Saturday, June 21, 2014

Important developments in technology for K-12 education

I'm reading the final part of the Horizon Report K-12 Preview which is about developments in technology in K-12 education over the next few years.  As I'm reading this I'm considering how these trends are impacting (or, in many cases, have already impacted) education at ASB.

The Near Horizon - 1 year or less
  • BYOD - students bring their own laptops, tablets and smartphones with them to class.  Around the world this movement is being driven by a lack of funding for 1:1 learning.  BYOD can make 1:1 learning easier by having students use the devices they already own.  Questions are still being asked about providing funds to support families in financial need and on the importance of standardizing on a small set of devices and software packages.  ASB introduced BYOD in the 2012 school year with the primary device being a laptop.  In 2013 an R&D Task Force initiated 3 mobile device prototypes in Grades 4, 8 and 10.  Last year 38 teachers and teaching assistants also participated in a mobile devices prototype.
  • Cloud Computing - the Horizon Report notes that "the number of available applications that rely on cloud technologies have grown to the point that few education institutions do not make some use of the cloud."  At ASB one of the pre-requisites for BYOD was a move to the cloud.  Both these trends, on the near horizon, have been been adopted by ASB for a number of years already.

The Mid-Horizon - 2-3 years
  • Games and Gamification - Games have moved out of the realm of pure entertainment as scientific studies are showing the impact of games on education.  There is increased attention surrounding ramification for motivational purposes.  ASB studied games based learning in 2011, and went on to establish an R&D task force on gamification in 2012 which has been meeting regularly for the last 2 years.  Several game designers work in ASB's R&D department.
  • Learning Analytics - Education is turning more to data to provide a high-quality personalized experience for learners - the data can allow schools to build better pedagogies, target at-risk students and assess the effectiveness of programs.  Many ASB faculty underwent DataWise training in 2012, and we have employed the services of a data scientist to help us understand trends emerging from the tech audits and the mobile prototypes.

The Far Horizon - 4-5 years
  • The Internet of Things - I'm not sure how this may affect education in the future.
  • Wearable Technology - I understand that the PE department has invested in FitBits but I have  no idea about how they are currently being used.  Wearable technology can allow the tracking of sleep, movement, eating and location and integrate it with social media.  Another example I was able to try out recently was Google Glass, at the 2013 Google India Summit that was hosted at ASB.  It will be interesting to see how wearable technology can impact education at ASB in the future.
Photo Credit: Stuck in Customs via Compfight cc

Update 22nd June:  The 2014 NMC Horizon Report K-12 has now been published.  Download the full version here.

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