determine how students are reacting to the current lesson. This means immediate feedback or nearly immediate feedback for teachers on their learning plans. Wearable technology can also be used for access management in the school system. Schools can be made much safer if students and staff can enter various places in the school while knowing that outsiders cannot.
This is in no way a new thing, but internet based free education is growing, and the numbers who are able to access this are getting bigger and bigger. Khan academy is one extremely well-known source of free education, but they are definitely not the only one. Well known universities are embracing the open source education movement and providing the public with free access to educational materials, online classes, and other resources.
So, what do these trends represent? Perhaps, most compellingly, these trends represent the acceptance of technology in the classroom as a good. Teacher's are no longer compelled to see a student's access to his devices as an infraction of the rules, but instead as an opportunity to connect and find new ways to incorporate technology into the daily learning process.