As we wave farewell to 2023, we’re looking ahead to edtech trends in 2024 with optimism for education as a whole.
Moving away from the pandemic, educators still grapple with learning loss and academic disparities and inequities.
In 2023, a new popular kid in town, better known as AI, dominated headlines and prompted debates around how students could abuse–and should use–the generative tool for learning.
The future of education is changing, and global workforce demands will be influenced by the need for knowledge around and skills in fast-growing technologies such as AI. This begs the question: What’s next for education?
What are the projections for edtech?
We asked edtech executives, stakeholders, and experts to share some of their thoughts and predictions about where they think edtech is headed in 2024.
Here’s what they had to say:
Text-based AI interfaces provide an opportunity to help close the digital divide…and avoid an impending AI divide. Ten years ago, when we began building equitable, offline-first education technology for the 2/3 of the world who didn’t have internet access, many people told us to just wait and the gap would close naturally. But we knew that unless we proactively built bridges to ensure everyone could be included in the benefits of new technologies, each cycle of innovation would leave people further behind. Today, over 2.9 billion people are still without internet, and the rate of internet growth has actually slowed. However, one of the exciting things about text-based AI interfaces is that we can now leverage low-connectivity channels like SMS to bridge high-tech online innovations to communities who would otherwise not have access. So the big push in 2024 will be finding ways to support building capacity and awareness around the potential benefits and effective use of these tools, and finding equitable funding models to ensure free access for all, so it doesn’t become yet another tool that further entrenches the advantages of those who already have the most.
Jamie Alexandre, Co-Founder & Executive Director, Learning Equality
Buckle up and enjoy the ride! 2024 is going to be either an awesome roller coaster ride or a roller coaster ride with unexpected turns resulting in silenced screams. I predict two issues will take center stage- artificial intelligence (AI) and cybersecurity. With AI, we have just begun to see the possibilities this technology can provide for education. Although AI is not new in other industries, it’s still an emerging trend in education and we are finally allowing ourselves a glimpse of hope, skepticism and wonderment. From how to delve into the nuances of student learning and removing the heavy lift of teachers trying to figure out how to individualize instruction, to enabling someone like me to speak in seven languages so that I may express ideas or collaborate with others from around the world, AI holds endless potential. On the down side, as the technology evolves it will also enable hackers to be more adept at infiltrating systems that store sensitive student data. I predict a greater focus on cybersecurity so schools can protect our students and themselves from these unexpected (and unwelcome) twists and turns. No doubt 2024 will be an interesting year and I, for one, am looking forward to 2024!
Dr. Maria Armstrong, Executive Director, Association of Latino Administrators and Superintendents (ALAS)
While digital and virtual simulations can help students understand complex science and engineering concepts, these tools should be coupled with meaningful hands-on activities that show students the limits of models and the challenges of making things work in the real world. When students can bring models to life and test them in real world situations, they are expanding beyond paper and screen into the world around them.
Michael Arquin, Founder, KidWind
The integration of AI in education has the potential to revolutionize the way students learn, especially for non-traditional learners. AI can deliver content to students in a manner that supports each student’s unique learning styles and preferences. This customized approach helps all students practice and learn new concepts in a way that works for them. Additionally, AI can shorten the feedback loop on student work, allowing students to quickly identify any misunderstandings they may have. This helps build strong retrieval pathways and helps students more efficiently master concepts and skills. Immediate feedback also helps students develop self-efficacy. Knowing the results of their efforts shortly after completing an assignment lets students know both when they have mastered a concept and where they need to do additional work. Another advantage of AI is the time it can save teachers in the creation of personalized learning experiences. By leveraging AI technologies, educators can overcome the limitations of time and resources, offering a level of personalization that enhances the learning experience for each individual student. This approach acknowledges and accommodates the unique needs, strengths, and learning styles of learners.
Kris Astle, Global Education Strategist, SMART Technologies
Far too many students continue to struggle with reading, with post-pandemic recovery remaining slow—and in some cases, stagnant—among our young readers. There is a clear need for science-driven curriculum, and the thoughtful implementation of emerging technologies. For instance, new AI tools are providing educators with an invaluable resource—more time for individualized instruction, with increased specificity. I’m optimistic that proven, coherent technologies in the hands of a committed teacher will achieve the goal of more confident, successful readers.
Elizabeth Bassford, Vice President of Content & Implementation, Curriculum Associates
As the multidisciplinary nature of astronomy is recognized, schools should look to expand curriculums with more astronomy-focused courses in 2024. The growing space industry requires a diverse workforce beyond the conventional role of engineering. A range of fields including healthcare, law, business, entertainment, and food are increasingly involved in space-related initiatives. Therefore, inspiring students’ interests in space topics through astronomy education can cultivate the broad skill sets and passions demanded across many sectors within the expanding space economy. By fostering the next generation’s passion for space, schools can help develop a versatile workforce ready for the diverse jobs of the future in the domains of space exploration and development.
Kachine Blackwell, Director of Product Marketing, Slooh
Leaders will look for evidence-based wellness programs. With increased funding challenges and various political pressures surrounding wellness programs, science will drive decision-making. Education leaders will continue to put resources toward wellness programs, but with greater scrutiny and demand for evidence-based data. This trend follows the pattern of other public interest phenomena. A crisis brews, followed by a building realization of the problem. Organizations and institutions spring into action, including gathering information about the scope of the problem and implementing emergency solutions. Now we are in the phase of sorting out which solutions have the best results so we can consolidate learning and direct resources appropriately. We now have plenty of data about our ParentGuidance.org program to help decision-makers understand implement programs at scale that hold the promise to improve youth mental health and reduce suicide.
Anne Brown, CEO & President, Cook Center for Human Connection
More meaningful, tailored school-home communication will be imperative to supporting academic recovery and addressing chronic absenteeism. In 2024, developing more meaningful school-home relationships and partnering with families to support better student outcomes will be imperative. Currently, more than 25 percent of K-12 students are chronically absent and most students have ground to make up in math and reading. Research shows that the average student would need more than 4 additional months of instruction to catch up to pre-COVID reading levels. At the same time, there’s a gap between how parents and caregivers think their children are doing and the reality. Many families aren’t aware if their child is behind academically, or may not understand how absenteeism is impacting their child’s progress. We will see more districts leveraging real-time data so families can understand more than just what their child’s grades are. Communications with student-level data tied to outcomes feel relevant and actionable to families. School-home communications will focus on driving meaningful results, promoting student success, and engaging all families. Meaningful connections with families encourage engagement that supports better student outcomes.
Russ Davis, Founder and CEO, SchoolStatus
The evolution of technology in education spaces is certainly not slowing down in 2024. As an integral part of learning today, educators and students deserve new and improved ways to display and interact with classroom content, but to be successful, these tools need to be flexible and user-friendly. One thing that cannot be denied is the disconnect in today’s education technology between AV and IT and various domains. Most educators and students are not technology professionals and prefer classroom solutions that are simple to use and easily work with the various programs, software and other hardware which educators have grown accustomed to. Historically there has been a limit to seamless integration across various technology solutions within today’s classrooms. However, projector manufacturers are working towards solving some of these problems with their latest classroom display technology.
Remi Del Mar, Senior Product Manager for K-12 Projectors, Epson America
I believe the mental well-being of students and educators will continue to be a top focus in 2024. This past year presented numerous challenges for educators, leaving many of us scrambling to do our best to meet the rising needs with limited time and resources – which isn’t sustainable. We need self-care not just for students, but for teachers, too. Teachers will need tools to make their mental health a priority in 2024, as the only way to stay calm and carry on in the midst of so many to-dos is to replenish their own well-being first. A free download called ‘Take What You Need’ helps to infuse more calm, joy and gratitude into even the busiest routine. Incorporating proven techniques into our lives and keeping them front and center will be critical in a year that’s expected to bring its own unique challenges.
Katie Dorn, MA, LSC, MFT, General Manager, Catapult Learning & Co-Founder, EmpowerU
The ESSER fiscal cliff is here; reliable and actionable data will be key to investing in effective efforts. As we approach the impending ESSER fiscal cliff, states and school districts across the country will be grappling with the abrupt loss of federal pandemic relief funding. They have about $70 billion left to spend this school year—about 10 percent on top of their normal budgets—and then the money runs out. Schools have relied on those funds for the creation or expansion of summer programs and tutoring services, the purchase of high-quality curriculum and instructional materials, and a plethora of other efforts to address learning gaps students experienced through the COVID-19 pandemic. 2024 will be a mix of states and districts spending their remaining funds while also looking to the future. As the one-time funds expire, it will be more important than ever for education communities to have access to reliable and actionable data to know which interventions have been most effective in helping students grow, and where to continue investing strategically amidst shrinking budgets. Policymakers will be looking to leverage their existing data sources to better understand those trends and the remaining gaps, and they will continue to look for innovative approaches to learning and ways to assess the needs of students.
Lindsay Dworkin, SVP of Policy & Government Affairs, NWEA
The pendulum has swung quickly toward the Science of Reading. I can see a world where we overcorrect, however, and start to view it in a very narrow way. Yes, it’s important, especially in the early stages of learning to read in K-2 classrooms, that teachers align with the Science of Reading. But that doesn’t mean everybody must do everything the exact same way. Using a science of literacy-based instructional approach doesn’t always look identical. Teachers should feel free to put their marks on it. They need the power to exercise their skill sets. It’s important to think about with early learners–not that we shouldn’t follow a scope and sequence, as a systematic approach is necessary. But how teachers implement that scope and sequence, the fun activities and what they do to make their classroom feel like theirs isn’t something they should ever lose.
Laura Fischer, VP, Learning Design & Content Development, Learning A-Z
Looking ahead, I anticipate that in 2024 the generative AI training wheels will come off and propel adoption of this technology. It is increasingly clear that AI will become a ubiquitous part of life. Therefore, it is in the educators’ best interest to prepare students effectively, ensuring they are well-equipped to coexist with generative AI in the workplace in the future. Educators can take the lead by incorporating opportunities to work with generative AI-powered tools. For instance, traditionally static presentations can be infused with dynamic generative AI elements, fostering a more efficient and engaging experience. This not only aligns with the evolving technological landscape but also prepares students for a future where collaboration with AI will be integral to various professional domains.
Jose Florido, Education Lead & Chief Market Development, U.S., Freepik
Cities and states will utilize dynamic policy making as they reach data maturity. With the investment of SaaS technologies and increased data sharing between the public and private sectors, cities and states begin to utilize data in near real-time for budgeting and policy making. Rather than taking eight months to calculate and aggregate home values to inform property taxes that will shape public budgets, policymakers can analyze this data as it’s published to avoid a budget crisis in eight months. Additionally, policymakers can accurately account for future budget allocation for roads, schools, and public safety. SaaS technologies now make it possible to expedite support of foster care providers, match appropriate providers with children, and then help allocate social and financial resources to those providers on behalf of children.
Jeff Frazier, Head of Global Public Sector, Snowflake
In 2024, the focus will be on reimagining education with AI at its core. It’s not about merely repackaging traditional learning methods with AI; it’s about innovatively leveraging AI to transform the educational experience. Virtual learning assistants, or mentors, will, with human overseers, autonomously support personalized development: Imagine personalized learning journeys powered by AI agents that bring relevant topics to your students’ attention, based on your interests.
Graham Glass, CEO & Founder, CYPHER Learning
Finding new and innovative ways to support teachers will continue to be a priority for schools and districts this coming year and beyond. At St. Vrain, we’ve implemented artificial intelligence to provide teachers with extra support and to deliver high-quality, meaningful, and relevant professional learning opportunities. For example, this year our district launched the Exploration AI program to boost educators’ use and understanding of this emerging technology through self-directed, gamified learning. We have also continued to utilize the AI Coach by Edthena platform to help teachers reflect on their practice, take action steps toward instructional improvements, and measure their progress on student outcomes.
Courtney Groskin, Instructional Learning Coach, St. Vrain Valley Schools, Longmont, Colo.
Our recent research found that families, especially those with a lower household income are less likely to have access to paper-based technologies like printers, scanners, envelopes, and checkbooks, and they want to be able to use online systems to enroll their children and pay for tuition or school-related fees. Therefore, in the coming year I predict an increase in districts adopting technology to provide online options for everything from enrollment and tuition payments, to lottery and choice program applications. By improving access to district systems and processes, school leaders will be able to better serve and meet the needs and expectations of the families they serve.
Matthew Hancock, Director of Customer Success & Services, Scribbles Software
In 2023, the rapid integration of AI into education, surge in cybersecurity attacks against public schools, and increased focus on data security were notable developments within the education space.. While each of these trends impacted the industry in their own rights, all three development served as opportunities for education leaders to shift their approach to teaching, learning, and managing school operations that I foresee continuing in 2024. While we now better understand the potential benefits of AI in education and have seen the release of AI features in products, it’s still in the early stages of development. I believe we can expect significant product announcements in 2024 as the industry continues its exploration of AI’s potential impact across all facets of education – especially when it comes to seeing how mixing the power of AI with student data will help support personalized learning efforts at scale. Another aspect of AI’s impact in education I foresee growing in 2024 is the shift towards ensuring more responsible AI use, notably when it comes to addressing the uncertainties that came with introducing it. In 2024, I expect we will see big advancements towards determining the best way to use AI in both classroom and administrative settings, as well as clearly defining boundaries for ethical use. In 2023, the US witnessed a surge in cybersecurity attacks on schools and districts, making it a primary target. Throughout the year, we’ve seen districts and edtech companies fall victim to these attacks, compelling districts to adopt a defensive stance. This involved updating systems and educating communities about the substantial threat posed by these attacks and the most effective ways to prevent them. Looking ahead to 2024, the industry is poised to transition to an offensive stance. Armed with enhanced knowledge and tools, I expect districts will make the shift to having cybersecurity practices that have been updated, tested, and regularly monitored to thwart successful attacks. The goal is to witness a decline in successful attacks by the end of the year. Finally, I predict data security to be a continued focus for schools in 2024. As we consider what responsible AI use looks like, districts will also have to consider how new AI tools will leverage data without exposing it. As such, I expect combining the benefits of AI (with responsible use) with the best cybersecurity practices will be a key focal point in 2024.
Ryan Imbriale, Vice President of Education Strategy, PowerSchool
Research-based interventions will be needed to help older students with reading fluency. National data show that almost 70 percent of eighth graders are not considered proficient in reading based on 2022 test scores on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), also known as The Nation’s Report Card. In 2024, districts will be working to find research-based interventions to help older students with reading fluency. Reading fluency is essential for effective reading comprehension at any age, but it’s especially critical once students go from ‘learning to read’ to ‘reading to learn.’ Unfortunately, many students leaving elementary school are still not proficient in reading, and that creates a significant barrier to their ability to learn across subjects. Middle and high school teachers will need support to help older students with foundational reading skills to address this problem. Programs that emphasize repeated reading and giving older readers the opportunity to choose practice readings on topics they find engaging will help older readers improve fluency.
Laura Hansen, NWEA Director of Academic Services, NWEA
As 2024 unfolds, the educational landscape embraces the transformative power of AI, crafting a future where accessibility and personalized learning take center stage. We are on track to see an increase in individualized homeschooling and e-learning, accompanied by the rising tide of gamification in education, promising a more engaging and dynamic learning experience.
Diana Heldfond, CEO & Founder, Parallel Learning
Are students learning? Even the best instruction will not be effective if schools don’t provide a safe, positive learning environment, and if students aren’t ready to learn. As we head into 2024, we will see an emphasis on tools that support the needs of the whole child. Social and emotional skills set students up with a strong foundation to understand their learning needs, focus, ask for help when needed and collaborate, so they can reach learning goals. Tools that help students develop these skills will lead to improved academic engagement and growth.”
Evelyn Johnson, VP Research & Development, Aperture Education & Professor Emeritus, Boise State University
Artificial Intelligence in the classroom will continue to be a focus in 2024 throughout education. While many schools are looking at the ramifications of students using AI to “cheat” or “avoid” classwork and writing papers, it is important to note that teachers themselves will be thrust into the AI world. There are advantages of using AI to do things for teachers that they do not enjoy doing. Letting the AI work FOR teachers instead of replacing teachers will be hugely beneficial to the education space in the future. Let the computers tackle the “science” of teaching while the humans focus on the “art” of teaching, exploring the nuances and building the rapport and understanding of individual student needs without being burdened by “randomizing versions of a test” or “figuring out block scheduling parameters” for rotational teaching purposes. AI can also help teachers create and teach in new and exciting virtual spaces which will save time and remove barriers for entry into high quality content and instruction.
Chris Klein, Head of U.S. Education, Avantis Education (Creators of ClassVR)
For years, employers have grappled with the looming concern of a talent shortage – a worry that originated with the retirement of Baby Boomers. However, in 2024, this concern will continue to embed itself at the state-level within schools and school systems across the nation. The talent shortage is no longer just an employer concern, but it is now a shared responsibility involving education systems and state governments. As the talent shortage concern shifts to the state-level, 2024 will be a year of increased collaboration between employers, schools, and government agencies. The goal will be to create a more responsive and adaptable education system that ensures the workforce remains well-equipped to meet the evolving demands of the job market. This transition will mark a turning point in addressing the talent shortage, with the potential to lead to a more robust and dynamic workforce in the years to come. This shift will be driven by several key factors. First, with a rapidly changing job market and evolving skill requirements, schools and education systems will find themselves under increased scrutiny to ensure that students are adequately prepared for the workforce. This will necessitate a reevaluation of curricula, training methods, and the development of future-ready skills. Second, in response to talent-shortage concerns, schools will place greater emphasis on work-based learning, STEM education, and vocational training programs. These efforts will be aimed at equipping students with the skills that are in high demand in the job market and promoting a broader range of career paths.
Jeri Larsen, COO, YouScience
In 2024 and beyond, we will see increased adoption of core curriculum tools and technology by school districts. The pandemic enabled educators worldwide to subscribe to virtual education products to aid in distance learning. This led to an oversaturation in products that students were exposed to, thus watering down the quality of each. Now, districts are placing increased emphasis on the high-quality core curriculum and are looking to technology to support their efforts. There has been significant research that clearly demonstrates that adoption of core materials is the largest driving force in student achievement. School districts want to be more unified with their curriculums, technology will help to lead the way. The teacher shortage and initiative fatigue isn’t slowing down in the new year. To combat this in 2024, districts should look to lean more on technology to support teachers and onboard new ones. The implementation of high-quality instructional materials (HQIMs) can help districts attract new teachers and rapidly upskill their existing staff, with built-in professional learning features.
Abbas Manjee, Co-Founder & Chief Academic Officer, Kiddom
With AI at the forefront of nearly every industry, districts and teachers need help weeding through the AI noise to find appropriate classroom applications. The best of AI is yet to come, and we are only beginning to see the tip of the iceberg with integration into edtech platforms. Any platform can integrate AI quickly for automation, but only the platforms that take the time to deeply understand the best applications for AI will thrive and truly help students and teachers alike. 2024 presents an opportunity for teachers leading the adoption curve to experiment with AI as a tool for assessment. For example, a teacher leveraging ChatGPT to help students draft comprehension prompts that best represent the texts they’re reading is likely to empower students with a higher degree of knowledge than a teacher that bans ChatGPT.
Abbas Manjee, Co-Founder & Chief Academic Officer, Kiddom
Education will be more online and more self-directed. Envisioning the trajectory of education in the coming decade, three discernible trends stand out to me, and I am confident in their continued growth. More online: Firstly, education will undoubtedly become more entrenched in the online sphere. The shift towards digital learning has been palpable, and this trajectory is poised to persist, shaping the way individuals access and engage with educational content. Multi-path: Secondly, the landscape of educational pathways will diversify significantly. Unlike the traditional model where one’s academic journey was largely confined to associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s, or PhD tracks, the future promises a more varied array of programs. This diversification is already evident with the proliferation of boot camps and the emergence of comprehensive multi-credential pathway programs, offering learners a broader spectrum of options. Self-directed: Moreover, the paradigm of education will become increasingly self-directed or self-paced. Learners will have the autonomy to guide their own learning experiences, marking a departure from instructor-mediated programs. This shift towards self-directed education aligns with the evolving needs and preferences of students seeking more personalized and flexible learning journeys. A notable example is the surge in online enrollment at community colleges, signaling a growing inclination towards self-directed learning even within traditional educational institutions. In this evolving educational landscape, technology plays a pivotal role. As we navigate the next decade, Muzzy Lane is poised to contribute to an educational landscape characterized by online accessibility, diverse pathways, and self-directed learning.
David McCool, President & CEO, Muzzy Lane
The popularity of CTE will continue to rise. There is no doubt that numerous industries, such as manufacturing, are facing a pressing need for skilled professionals to fill vacant job positions. This, in combination with recent high school graduates being uncertain about their education and career paths, will prompt educational stakeholders to explore ways to enhance students’ confidence and certainty before they embark on post-secondary education or enter the workforce after high school. One effective approach to achieving this goal is by implementing Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs. In 2024, we anticipate an increasing number of school districts nationwide will introduce new CTE programs. The continued dedication to developing and supporting CTE initiatives ensures that students throughout the country will enjoy a broader spectrum of opportunities, promoting their personal and professional development. Moreover, it guarantees that industries will benefit from a continuously expanding pool of skilled talent to fill job openings.
Hans Meeder, Senior Fellow for Education & Workforce Education, YouScience and Former Deputy Assistant Secretary for Career, Technical, and Adult Education, U.S. Department of Education
Cybersecurity is a growing threat for schools. It’s not a matter of ‘if’ an attack will happen, it’s ‘when.’ I predict in 2024 we will see an increased emphasis on cybersecurity in schools. School districts will take proactive steps to ensure student data is as secure as possible. This may include moving to a digital records management system that is FERPA and CJIS compliant such as what we have done with Scribbles Software. Other steps may include eliminating the storing of social security numbers, providing specific cybersecurity training, and making sure the district has an incident response plan in case of a cyberattack.
Beverly Miller, Assistant Director of Schools for Administration/Chief Technology Officer, Greeneville City Schools in Tennessee
The upcoming year will be driven by careful, data-informed decision-making around technology usage in and out of the classroom. As we know, the pandemic led to a proliferation of learning technologies, with districts reporting the use of an average of 2,500 edtech tools in the 2023 EdTech Top 40 research study. But, with ESSER funds set to expire at the end of the 2023-24 school year, districts are asking important questions as they manage these unwieldy edtech ecosystems: Which tools support effective pedagogy? Are they supporting positive student outcomes? Effective tools are designed to provide data to inform decisions and ensure educators, students, and communities know what’s available, safe, and working in each unique context. The data that these tools provide lead to better operational, financial, and instructional decisions. We will also see continued emphasis on actionable data to address individual student performance, especially through standards-based assessment. As educators work to meet an even wider range of learning needs, access to timely insights around mastery will be increasingly important, as we saw in the 2023 State of Assessment in K-12 Education study.
Jenn Mitchell, Vice President, K-12 Marketing, North America, Instructure
With ESSER funding coming to an end, it will be more important than ever before to consider the overall lifecycle and value of devices as IT leaders and administrators will have less budget available to make new and continuous edtech purchases. Additionally, school and district leaders should consider how high quality, durable technology enables the continuity of learning and less disruption, in comparison to technology not designed for the classroom or student use. The same goes for educators, with the average educator spending more than an hour a week troubleshooting edtech, it’s critical that educators have access to easy-to-use and intuitive technology that allows more time for teaching and less time troubleshooting.
Madeleine Mortimore, Global Education Innovation and Research Lead, Logitech
“AI is very accessible, but to get the most power out of it you have to learn how to use it effectively. This includes engineering your prompts, determining what its limitations and strengths are and where its most applicable. Using AI is going to be a skill students need and for that to happen we first need to teach our teachers how to use it. Through my research project with reDesign, I have the opportunity to propose an AI integration model at my school and teach educators how to use the technology. It’s important everyone gets familiar with AI technology, but not be reliant on it. It’s that middle of the road where you use it effectively, but you’re not dependent on it that I want teachers and students to strive for.
Pearson Mudhol, High School Student, Meridian World School, Round Rock, Texas
Let’s be candid: the education headlines from 2023 were bleak. We’re just beginning to fully comprehend the massive scope of learning loss wrought by school closures during the pandemic. Recovery is proving slower than expected and we continue to face staff shortages and chronic student absences. With these grim statistics as a backdrop, you might be surprised (I am, a little!) that I feel optimistic about what’s to come. Despite the challenges faced in the field of education – and particularly special education – both students and staff have proven ourselves to be a resilient bunch. There is a renewed interest in proactively addressing students’ social, emotional, and behavioral needs; rather than waiting until we notice an issue, many administrators and staff members are providing all students with universal support to enhance all aspects of wellness. More educators are intentionally embedding wellness supports for their students; community building, intentional instruction in coping and tolerance skills, and restorative and instructional responses to contextually inappropriate behavior help build positive classroom environments where all students and staff feel welcome, safe, and ready to engage.
Diane Myers, Ph. D, SVP, Special Education–Behavior, Specialized Education Services, Inc.
STEM opportunities are on the rise for young learners as elementary and early childhood programs increase exposure to STEM activities and careers. It is crucial that we take advantage of the many resources at our fingertips to develop the 21st century skills necessary for the workforce of the future. While the focus is often on secondary education, there is a great need to ignite interest and foster creativity when students’ curiosity and independence are at their peak. As we look to 2024, we should aim to integrate real-world problem solving that will encourage critical thinking and collaboration at an early age. We are moving away from the days of traditional teacher-centered instruction where desks are arranged in rows and the teacher is at the front of the room to a more collaborative hands-on learning environment. Immersive technologies are rapidly reshaping how students learn. Artificial intelligence, augmented reality, and virtual reality will transform how educators facilitate transdisciplinary learning in ways we never thought possible.
Jennifer Noah, STEM Facilitator, Dalraida Elementary, Montgomery Public Schools (AL), ClassVR Ambassador
States that have passed science of reading legislation recognize the need for teacher prep programs to include science of reading, but getting universities to change is a slow-moving shift, even if legislation requires it. The policy has passed, but questions remain on how universities will be held accountable. Expect more administrator training in science of reading as districts recognize the need for principals to understand what children need to learn to read.
Janelle Norton, Senior Manager of Strategic Partnerships, IMSE, the Institute for Multi-Sensory Education
The continued use of AI in education can significantly transform and enhance the learning experience for students, teachers, and educational institutions. With AI, educators are able to create more personalized lesson plans that are tailored to individual student needs, pace, and learning styles. Additionally, AI can be used to develop tools that enhance accessibility for students with disabilities, providing a more inclusive learning environment for all kinds of learners. As we look ahead, it’s important that players in the education industry create products and tools that are accessible regardless of their abilities or disabilities and have equal opportunities to learn and participate in educational activities.
Danna Okuyama, Founder, Urban Sandbox
Gamification in education involves integrating elements of game design and mechanics into learning environments to engage students, motivate them, and enhance their overall learning experience. Over the past several years, educators have talked about how gamification has positively impacted the education industry, and how it will continue to help students evolve and grow. Gamification can capture students’ attention and encourage active participation with immediate feedback, allowing students to learn from their mistakes and successes in real-time, and develop a wide range of skills, including problem-solving, critical thinking, decision-making, and creativity.
Danna Okuyama, Founder, Urban Sandbox
In 2024, I firmly believe the growing synergies between real-time engagement (RTE) and artificial intelligence (AI) will profoundly revolutionize education. Drawing from a vast set of curriculum and inputs, including students’ interests, pace and learning style, AI has the potential to offer teachers with meaningful insights into their students and classroom that can be used to shape the learning experience and provide hyper-individualized education. Meanwhile, RTE enables responsive, accessible, and inclusive learning in the classroom by facilitating seamless and scalable interactive communications between students and teachers. Together, these technologies will allow teachers to provide tailored instruction, continuously optimize their teaching strategies, and spend more one-on-one time guiding students based on their unique requirements, leading to enhanced comprehension and academic performance.
Wyatt Oren, Director of Sales for Education, Agora
The youth mental health crisis will continue to be a focus for educators as they search for ways to help students through today’s unique hardships. As we explore ways to use technology for good, it’s important to evaluate how EdTech tools can help school districts, teachers and even families navigate a mental health pandemic in which almost three million youth reported experiencing severe major depression in 2023. Meeting students where they are – in today’s world, online – is the key to helping ensure they feel safe reporting on their wellbeing. Some students avoid asking for help in-person, as they may feel embarrassed or fear negative repercussions or backlash. Technological tools that offer anonymous check-ins on personal wellbeing, school culture and more can encourage students to seek out the help and resources they need. Additionally, we need to support our youth at school, at home and everywhere in between. In 2024, educators will prioritize technology that brings schools and families together to monitor and improve students’ wellbeing and ensure any red flags are detected and addressed as early as possible.
Harrison Parker, Executive Vice President, Linewize
In 2024, the role of generative AI in education will be at the forefront of many academic discussions. This rapidly evolving technology has only begun to make an impact in the field of education. A trend I hope to see is the utilization of AI to dramatically expand accessibility for those with learning differences, revolutionizing assistive technology. It has exciting potential to give highly personalized learning support never before possible, reducing barriers for diverse learners. AI may empower more students with greater independence in their education. At The Southport School, we take a skills-based approach to learning, whether reading, math, or technology. In my role supporting students with assistive and educational technologies, I focus on leveraging these tools to enable students to fully demonstrate their knowledge and abilities. This promotes an empowering sense of success even as students tackle more difficult learning challenges. Additionally, when they transition out of our school, the hope is those technologies are then second nature for them to engage with to continue on their learning journey with decreased adult support needed. The current assistive technology landscape could be transformed by the concept of AI, providing students not only with the support they require, but also evolving into personalized solutions that can grow, learn, and adapt to each child’s changing learning profile, developing skills, and academic growth over time. Ultimately this could foster ongoing academic growth and equip students with the tech-enabled skillset to continue succeeding independently in their future learning journeys.
Sharon Plante, Chief Technology Integrator, Teacher Mentor, & Student Advisor, The Southport School
At Mason County Central School District, we’re not just predicting the future of educational technology, we’re actively shaping it with our groundbreaking immersive classroom. As one of the first K-12 institutions in the country to integrate an AR/VR immersive room, we’re at the forefront of a revolution in learning. Our immersive classroom transcends traditional teaching methods, offering students an unparalleled, interactive learning experience that brings lessons to life. This technology is not just a tool, it’s a portal to a world of limitless educational possibilities, fostering engagement, creativity, and a deeper understanding of complex subjects. As we look ahead, we see our immersive classroom not only bridging learning gaps, it is also inspiring other schools to embrace this innovative approach, ensuring that the educational landscape continues to evolve and adapt to the needs of 21st-century learners.
Miguel Quinteros, K-12 Technology Coach, Mason County Central School District in Scottville, Michigan
There is no doubt 2024 will be a year of political twists and turns, so our educator corps. must not be used as chess pieces and instead be seen and held in high professional esteem. The structured literacy ripple that began many years ago has formed into a seismic wave that will reach every corner and peak of school systems in this country; we must continue to educate our school communities in structured literacy for K-12. Lastly, as a collective community we will need to continue to create environments where all students are heard, seen, and allowed grade-level engaging, affirming, and meaningful instruction.
Lacey Robinson, President & Chief Executive Officer, UnboundEd
To sum it up, I think the key focus areas in 2024 are going to be: student agency/confidence, equity, and integrated supports. The impact of the pandemic is coming to a head. NAEP results came out this summer, showing significant decline since 2020, especially in math, and especially for students in minority groups. Whether we agree with the interpretation or not, the headline is that we’ve lost the last 20-30 years of gains. Students that were in 4th grade during the pandemic are now in 7th grade and the gaps in reading and math foundational skills only become more apparent each year. And on top of that, mental health needs are at an all-time high. If last year we were talking about universal screening, this year we need to be talking about universal services. Just because a student is identified as gifted doesn’t mean they don’t have a need for scaffolding/support. And just because a student is not identified as gifted doesn’t mean they won’t benefit from extension. There’s simply too great a need for individualized services and the only way to deliver it is by integrating it into the gen ed classroom — gifted services, emerging bilingual services, special ed services, etc. Educators will embrace the tools that most efficiently help them identify students’ needs and streamline the link from that information to tangible, individualized resources/services. Strengths-based insights + Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS) is the answer.
Rebekah Rodriguez, Project Manager, Riverside Insights & Former District Administrator
Igniting specific curiosities will become a focus: Student engagement is critical to learning growth, and sparking student curiosity is an important step to engagement. But research shows that there are many types of curiosity. In 2024, educators will demonstrate their deeper understanding of the types of curiosity by strategically applying specific, more engaging edtech resources to nurture different types of curiosity. To support epistemic curiosity, the type of curiosity associated with the reward of knowledge, teachers will use more interactives and virtual labs. When a student interacts with a high-quality virtual lab or interactive, they become invested in the results, and the curiosity spurs them forward to finish the lab and even repeat it to vary the results. To support perceptual curiosity or ones’ interest in their surroundings, educators will inject augmented reality into instruction. Doing so challenges student perceptions of their environments in new and exciting ways and encourages the exploration of places and historical eras beyond the four walls of their classrooms. To support empathic curiosity, or the curiosity about the thoughts and feelings of others, educators will use online maker-spaces to create more collaborative learning opportunities that encourage greater discussion and idea sharing among students. The coming “Curiosity Revolution” will drive deeper student engagement in the post-Covid environment.
Lance Rougeux, SVP of Curriculum, Instruction & Student Engagement, Discovery Education
Teachers need AI training: In 2024, AI will be ubiquitous in the classroom, and teachers who don’t address it head-on will fall behind. To prepare the next generation of educators, teacher preparation programs should offer lessons about what AI tools are available, how students are already using them, and how they can be used to improve teaching and learning.
Andrew Rozell, President, iteach
As we head into 2024, many schools across the country will receive increased federal funding to help put safety plans into effect. Right now, many schools have a safety plan, however a gap currently exists between assessing threats and responding to them. In this next year, we’ll see many schools across the country commit to prevention and seek solutions and resources to close the implementation gap. This will ensure school leaders have the support they need to keep the safety of students and staff top of mind.
Jason Russell, Founder & President, Secure Environment Consultants & Former Secret Service Agent
Supply chain issues have prevented many schools from updating their technology. Now those issues are clearing up, but that doesn’t make technology adoption challenge-free. Educators must have a plan in place to determine what technology their schools really need and how to upgrade with minimal interoperability issues. Technology on the market covers everything from the latest EdTech and AI, to WiFi 6E, security devices, IoT devices, and your basic user devices. Not every school needs the same technology or should be on the same upgrade plan. Track all technology utilization and let those stats reveal your users’ experiences and predicted needs. Talk to every stakeholder – teachers, IT professionals, staff, parents, etc. Information from these sources will guide your decisions. Do you need infrastructure updates? New technology in the library or for your counselors? Is your school growing? Do you offer any special programs? Taking everything into account is crucial. Consider all users and your entire technology ecosystem – everything is connected and affects everything else. Finally, make sure you never back yourself into a corner. Technology, in every form, should be adaptable because the one thing we know for sure is that standards and capabilities are going to change over time.
Roger Sands, CEO & Co-Founder, Wyebot
Students and teachers will have a wider and wider choice of materials. Every year, we move further away from the “one size fits all” mentality that was the original textbook. I see that continuing in the future. As technology continues to expand and schools gain access to more materials, I see educational plans and curriculums becoming more tailored to individual student needs. I think we’ll see more variety in materials for students and more choice for teachers, and ultimately, more opportunity to work with students 1:1 with technology as the vehicle. The goal is to provide solutions that can be easily tailored to meet a specific need, that can be used alone or in tandem with another solution, and above all, something that is easy to use and reliable, so teachers are spending less time searching and planning, and more time teaching.
Lemma Shomali, VP, Product Management & Strategy, Domestic Learning, Gale
An increased focus on Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS) will be prominent in 2024. We know legislation and funding are fickle in the gifted world. I think we are seeing the shift from pullout/enrichment to more support for academic growth. With inconsistent funding and a need to ensure gifted services are defensible, there should be more of a focus on academic performance while maintaining equitable opportunity best provided through ability testing.”
Monica L. Simonds, M. Ed., Director of Advanced Learning Programs and Services, Richardson ISD
AI is one of the tools that can help make learning more personalized, engaging and efficient. For example, AI-driven algorithms analyze student data to adapt teaching styles and content for customized learning experiences. AI’s contributions to edtech don’t stop there. It can also take on administrative tasks and free up educators to focus on teaching. For example, automated grading and scheduling allow teachers to spend more time engaging students instead of doing paperwork. Of course, AI also comes with its challenges, including concerns around data privacy, the potential for misuse and the importance of human oversight. As a result, edtech companies also play a role in ensuring responsible AI use in the classroom by providing necessary training for educators and maintaining transparency around AI algorithms.
Hubert Simonis, Global Lead of Edtech and HR Tech, Endava
As technology becomes integral to education, teaching digital citizenship is crucial. It’s about equipping students with the skills to use technology safely, responsibly and ethically. It also involves teaching them about privacy, digital footprints and online etiquette. Educators play a vital role in teaching digital citizenship by integrating it into the curriculum and fostering discussions on topics such as internet safety, digital rights and responsibilities, cyberbullying prevention and ethical online behavior.
Hubert Simonis, Global Lead of Edtech and HR Tech, Endava
In education as an industry, K-20 must continue to define EDU 2.0. The pandemic and other factors continue to call into question the role education plays in society, and the concern of disconnected and inequitable experiences. Deeper connection across public and private sectors, stronger collaboration between school districts and colleges/universities, and a personalized view of the student’s journey across segments must be the priority heading into 2024.
Joshua Sine, VP, Higher Education Strategy, Qualtrics
In K-12, CTE will make its comeback. With a focus on career and workforce development, school districts will find ways to promote and grow their CTE programs to accommodate the growing demand for graduates with differentiated skills.
Joshua Sine, VP, Higher Education Strategy, Qualtrics
While the highly anticipated Apple Vision Pro headset is expected to revolutionize the virtual reality (VR) landscape, its high cost may limit direct classroom implementation in 2024. However, its release will significantly elevate the profile of the VR industry, attracting a new wave of entrepreneurs and fresh investment from venture capitalists. This will result in a healthier ecosystem that benefits even the lower-cost headsets that are already making their way into schools. This advancement offers immersive learning experiences, allowing students to explore virtual environments, conduct experiments in simulated labs, and interact with historical events in real time.
Garrett Smiley, CEO & Founder, Sora Schools
Artificial intelligence (AI) is quickly making its way into America’s classrooms. However, unlike the first generation of AI tools, AI in 2024 will be seamlessly integrated into existing platforms like grade books, enhancing functionality without adding complexity. AI-driven tools can personalize learning experiences, provide real-time feedback, and automate administrative tasks, allowing teachers to focus more on teaching and less on logistics. The integration of AI into familiar platforms ensures that its adoption is intuitive for educators, bridging the gap between advanced technology and everyday teaching practices.
Garrett Smiley, CEO & Founder, Sora Schools
The use of artificial intelligence is shifting the landscape in education and we will see schools increasingly adopting tools and resources that have AI components. My prediction for 2024 is that schools will put policies in place to evaluate potential AI investments for rigor, equity, and results for kids in addition to innovation (It will be a “both/and” not an “either/or” approach).
Joanna Smith-Griffin, Founder & CEO, AllHere
Schools will take a proactive approach to improving student attendance, using two-way communication with families to understand and address the why behind absences. In 2024, we will see more personalized attendance interventions and increased school-home communication. Educators will engage families through proactive communication about the importance of attendance—before students become chronically absent. We will also see more educators reaching out to families to enhance connections and build partnerships. When families feel supported they are more likely to collaborate and work together with the district to better understand and address the root causes of student absences. With this information, personalized interventions will be designed to address specific challenges that students may face in maintaining regular attendance. Collaboration between families and schools will play a crucial role in addressing the unique needs of each student, considering factors such as heath, transportation, and socio-economic conditions.
Grace Spencer, VP, Marketing & Product Development, SchoolStatus
AI curriculum will become mainstream in K-12 classrooms across the nation, particularly in high schools. More and more schools will recognize the importance of AI literacy and establish policies and guidelines for how students can and should use generative AI in their work. We will see states like California pave the way with acceptable use standards and policies to protect students using the technology while schools around the country roll out AI coursework. Schools will also start to encounter new risks stemming from AI use by staff. As a result, schools will have to start providing their staff with centrally-managed generative AI tools that have pre-built safeguards in place to ensure safe and ethical use, much as they do today with other productivity tools.
Balakrishnan Subramanian, VP & GM of Education, Salesforce
Generative AI will unleash a new wave in personalized education. Teachers will be able to generate content on the fly that is aligned with a student’s interests and skill level. While it would be prohibitively expensive to scale such an idea using the large language models (LLMs) and tools of today, within the next 1-3 years we will start to see the proliferation of specialized ‘small language models’ or SLMs. These specialized models will be able to bring the cost of scaling personalized learning down dramatically and help us take a huge leap forward in individualized instruction.
Balakrishnan Subramanian, VP & GM of Education, Salesforce
AI will further revolutionize education in 2024. Rather than traditional, multiple-choice questions, technology will interact with students at a greater clip. AI will have real, conceptual conversations with students to understand their progress. With this advancement, education will become more individualized and holistic, aligning with each learner’s unique journey. It will no longer be as simple as “right” and “wrong” answers. AI will grow with a student at their own speed to help them every step of the way. For example, when a student is learning division, AI can chat with them to ensure they have the basics down, like subtraction, addition, and carrying over, before mastering division. This tech-led way of learning will have a dose of play-based, discovery-focused techniques while still containing a structured lesson plan to help kids reach their goals.
Vishal Sunil, Co-Founder & CTO, Rocket Learning
AI will take over more routine tasks. Looking ahead, I am optimistic that artificial intelligence capabilities will continue advancing rapidly to take over more routine educational administrative tasks from educators. This will allow teachers greater time to focus on personalizing learning experiences for students. While progress has been made, ensuring equitable access to technology remains a priority.
Wilson Tsu, CEO & Founder, PowerNotes
In 2024 I expect we will see technology in schools shift away from pure technology solutions to human-centric technology supports. There will be less enthusiasm for self-paced technology programs requiring students to work independently, and more focus on a return to teacher and therapist-led engagement. Perspectives on technology in the classroom have been rapidly shifting with the introduction of AI, and questions of which parts of the day-to-day work of educators can possibly be addressed by technology. My hope is that schools will continue to be open to technology solutions, but they will also recognize that these programs are best leveraged in support of the human experts who can be truly sensitive to individualized student need.
Kate Eberle Walker, CEO, Presence
In 2024, we’ll begin to find a balance and use artificial intelligence to build authentic intelligence. AI will become a powerful tool for writers, especially those learning to write and facing writer’s block. However, the tool will need to be balanced so humans remain in control; we will see students and individuals needing to develop discernment skills.
David Weinstein, CEO, Write the World
Demand for AI-driven edtech resources grows: The launch of Chat GPT in 2022 kicked-off a year of debate in education about AI’s role in education. As that debate continues through 2024, the demand for AI-driven edtech products and services will grow. AI is a powerful tool that can save teachers time and scale best practice. In an era where the educator’s time is more precious than ever, AI is well-suited to become a transformative technology that supports teachers in a host of ways. AI can simplify grading, manage schedules, organize complex information, improve learning management systems, power professional learning, and much more. AI also supports the application of best instructional practice. Feedback loops, differentiated and adaptive learning, gamification, tutoring, and other education staples can be improved through the intentional application of AI. In 2024, edtech providers will look at AI through the lens of how it can be better integrated into their products and services to support the teacher and improve instruction, and then thoughtfully apply it in those places. In an era in which school systems are consolidating their edtech resources and keeping only those with demonstrated effectiveness, products supported by AI that improve the teaching and learning will have an edge.
Pete Weir, Chief Product Officer, Discovery Education
The debate of cellphones in the classroom will remain a hot topic in 2024, and it’s time for schools to find ways to incorporate students’ cellphones into lessons. Whether it’s through AI tools or collaboration apps, there are endless opportunities to use this technology to enhance learning. This might include using an AI tool to add to a history assignment or having students use the Epson’s iProjection app to cast their work on the projector to share with the class. There are so many ways to allow students to use their devices during class and demonstrate how to utilize technology to enrich their learning.
Mark Whelton, Superintendent, Bridgeport-Spaulding Community School District, Bridgeport, Michigan
In 2024, I believe that schools, districts and states will move to the next phase of implementing their Portrait of a Graduate by addressing the need to measure and evaluate students against the competencies in their Portraits. They will create innovative methods for measurement and leverage all the different modalities as they move away from traditional multiple-choice tests based on recall and recognition. Assessments will become more context-based and provide the data and insight needed to improve students’ academic and career outcomes. Education leaders will seek to increase student employability by providing opportunities for intentional instruction and deliberate practice of critical thinking and problem solving skills as part of a more holistic approach to ensure students are future ready.
Bob Yayac, President & CEO, CAE
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