It’s been quite the year for American education, and it seems that we’re quickly approaching the point where education technology is the norm, rather than a luxury. Technology in the classroom not only personalizes learning and empowers students to take ownership of their education, but it also facilitates more meaningful connections. Many platforms open up the communication airways between educators, parents, mentors, and students, thus expanding a student’s circle of supporters. So where did the 2017 edtech trends take us, and what can we expect in 2018?
Across the nation in 2017, schools have been:
- Improving their internet connectivity
- Adopting 1:1 device initiatives
- Informing instruction with student data
- Assigning homework through online platforms
- Using virtual games to teach lessons
All of this means that many students are less likely to only experience the traditional lecture format and are instead participating in more active learning activities that boost engagement. To truly impact student learning with technology, schools need to think long term and insist that their programs are so embedded that they become part of the school’s DNA.
We also saw a few directional changes over the course of 2017 from a new administration, including the appointment of Betsy DeVos—a lifelong school choice advocate—to Secretary of Education. Many new education initiatives continue to focus on helping students learn easier and faster, and graduate on time. However, there is still plenty of work to be done to change education based on President Trump’s campaign promises, so it will be interesting to see what 2018 delivers in that respect.
At this point though, we do know we can expect 2018 to bring play-based curriculum that lets young students take the lead in exploring; an increase in the popularity of makerspaces; a larger emphasis on the “A” of STEAM education—art; and much more. We can also expect continued improvement in the trends we mentioned earlier: internet connectivity, 1:1 devices, student data usage, and gamification. Now, take a break from your end-of-year to-do list and check out some of our most popular stories from 2017!
What’s Up With…
Throughout the year, we broke down numerous popular education and edtech terms to help you understand exactly what they mean. What’s up with:
- Adaptive learning, which responds to students in real time
- Technology-enhanced items, or TEIs, which are becoming more and more common on high-stakes exams
- RTI/MTSS: How do these two instructional frameworks work?
- Competency-based learning, which has been gaining steam as an up-and-coming teaching strategy
And in our Statistics on Teaching Infographic, you can learn all about what it means to be a great teacher.
Teaching Today’s Students
Over the summer we took a deep dive into the digital skills gap and how it affects students from early childhood on to college and careers. When students are unfamiliar with and underprepared to use technology, it significantly hinders their future success with high-stakes exams, college courses, and the workforce. If we want our students to excel in a digital age, we need to prepare them with the right tools for the job.
In Screen Time and Students, we discussed how much is too much. Inevitably, with the increasing device usage in the classroom, students will receive more screen time than they ever have in decades prior. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends certain daily limits based on age, and recently updated its definition of “screen time” to exclude time spent on devices for educational purposes.
We also emphasized the importance of using mindfulness in the classroom to help students clear their minds and focus more clearly on one thing, task, or experience. More and more studies are being conducted on the practice of mindfulness in the classroom to see how students’ concentration, behavior, and performance are affected. With so much information available at our fingertips, it’s important to start considering using secular mindfulness practices to help students not become overwhelmed.
Implementing Blended and Online Learning
Determining how to implement blended learning at your own school can be overwhelming. In our 5 Critical Components Infographic, you can see what successful blended learning programs have in common. How do they collaborate effectively, build their program infrastructure, and transition from the traditional face-to-face format?
Additionally, getting parents on board for a new type of learning can be challenging. They’re bound to be weary of the initial unknowns that come with online learning, but their role in their child’s academic success is crucial. In October’s 5 Questions Answered, we addressed common questions parents have about online learning, and provide strategies for them to facilitate online learning success at home. What are the benefits of online learning? How difficult is it compared to the traditional setting? How can I help my student in this setting?
In 2018, we’ll continue to answer the difficult questions, examine the latest edtech research, and provide effective teaching strategies and resources. We’re signing off for 2017, so the Where Learning Clicks team wishes you, your students, and your loved ones a safe and happy New Year!
Brown, J. L. (2017). 5 tech trends influencing student engagement. Education DIVE. Retrieved from https://www.educationdive.com/news/5-tech-trends-influencing-student-engagement
Gong, C., and Carolan, J. (2017). Spotting the 2017 trends that fuel edtech innovation and investments. EdSurge. Retrieved from https://www.edsurge.com/news/2017-11-17-spotting-the-2017-trends-that-fuel-edtech-innovation-and-investments
Harris, M. (2017). For long-term success, edtech needs to be part of a school’s DNA. EdTech Digest. Retrieved from https://edtechdigest.com/2017/11/01/for-long-term-success-edtech-needs-to-be-part-of-a-schools-dna/
Klien, A. (2017). How do Trump’s K-12 campaign promises hold up a year after his election? Education Week. Retrieved from http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/campaign-k-12/2017/11/trump_campaign_promises_one_year_choice_education_department.html
Ye, R. (2017). 4 exciting trends that will define the 2018 education industry. eSchool News. Retrieved from https://www.eschoolnews.com/2017/11/30/trends-2018-education-industry/