Why the Next 10 Years of Edtech Will Crush the Last 10

With some of the biggest names in technology focusing their creative and financial assets on education, edtech will be at the forefront of education reform over the next decade. Bill Gates is investing billions and Mark Zuckerberg 100’s of millions, into the future of learning. We expect Edtech to transform the way we teach and learn.

Standardized testing and core standards are not going away, so many educators are turning to edtech to help them negotiate the demands of this exacting system. There is a growing relationship between these core standards and the personalized learning initiatives being funded by Gates and Zuckerberg. With these big investors at the table, educators are hopeful that the influx of edtech will move well beyond achieving benchmarks on standardized tests

Inventive Edtech and Personalized Learning

Adaptive learning will personalize learning in our classrooms. Adaptive education, at its best, is using technology to measure a student’s strengths and weaknesses and then adapting their education accordingly. When the goal of adaptive education is to develop the student, not meet pre-established standards, then real education can take place.

Blended Education is another technique growing in significance. Classrooms will see an increase in the use of technology blended with traditional student-teacher interaction. Driven by algorithms; students will be placed in groups and given assignments. Students will often work collaboratively, broken into groups through a calculation of strengths, weaknesses, and interests.

A tech-created schedule will move students through the day according to progress, focus, and interest while integrating each person’s needs with the needs of the class as a whole. Teachers will float from group to group as the face-to-face tutor and coach and periodically teach a lesson. NPR reviews this type of classroom this report, Meet the Classroom of the Future. Do you see it?

Envisioning the Classroom of the Future

Imagine the hands-on fun and learning that happens at play stations throughout a preschool room, then add some really cool edtech tools like an earthquake table, cutting laser, high-tech microscopes, or 3-D printer. Then give the students real-life research to complete. Now you have imagined a makerspace, a blended workspace growing in popularity.

A makerspace is a shared learning experience long used in the Maker Culture,  but now being honed for classrooms. They combine DIY crafts, manufacturing, engineering, and technology. Makerspaces are not limited to K12; Colleges are developing maker spaces to prepare students to solve real life problems. These stations can be mobile and shared, to decrease the cost.

Makerspaces fit well into the growing trends of Project Based Learning and Deeper Learning. Project-based Learning is learning which happens as students complete authentic projects. Deeper Learning is the process in which students meet and work with other students from around the world (Global Collaboration) as well as with experts in the field, through the use of technology.

STEAM, Virtual, Augmented…Enhancing Reality

Budget cuts in the arts have limited these subjects to “specials,” offered weekly, but ‘the right brain is a terrible thing to waste.’ The right brain is the birthplace of innovation, and that is what STEM is all about. STEAM is the integration of the arts into STEM. Edweek offers this overview of STEAM education, and in this clip of the Landfill Harmonic from Paraguay we see and hear the beauty the addition of the Arts adds to STEM.

Finally, we look at the exciting use of virtual and augmented reality in the classroom. Techtimes gives an overview of virtual reality and augmented reality. You can be sure that the blended classroom will make use of these fabulous tools. The virtual reality experience is separate from reality (think goggles or helmet). With augmented reality, virtual reality interacts with the real world. For example, studying the night sky in real-time with a virtual overlay.

Imagining the edtech reformation of education, we will see over the next ten years; you may feel like you are falling through the rabbit hole. But don’t be frightened, just buckle-up and enjoy the fall into the brilliant future of edtech and education.

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