96 edtech predictions for K12 in 2019

What edtech innovations can you anticipate this year?

Dave Jackson, president, The Connections Model

• PD is undergoing a dramatic change. The two-day intensive offsite is a dying breed. We live in a streaming video Netflix-driven world, and teachers want their PD on-demand. Teachers require learning on their time, when and where they need it, so it works for them. Stay tuned as next-generation PD is coming to your device of choice.

• Edtech and SEL are converging. Schools are recognizing the importance of supporting their students’ social and emotional needs. Teachers understand the impact SEL has on academics. The next phase of education will be focused on teaching students the skills to drive their own learning.

Cindy Jiban, lead ELA content specialist, NWEA

• In many states, students are expected to read proficiently by the end of third grade. To meet this goal, schools and districts are expanding their K-2 reading focus beyond phonological awareness or phonics to put more focus on reading comprehension and vocabulary, and assessing these in efficient and engaging ways even before kids can read. Early literacy assessments are evolving to meet the full array of early literacy needs, using technologies such as computer adaptive testing and automatic speech processing to help educators more quickly and precisely identify and address each student’s individual reading challenges.

Dr. Vernon Johnson, CEO, Accelerate Learning 

• The potential that AR brings to K-12 education has been discussed for a few years now, but I believe that 2019 is the year in which the trend will take the education market by storm. AR can help keep students engaged, spark their interest, and in the case of interactive lessons where all students are involved in the learning process at the same time, it can help improve teamwork skills. But the most obvious advantage is that it provides more visual references and context to subjects, allowing students to better understand and retain content. This is especially true in the STEM subjects where merely reading about complex theories and concepts often leaves students confused, bored, and disengaged. These benefits are widely understood; however, the high cost of putting AR-compatible equipment into students’ hands and the lack of affordable apps that integrate AR content with standards-aligned curricula have prevented educators from embracing the technology at a more rapid pace.

Here’s why that’s about to change: More than 80 percent of Americans aged 12 to 17 now have cell phones. And unlike VR, which requires hardware along with apps, almost anyone can use AR apps on their smartphones. Further, thanks to the 2018 introductions of the Apple ARKit and Google’s ARCore, developers now have access to some effective frameworks to create AR apps. Last month, Accelerate Learning announced a partnership with BBC Learning to align thousands of videos, news, and AR segments from the BBC library with the STEMscopes digital STEM curriculum. Through partnerships like this, teachers will be able to use an array of pedagogical and technological approaches to instill a sense of wonder, curiosity, and discovery in students while teaching the foundations of STEM literacy and understanding.

Anthony Kim, CEO, Education Elements 

• We will increasingly see a shortage of people going into and staying in education. While educators have the benefit of a clear purpose, the working conditions are not competitive to other industries.

• We will start seeing school districts completely redesigning their organization, to try to figure out how to get more done with less.

• Innovations will be around how we provide embedded PD for our teachers and administrators. While schools of education will still be largely traditional, educators will seek non-traditional sources to develop their professional capabilities.

Scott Kinney, president of K-12 education, Discovery Education

• In 2019, I believe the ongoing movement to make instructional content “smart” will have a tremendous impact on teaching and learning. The creation of smart content really began with the rise of embedded formative assessment. With the integration of formative assessment tools into digital content, the need to halt instruction to assess learning disappeared. Now, assessment can be a largely unseen part of the learning process that, through results dash-boarded for teachers both by standard and by student, is helping educators nationwide make real-time instructional decisions. Supporting the next phase in the development of smart content is the growing access to AI and, in particular, machine learning. The ability of technology to use statistical techniques to “learn” or improve performance on a specific task with data inputs—what is now called machine learning—will not ever replace teachers. However, this development will play a significant role in developing smart content in the coming year that will empower teachers as never before to scale best practice in the classroom.

Shannon Leininger, vice president of U.S. public sector state, local and education (SLED) East, Cisco

• As the introduction of forward-thinking technology continues to increase in education, administrators will need to start thinking of ways to create a holistic school security system. In 2019, we’ll see more schools turning to security solutions that have the capabilities to monitor the network before, during, and after a cyber breach, as well as a solution that connects all systems together in case of an emergency. A holistic system that uses one password and login will make it easier to gain access quickly when a cyber threat turns real.

• Currently, school CIOs focus much of their attention on cybersecurity. 2019 will be the year when we see a switch of CIOs focusing more on education as new security solutions will allow them to focus less on worrying about a breach.

Bob Lenz, executive director, Buck Institute for Education 

• We will see a greater demand for project-based learning (PBL) from educators and the families they serve in 2019. There has been an increase in national exposure for schools doing PBL, including the White House promoting PBL as a teaching methodology for STEM and a recent NPR segment showing that PBL leads to authentic learning. This will lead to a greater demand for PBL as a solution to teach 21st-century skills.

• We will see a greater demand for edtech solutions to manage projects. The focus on PBL has led to companies developing new systems to support and facilitate PBL. We anticipate this market will expand as more school districts seek out tech tools to help them manage projects.

• More schools will use PBL to help address educational equity issues. Educational equity is an important issue for schools. PBL is a teaching methodology allowing all students, regardless of their background, to have meaningful and high-quality educational learning opportunities, thus supporting educational equity.

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