Our Year in Review: 2018 EdTech Trends

Between new innovations, the midterm elections, and a whole lot more, it’s easy to say that 2018 was a big year for education, edtech, and educators. Educational technology continues to play a significant role in the modern classroom, and students across the nation continue to increase their technology and social-media usage. Here are the major 2018 edtech trends we saw, trends you can expect to see in 2019, and the Where Learning Clicks articles you read the most this year!

Major 2018 EdTech Trends

These 2018 edtech trends received a lot of attention:

  • STEM/STEAM (Science Technology Engineering [Arts] Mathematics)
  • Computer science
  • Safety and cybersecurity
  • Media literacy and digital citizenship
  • Classroom redesign
  • Robotics, cloud storage, and augmented reality

As long as STEM/STEAM career fields continue growing, so will the push for more STEM/STEAM learning opportunities for students, from 3D printing and graphic design to coding and computer science. Nearly 70 percent of K–12 principals say computer science is at least on their radar.

Student safety—both physical and digital—has been on everyone’s minds this year. Some districts are looking into cutting-edge facial recognition and tracking software, and others are using more “traditional” technologies like panic buttons and anonymous tip lines. To further protect students, given the rate at which the “digital-information landscape” is changing, many schools and organizations are pushing media-literacy resources to help students become responsible digital citizens when producing and consuming online content.

Redesigning the classroom to give students comfortable learning spaces (that are also conducive to learning) gained traction this year as research has shown that physical learning environments can profoundly impact a student’s education. This includes incorporating bright colors, active/flexible seating, collaborative spaces, and, of course, integrated technology into the classroom. Some of the biggest innovations in 2018 edtech trends include wearable technology that can assist students with disabilities; cloud computing for convenient file saving and sharing; and augmented reality for a richer educational experience.

Similar to last year, 2018 edtech trends continued focusing on:

  • 1:1 device rollouts
  • Using games to teach lessons
  • Improving internet connectivity

And since 2012, teens’ usage of social media has increased dramatically, with Snapchat being their preferred social network, followed by Instagram and then Facebook.

Education in Politics + What 2019 Will Bring

Roughly 34 months after President Barack Obama signed the Every Student Succeeds Act into law, the ESSA plans of all 50 states, as well as the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, were officially approved in fall 2018 by Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos. ESSA gives states significant control over student-achievement and school-performance goals, and while many states have already begun implementing changes based on ESSA, many others will begin to see changes in 2019.

In other political news, more than 40 teachers won electoral races in November 2018 to join state legislatures. (And next month, we’ll share a recap of the 2018 education ballot initiatives you voted for!)

In 2019, you can expect to see all the 2018 edtech trends carry over, as well as a big focus on machine learning and immersive technology. Analysts expect machine learning to be big in 2019 because it can offer support for certain tasks that may require more time, energy, and training than is available to educators. This includes the usage of artificial intelligence as it becomes more commercially available, and improved data analytics to help educators pinpoint where students are struggling and adjust instruction accordingly. Experts also say that with the rapidly growing use of classroom technology, proper digital citizenship courses and training will be essential in years to come.

Now, take a break from your end-of-year to-do list and check out some of our most popular stories from 2018!

Top 2018 Stories in EdTech

At the beginning of the year, we told you which edtech conferences you could attend to learn about 2018 edtech trends, and our list of 2019 edtech conferences will be available for you in early January!

STEAM, Electives, + CTE

In line with one of the most popular 2018 edtech trends—STEM/STEAM—we covered the story of a high school robotics team in Michigan; the impact virtual science labs can have on students of all ages; and how you can empower girls to pursue STEM. We also talked about why elective courses are so important in helping students explore their interests, such as music and career and technical education. (And we shared how one school is finding success with hands-on CTE and social-emotional learning courses.)

All About You

In 2018 we also shared stories about some of our district partners who are using data-driven instruction for elementary students, and implementing virtual summer school. (It may be cold out, but now’s the perfect time to start planning your summer school program!)

During Teacher Appreciation Month, we ran our Teacher Appreciation Giveaway contest, with three lucky Amazon Kindle winners in Louisiana, Florida, and Ohio. To honor and recognize hardworking teachers, we also shared our Statistics on Teaching Infographic about how much goes into being a great teacher, and we talked to teachers about why they continue teaching.

Our Most Popular Tips for Educators

One of our major goals is to give you and your colleagues effective resources, strategies, and tips to take back to the classroom and help students succeed. Here are some of the 2018 tips you loved the most:

Later this week, we’ll give you even more tips for helping keep your students engaged over the winter break. And in 2019, we’ll continue to provide effective teaching strategies and resources, answer the difficult questions, and examine the latest edtech research. From the Where Learning Clicks family to yours, please have a safe and happy holiday season! We can’t wait to see what 2019 will bring!


Ascione, L. (2018, October 3). Top 5 trends in classroom redesign. eSchool News. Retrieved from https://www.eschoolnews.com/2018/10/03/top-5-trends-in-classroom-redesign/?all
Herold, B. (2018, September 4). 5 big tech trends worth watching this school year. Education Week. Retrieved from https://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2018/09/05/5-big-tech-trends-worth-watching-this.html
Lahullier, S. (2018, October 25). Top 10 K–12 educational technology trends. Tech & Learning. Retrieved from https://www.techlearning.com/tl-advisor-blog/top-10-k-12-educational-technology-trends
Nix, K. (2018, July 23). Facial recognition surveillance software among potential Fort Bend ISD security upgrades under consideration for November school bond referendum. Chron. Retrieved from https://www.chron.com/neighborhood/sugarland/news/article/Facial-recognition-surveillance-software-among-13097658.php
Social media, social life: Teens reveal their experiences. (2018, September 10). Common Sense Media. Retrieved from https://www.commonsensemedia.org/social-media-social-life-infographic
Ujifusa, A. (2018, October 7). Betsy DeVos has approved every ESSA plan. Read what’s in them. Education Week. Retrieved from http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/campaign-k-12/2018/10/essa-plan-all-approved-by-devos-started-bottom-here.html
Zimmerman, E. (2018, November 12). What Gartner’s top tech trends for 2019 mean for education. EdTech Magazine. Retrieved from https://edtechmagazine.com/k12/article/2018/11/what-gartners-top-tech-trends-2019-mean-education

About the Author


Ashleigh Lutz

Ashleigh graduated from Arizona State University with a BA in Psychology and a minor in Women and Gender Studies. She spent over three years in higher education developing resources and helping students succeed in online courses. During her tenure at Edgenuity, Ashleigh was eager to support Where Learning Clicks and the team’s commitment to helping teachers and students meet important goals and explore their passions. In addition to writing, a few of Ashleigh’s favorite things include rock climbing, chocolate, and cats.