96 edtech predictions for K12 in 2019

What edtech innovations can you anticipate this year?

Matt Dascoli, education strategist, Dell EMC

• In 2019, AR/VR will continued to be explored in the K-12 classroom and as such, there will be a demand for content to create genuine learning experiences. Although the potential to create a deep, immersive, collaborative environment exists today, the structures and delivery mechanisms that comes with packaged content has yet to develop into a powerful enough technology for widespread adoption. As early adopters continue to explore AR/VR technology, we will see a viable market emerge to attract more content developers. In the meantime, we are likely to see more students dip their toe into what could become a more integral part of the learning experience through singular instances of exploration.

Breck DeWitt, education strategist, Dell EMC

• The adoption of hybrid and multi-cloud environments is quickly growing within the education industry. The use of various devices in the classroom is up among students and teachers, from computing devices to AR, VR, and Internet of Things (IoT) devices and beyond. K-12 is faced with significantly more data; as a result, there is a need for a flexible and budget-friendly method to securely store and access it. Schools will double multi-cloud data-center usage by 2025.

Caroline Fahmy, President & CEO, Educational Data Systems

• Teachers, schools, districts, and states will strive to balance assessment for statewide accountability and assessment for classroom instruction. The assessment mode—paper and pencil or computer-based—will become less important than the content and purpose of each assessment. Educators at all levels will need to strengthen their assessment-data literacy to be effective in using the resulting data.

• School districts will recognize the usefulness of geographic information system tools for analyzing multiple types of data and displaying them on maps. High-visibility adverse events such as school shootings, hurricanes, earthquakes, and wildfires will bring disaster and recovery plans to the top of the planning queue, and high-quality maps that link the locations of students and schools with other data will help in that effort.

Mike Durham, founder and CEO, Peachjar

• Schools will double down on community connections. Students are in school for 1,000 hours every year, and district leaders are increasingly aware that students’ success ultimately also hinges on what happens during the remaining 4,000 waking hours. I predict there will be a stronger partnership between schools and local community to elevate student outcomes. Community and after-school programs ranging from sports to arts to STEM not only help develop leadership, creative and critical-thinking skills, but participation in them also help improve school attendance and academic achievement.

Richard Fuller, CEO, Impero Software 

• Schools and districts will increase their attention to the well being and mental health of their students, seeing this as a contributor to improved academic performance and as an issue in its own right. School counselors—who oversee an ever increasing number of students—will be sought out by school administrators seeking to reduce risks of students harming themselves or others. Technology providers will come forward with ideas to reduce such risks, more affordably and more closely aligned to educational purposes than alternatives.

• School IT administrators will find themselves (even) more involved in the classroom in 2019. As technology becomes more pervasive in the classroom, IT administrators will be called on to provide insights as to which applications are really contributing and how teachers are making the best use of the tech solutions in place. Expect to see a year of analytical tools designed to help with these tasks.

Adam Geller, founder and CEO, Edthena 

• When teachers leave the classroom for PD, the lost learning time with students is costly. Offering more job-embedded professional learning using technology like video reflection will keep teachers in classrooms while enabling them to collaborate with and learn from others.

Scott Glinski, CEO, Skyward

• While the idea of data interoperability isn’t new, I see districts making a stronger push for adherence to data standards before forming new partnerships with vendors. When integration is done right, the result is fewer logins, automated data transfers, and a more enjoyable experience in the platforms districts are using.

• I’m hearing more and more from district leaders who want to move beyond simply tracking data to giving the people in the classrooms and business office more direct access to the data they need to make faster and more informed decisions.

• When it comes to new technology adoptions, there is definitely a trend toward putting the user experience above features and functionality. I’m excited to see more vendors forming user panels so the people using the products have more of a voice in the development of those products.

Matthew Glotzbach, CEO, Quizlet 

• Students will increasingly seek their own resources for learning. With technology at their fingertips, they are taking control of the sources and brands they absorb information from, creating a greater need to connect the classroom to the digital world. Meeting students where they naturally gather information will be key for school technology leaders.

• “Bite-size” education resources (versus all-in-one textbooks) will become the norm. As teachers continue to pull in outside resources to help illustrate teachings and provide examples, we’ll see expanded use of teachers leveraging a technology platform (from a simple online presentation to a more involved LMS interface like Google Classroom) as a foundation for housing multimedia like videos, images, links to activities and study material, etc., to teach their subject matter.

• The overemphasis on math and language learning will give way to a focus on educating the whole person, including SEL, collaboration, the arts, and more. We will move closer to an equal importance of humanities and science and that coupling will pave the way for new, emerging courses that focus on skills like financial literacy, team collaboration, and personal well being.

Shai Goitein, CEO, POWERUP Toys

• While coding will remain a popular skill to learn, we will see more focus on classic hands-on engineering activities. The U.S. recently landed a probe on Mars, which required mechanical and aerospace engineers, not just programmers.

• As more and more toy companies focus on STEM toys, educators are finding they make great tools for introducing science concepts. Companies who want to support education will provide clear explanations of how these toys integrate with NGSS to make it easier for teachers to pick the right ones.

John Harrington, CEO, Funds For Learning 

• Online resources engage student minds, offering them high-quality, personalized instructional tools and new opportunities for collaborative learning. However, getting students connected to the Internet has proven to be a daunting and expensive challenge for most schools. In 2019, I believe we will see progress being made. An astounding 64 percent of school districts have indicated they will be upgrading their campus wi-fi networks by 2021. Much of that work begins now. Schools are planning dramatic updates to their computer networks, expanding classroom capacity, and extending wi-fi coverage to every corner of their campus. A majority of this work will be accomplished with aid from the federal E-rate funding program. In 2019, I expect the Federal Communications Commission to begin an overhaul of the regulations that govern support for on-campus wi-fi. Building on enhancements made to the program in 2014, I estimate that we will end the year with fewer roadblocks to funding and more financial aid where it is needed the most.

Jason Innes, manager of curriculum development and teacher training, KinderLab Robotics, Inc.

• Incorporating robotics and coding into everyday classroom education, versus having a computer lab or robotics hour. Integrating computer science, coding, and robotics into the core classroom curriculum allows teachers and students to use these technologies in creative ways. Coding is a new literacy: Like writing, coding is a means of self-expression and exploration of interests. Incorporating robotics and coding as part of cross-curricular projects will allow students to develop STEM skills in an authentic, personally meaningful way.

• Theorists and educators are exploring the connections between computational thinking and the cognitive skills developed in early childhood. A variety of states are leading the way in adopting standards across K–12. As these efforts grow, more educators and policymakers will see the importance of addressing computer science and computational thinking starting in pre-K.

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