Search form

Ed Tech Trends for 2012: Part 2

EducationWorld continues with its look at predicted 2012 tech trends with field expert Jody Forehand. Forehand currently serves as Vice President of Product Planning for the education tech firm Luidia. Luidia is known for developing the eBeam technology featured in many interactive whiteboard products. In addition to working with partners like Sony and HP, Luidia also produces its own educational whiteboard product, dubbed the Engage. Forehand has spent years in the educational tech sector and puts that experience to work for EdWorld readers by predicting what schools will look like, technologically, in the coming year.

Read part 1 of the article.

Schools Will Still Not Know What To Do With Social Media

tech trends 2012“This is going to be something that schools continue to wrestle with in the coming year,” Forehand said. “It reminds me of the issue schools have with Internet access and how they managed that even 10 years ago. The filters were often clumsy, leading to the famous story of students not being able to do research on breast cancer.”

Forehand did say that schools can eventually get to a place where social media has a role in the curriculum; however, that is still a few years away.

“It’s going to take some time,” Forehand said. “They’re going to have to give up some control and find where their comfort level is and then come to a happy medium.”

One area where schools can address social media directly is teaching students to be responsible users.

“It’s messy,” Forehand said. “There is a real concern there about bullying or just kids not using good judgment in terms of the kind of content they share. This is the type of thing that can be woven into social studies lessons or English lessons, so schools can address it without having to create an entirely new class.”

Interactive Whiteboards Will Evolve

“It’s going to come down to being able to integrate with other resources in the classroom,” Forehand said. “It will no longer be the case that you have an interactive whiteboard and a projector in the classroom. Teachers want to be able to connect whatever document camera they have, or maybe take a picture with their iPhone and make it easily accessible. So it’s become more important than ever for interactive whiteboards to accommodate this.”

Forehand predicts that the future of these whiteboards will come down to compatibility with other devices.

“We’re seeing a lot of companies that have built themselves around what I call ‘closed systems,’” Forehand said. “They try to give you the complete solution and encourage you to use all of their hardware and software. They have very nice solutions and their products are quite good, but we at Luidia have taken the approach of allowing teachers to work with the hardware and software that they’re comfortable with, and we’re going to try and make it easier for them to integrate those to our boards. We don’t want to force a particular workflow on educators.”

Forehand reports that a growing number of teachers in the field are saying they want to use more and more types of tools, whether hardware or software, in the classroom.

“So interactive whiteboard companies are going to have to look at how they work with those other tools effectively and easily for teachers,” Forehand said.

HD Will Explode in Classrooms

Plummeting prices are going to allow schools to invest in more HD displays and projectors, Forehand predicts.

“Projector prices are going down; flat-panel prices are going down,” Forehand said. “In years past, the model was, you had one huge display in the front of the classroom, and that is what everyone was focused on. Now pico projectors are becoming more popular and less expensive—I mean, for a few hundred dollars you can get a 32” HD display. I think this is going to lead to schools having more displays in the classroom.”

While classroom applications are logical, Forehand said the displays, when purchased en masse, can be used for a myriad of practical purposes.

“Again, they are just so cheap now,” Forehand said. “You can use them for announcements. This is more common in higher ed, but I can see K through 12 schools using them for security purposes such as alerting the classrooms and the community outside.”

Article by Jason Tomaszewski, EducationWorld Associate Editor
Education World®    
Copyright © 2012 Education World