Trends in Technology for Education

The Influence of Technology in Teaching and Learning

October 04, 2018 by Nick White, Teacher & Learning Consultant

“In preparing students for the future, we should think less about AI and more about IA or intelligence amplification: The idea that digital devices complement our human strengths to enable accomplishments beyond what either machines or people can do alone.” — Chris Dede, What will the job market look like in 2030?

Take a moment to read Chris Dede’s quotation again. That statement could be viewed as the foundation for how we should approach educational technologies in the classroom. And with that in mind, let’s look at a few major education and technology trends in K-12 schools.

Immersive Education/VR and AR

Virtual reality and augmented reality have most certainly arrived. It’s no longer just a gamer’s paradise—it’s enabling a new Immersive Education movement. Haven’t heard of that? Visit the  Immersive Education Initiative at immersiveeducation.org. The list of members includes the Smithsonian, MIT, Harvard, US Department of Education, Paul Getty Museum, UCLA, Carnegie Mellon, Boston College, Oracle, IBM, Disney, Intel, the United Nations, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and NASA. 

VR and AR are affordable. Resources such as Google Expeditions are free. And significantly, they are highly engaging for learners of all ages – kindergarteners to adults. This is a prime example of intelligence amplification as described in Chris Dede’s quote.

S.T.E.M. Advances to S.T.E.A.M.

Originally S.T.E.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math), and then expanded to S.T.E.A.M. (“A” is for “Arts”), this initiative began in the United States in the 1990s and it has varying degrees of presence in most K-12 schools.

STEAM education is designed to encourage creative problem-solving using science, technology, engineer and math. Makerspace environments include project-based learning such as 3D printing and 3D scanning, robot building that teach coding, and more.  Robotics education and programming basics can begin in early elementary education. Dash and Dot (makewonder.com) are an example of robots found in many classrooms, with a variety of programming tools that are designed for various age groups.

An age-appropriate curriculum has many students expanding their knowledge and solving headline news topics such as global warming, farm to table food sustainability, or finding a cure for diseases.
These are but a few examples. 

TIP: Before you pick a program to use in a STEAM initiative, play with it. If it does not hold your attention, it’s not going to engage your students, either.

Flipped Classrooms

The concept of the Flipped Classrooms developed in response to the effective use of personal technologies by students.

In the old style of teaching and learning, the teacher presented lecture content and students went home to complete assignments and projects. In a flipped classroom, students read lesson content and watch videos outside of class, then return to the classroom to work on lab projects or collaborative exercises that reinforce the lesson. This is a 180-degree reversal of lesson delivery, hence “the flipped classroom.”

It’s obvious that this is a peek at only a few of the exciting trends in education. Become acquainted with these, and then look beyond. Teaching and learning in the 21st Century is exciting and promising.