edtech trends 2017

15 Hot Edtech Trends for 2017

Educators and tech leaders look back on 2016; predict where edtech trends in teaching and learning will head this new year.

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With every new year comes new ideas. To get a glimpse into what the next 12 months will hold for everything from professional development to digital learning, and from communication to virtual reality, 15 ed tech luminaries looked back on 2016 edtech trends to help predict what’s in store for 2017. Here’s what they said:


stephen_downes2016 was The Year of Video

By Stephen Downes, National Research Council

Now there are different ways things can be a ‘trend of the year’. They can be something everybody uses; that’s how 2012 became the year of the MOOC, and why virtual reality will no doubt be widely cited as the trend of 2016. As that sort of trend video has come and gone. YouTube and Netflix are old hat; everybody’s watching video online today.

But what’s new is that in 2016 video became something that everybody is making as well. We see this in various ways. Sharing and streaming video games has become widely popular and has grown to be one of the major uses of YouTube.  So has sharing and streaming just about everything else. From FailArmy to GoPro bits it’s like the old saying: if there’s no video, it didn’t happen.

The rise of video carried over into education. MOOCs continued to increase in number and attendance. Conferences ran streaming video events. Lecture capture became mature and campus video management and hosting services began to attract attention. Duke University ran a widely read lecture capture survey. Companies like Kaltura, Panopto and Warpwire battled through the year for market share.

Video may feel like it has been here a long time. And it has. But it surged in big way in 2016, below the radar, but touching lives like never before.

Stephen Downes works in the Learning and Performance Support Systems program at the National Research Council, a multi-year effort to develop personal learning technology and learning analytics. He is one of the originators of the Massive Open Online Course, writes about online and networked learning, has authored learning management and content syndication software, and is the author of the widely read e-learning newsletter OLDaily.

Video Observation for Teacher PD

By Rebekah Ralph, LaGrange College Department of Education

The use of video observation to provide feedback and support to teacher candidates is an ed tech trend that will experience significant growth in 2017. The LaGrange College Department of Education plans to continue to use ADVANCEfeedback® to support our teacher candidates on their journey to becoming teachers with exemplary knowledge, skills, and dispositions. Teacher candidates will use personal classroom videos uploaded to the platform to self-reflect on pedagogy, classroom management, and interactions with students; they’ll also share videos with peers and receive feedback from one another. These digital professional learning communities allow teacher candidates to receive support from a peer prospective, but they also allow teacher candidates to view content, pedagogy, and management strategies in diverse classroom settings. Additionally, we will use ADVANCEfeedback as a pedagogical tool in our courses as candidates reflect collaboratively around a common video before, during, and after class. This collaboration allows candidates to view theory in practice and makes learning on campus more authentic.

Rebekah Ralph is the instructor of educational technology and edTPA coordinator at LaGrange College Department of Education (GA). Follow her on Twitter at @TeachitRalph.

mmoschetto_highresheadshotUsing Technology for Energy Savings

By Marc Moschetto, Dude Solutions

In K-12 specifically, the 1:1 computing versus Bring-Your-Own-Device debate was a significant topic in 2016, with advantages and disadvantages to both.

Looking ahead, a renewed focus on energy will take place in 2017. Energy usage and costs are rising substantially in K-12 (it’s the 2nd largest operations budget line-item after labor). Utility costs are also climbing, especially HVAC and cooling usage in facilities. However, school districts are beginning to use technology to achieve energy efficiencies and savings. Additionally, one of the most prominent trends we’re seeing is the need to provide increasingly granular analysis and reporting. By leveraging data, public schools can demonstrate they’re being good stewards of taxpayer funds and both public and private schools can justify staffing and capital planning levels. Individuals from operations and maintenance management are using data in a more insightful and actionable way, which includes benchmarking their own performance against that of their peers.

A proven technology marketing executive with 20+ years of experience and deep Cloud/software-as-a-service domain expertise, Marc Moschetto serves as Dude Solutions’ Chief Marketing Officer. Marc is responsible for increasing Dude Solutions’ brand visibility and driving demand generation via a strategic and comprehensive integrated marketing program. Previously, Marc served as vice president of global marketing for WorkForce Software where his strategic and tactical leadership helped to significantly increase the company’s revenue and valuation.

The Boom of Real and Virtual Creation

By Kathy Schrock, Wilkes University

The trend I witnessed blossoming in 2016 was the makerspace. In conjunction with the studies of how to make classroom environments inviting and usable for students, makerspaces of all types have been put in classrooms, libraries and common areas in schools. Whether the makerspace is a technology-based one with a 3D printer and electronic components or a make-and-take area with all types of art supplies, having a makerspace to support curriculum activities and projects is a wonderful enhancement to the school.

One trend I am passionately interested in, and I see becoming more widespread in schools in 2017, is virtual reality. Not the tethered headsets and computer-based environments, but the simple Google Cardboard-compatible headsets with a smartphone as the “computer.” Bringing the global experience into the classroom with immersive images and videos can enhance lessons and is informative and engaging for students. In addition, there are apps that allow students to create their own 360° images and videos with the smartphone and many online places to host them. Students can share images from their school and community with the world! Tools are also available that allow students to add hotspots to their online images to provides links to additional information about the image for those that view it. I find this creation of 360° images enhances student skillsets in visual literacy, technology literacy, and attention to audience.

Kathy Schrock is an online adjunct professor for Wilkes University (PA) and an independent educational technologist. She has been supporting teachers as they utilize technology to support teaching and learning for over twenty years and is well-known for her online resources for teachers.

kellyWhole-Class Learning is Here

By Kelly Bielefeld, Clearwater Intermediate and Middle School

As we reflect on the year that was in 2016, the Presidential election continues to loom as the largest event of the year. This will likely have a significant impact on the K-12 landscape for the next four years when it comes to charter schools, Title programs, and common core standards.  This election also continues the trend toward higher levels of state control over educational decisions. We expect for a Trump administration to continue this trend of de-federalization of education.

Turning to 2017, whole-class learning is taking off. While whole-class learning may seem old school, the fact is whole-class learning is a key aspect in the modern classroom.  Boxlight seems to be one company that understands how to integrate whole-class technology like their new ProColor Series of Interactive Flat Panel displays along with its MimioMobile application that fosters student collaboration and student engagement by linking all types of mobile devices in classrooms, whether owned by the students or the school district. Once equipped with the app, almost any device ‒ including Chromebooks and Apple or Android products ‒ can work together for effective collaborative learning as well as for formative assessment. As with any emerging technology, there is skepticism about effectiveness.  Regardless, the tool used well in any classroom can increase relevance for student and give them an experience like never before.  It is one to watch for in 2017.

Kelly Bielefeld is the principal at Clearwater Intermediate and Middle School, Clearwater USD 264 in Clearwater, KS.

(Next page: edtech trends 6-10: Better content, small data and neuroscience)

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