Experts share their ed-tech predictions for the new year

“The charter school sector in states such as California will lead the way in creating blended-learning models. Despite the state’s poor digital learning policies, because of the state’s budget crisis, these schools increasingly have no choice but to reinvent how they operate if they want to survive and serve students well.

“In 2012, several states will follow Utah’s lead and implement policies based on the recommendations of Digital Learning Now!, a national campaign co-chaired by former governors Jeb Bush and Bob Wise. Expect a serious push in at least two states for policies that allow dollars to follow students down to the online course and pay in part for the success of students, and expect several states to reconsider their policies and regulations around seat time and look to New Hampshire’s lead on competency-based learning.

“Powered by increasing disruption in the mobile learning space, thanks to devices such as Amazon’s Kindle Fire and the $35 Aakash Android tablet from India, expect mobile learning to explode not only in the United States but also worldwide—especially in developing countries. Increasingly, hardware and connectivity will not be the barriers to students accessing high-quality digital learning. With the growth of open-source, free, and user-generated content such as that in the Khan Academy, the future of learning and innovation in education is bright.”

Michael Horn, executive director of education for the Innosight Institute and co-author of Disrupting Class: How Disruptive Innovation Will Change the Way the World Learns

“2012 will usher in an exponential growth in the opportunity to learn for all Americans, as we welcome newly evolved and more valuable digital environments designed and built by brilliant designers, entrepreneurs, and engineers, informed by researchers and educators, and with student-centered, personalized learning in mind.

“We will see expanded broadband access, and new assurances that all learners will have access in and out of school. We will see improved tools for content and resources to be found, improved, shared, and found again. Learning Analytics will spin up a whole new ecosystem of evidence and information in full support of learning about learning.

“And, we will see social networks deployed to more fully connect and inspire the incredibly important work of education professionals.”

Karen Cator, director of the office of Educational Technology for the U.S. Department of Education

“The first prediction is that a student learning revolution will take off. Over the last few years, educational technologies have flooded into classrooms nationwide. In 2012, the ed-tech boom … will blossom into a true revolution in student learning occurring largely outside classroom walls.  Driving that revolution will be (1) the creative integration of technology and digital content into curriculum; (2) an increased focus by school administrators on tracking student performance data, and the thoughtful analysis and application of this data by educators to design personalized instruction; and (3) an increased focus on supporting educators as they gain and sustain the skills needed to address the evolving needs of students. Together, these elements will drive a sharp upturn in creative and innovative blended learning opportunities for students occurring in traditional and non-traditional settings.

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eSchool News Staff

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