Five powerful edtech accelerators are influencing the skills and needs of K-12 students and educators, according to a new CoSN report released during the advocacy group’s 2019 conference.

These edtech accelerators are major disruptive shifts in the status quo that redefine the future of education and accelerate the pace of technological change. They vary in speed, speed, the report notes, with some suddenly appearing and others gradually becoming more important over several years.

The five accelerators are: learners as creators; data-driven practices; personalization; design thinking; and building the capacity of human leaders.

Read more: 10 K12 education trends to look for this year

“Innovation is advancing quickly, and that means school technology leaders need to stay on top of the trends powering digital transformations,” says Keith Krueger, CoSN’s CEO. The report is intended to help educators start conversations about how to use these accelerators to influence learning.

Learners as creators: The idea that students don’t have to wait to graduate to change the world is motivating schools to embrace real-world learning experiences that promote student-generated ideas and solutions.

Data-driven practices: Schools are increasingly leveraging data about the student experience, measuring engagement and skills acquisition to inform decisions about curriculum, hiring, technology investments, and more.

Personalization: Just as the consumer sector has exploded with new ways to customize user experiences, products, and recommendations, schools are finding ways to provide individualized learning pathways and promote student voice, choice, and autonomy.

Design thinking: This strategy allows for creative exploration and offers a way to ultimately formulate solutions to challenges based on empathy and iterative processes.

Building the capacity of human leaders: When leaders take actions to strengthen the professional community of their schools, providing and incentivizing opportunities for leaders and educators to learn and master new skills, it opens the door to innovative practices and approaches that can further student engagement.

Read more: 4 ways to focus on edtech in 2019

The report spotlights two edtech accelerators in particular—learners as creators and personalization—that present especially impactful opportunities to educators. Both accelerators put students at the center of learning and are already gaining traction in some places.

To focus on learners are creators, the CoSN Advisory Board recommends that educators:

  • Take an expansive view of creativity
  • Integrate creative learning with the core instructional program
  • Develop meaningful literacies
  • Pay attention to rigor
  • Set challenging parameters to deepen learning
  • Broaden assessment

Research from CASTLE founding director Scott McLeod identifies four changes to personalizing learning:
1. Moving from factual recall to higher-level thinking
2. Moving from teacher control to student agency
3. Moving from traditional activities to authentic work
4. Moving from traditional resources to a technology-rich environment

If educators want to start expand acceptance of these two particular edtech accelerators, they can start conversations around leveraging them for opportunities:
1. What would it take for your students to experience innovative education?
2. How could you help students become agents of their own learning and creative learners?
3. How could you help teachers personalize learning for every student?
4. How would you have to change your education system, curriculum, instruction, and assessments to embed creative and personalized learning into the student experience?
5. What changes would you have to make in your learning environments and spaces?

Laura Ascione
About the Author:

Laura Ascione

Laura Ascione is the Managing Editor, Content Services at eSchool Media. She is a graduate of the University of Maryland's prestigious Philip Merrill College of Journalism. Find Laura on Twitter: @eSN_Laura