We connected with some forward-thinking ed tech experts to get their predictions regarding advances in classroom technology and how they will transform K-12 education in the New Year.
Jackie Gerstein, Ed.D., founded the blog User Generated Education and teaches educational technology graduate courses for Boise State, Walden and American InterContinental Universities.
In the midst of the Common Core State Standards, and with no relief in sight from standardized testing, “maker education” has been a breath of fresh air in many classrooms. The maker movement is neither easily defined nor placed in a neat little box. It can be high tech or low tech; it can involve hacking what is or creating from scratch; it can mean creating from building materials or creating on the computer. We have entered into a confluence of several factors that are igniting the maker education movement. Some maker-related movements that gained traction in 2013 and will most likely gain more momentum in 2014 include:
David Cutler is founder and executive editor of Spin Education, a site devoted to following tech trends in education. He teaches U.S. history, U.S. government and journalism at Palmer Trinity in Miami, Florida.
Video-based learning will continue to transform K-12 education in 2014. Even at an early age, most students have a natural ability to understand and in a very real sense, read visual media. But as I learn from Professor Michael Schoonmaker, upcoming co-author of Unlocking the Moviemaking Mind: Tales of Voice, Vision, and Video from the K-12 Classroom, “the same cannot be said about their encoding skills, or their ability to effectively communicate to others using visual media, thus giving way to an encoding deficit.”
Innovative educators will continue teaching and encouraging not so much the mechanics of effective moviemaking—though this can certainly also be the case— but more importantly, how students can use film to enhance the learning process.
From re-creating scenes from important pieces of literature, students can show a deep, creative understanding that no essay, however thoughtful, could as well emulate. Similarly, easy-to-use green screen technology allows students to render virtual environments, such as a newsroom or stage for a mock presidential debate. By posting the final product online, students learn to cultivate and respond to feedback—a crucial 21st-century skill.
Moviemaking instills in students a healthy desire to share quality work in a digital environment, and the best teachers will capitalize on this medium to help students succeed in an ever-widening digital world.
Silvana Hoxha, vice principal at Westheights Public School in Ontario, Canada, is an ed tech leader at her school.
It is so difficult to predict what the next best thing in EdTech will be. I believe it is critical not to get wrapped up in what is the latest, shiniest tool, but instead focus on the pedagogy and apply the technology effectively so that it has the greatest impact on teaching and learning. Having said that, I believe that mobile devices and cloud computing will continue to be the big ed tech trend, replacing desktops and even laptops. (In fact, at my school, we are moving toward mobile tools and slowly dismantling our “computer lab” by replacing the desktops with mobile devices like iPads and Chromebooks.)
This change aligns with a vision of learning as student-directed and student-empowered. Students are using mobile tools to collaborate with others in real time, both face-to-face and virtually through Google hangouts, mystery Skypes, etc. The impact is learning that is more interactive and instruction that is less teacher-centered and more communal, with a focus on knowledge sharing and knowledge building.