The world of educational technology changes all the time. From interactive whiteboards to gamification, technology can be used to enhance, augment and support teachers. Here are our expert Steve Ryan's 2015 predictions and what he has to say about mass adoption of these trends.
Instructors vs. Facilitators
Teachers can leverage technology to empower students to do their own learning as opposed to passively receiving information from a “sage on the stage.” Instead of acting as an instructor, teachers will work as facilitators while students use technology.
Learning Through Games.
There has been significant movement surrounding gamification as an acceptable form of learning. In her TED Talk Jane McGonigal, Director of Game Research and Development at IFTF, speaks about how games assist with solving real world problems. As a social studies teacher, I loved using iCivics to teach the principles of the United States Constitution through games, solving real Constitutional issues. The best part: students don’t realize they are learning because they’re having too much fun.
Cloud Based Learning.
With the many conveniences of cloud based learning, its increasing popularity comes as no surprise. Collaboration is easier, communication is simpler and feedback is quicker. Teachers can choose between a full service platform like Google Apps for Education, a smaller classroom based discussion group liked Edmodo or a content management system like Blackboard Engage.
Creativity With Technology.
Schools are adding “Makerspaces” to their facilities. What is a Makerspace? They are spaces that provide tools (both web-based and physical) to encourage hands-on, active learning and creativity. Students can create physical objects, from 3-D printed materials to jewelry. The best example of a Makerspace is the steamlab at DePaul College Prep, in Chicago, Illinois.
Students as Content Creators.
The transition from memorization to learning objectives and skills by doing takes time, but with the tools that technology provides, students can easily become content creators. New vehicles allow students to publish content and share their work. Artsonia is a great example. Students can upload their original artwork and family members can purchase their artwork on an array of different products.
Perhaps you are doing one or more of these already. Perhaps you’ve thought about doing one or more of these as part of your curriculum. While some of the aforementioned concepts have been discussed in previous years, I see this year as the year of mass adoption. Price point for technology hardware is coming down, access to the Internet is becoming more prevalent, and schools are going 1:1 at a rapid pace. Coupled with budgetary constraints, parent support, and appropriate professional development, these five concepts will be presented and adopted at a larger rate than previously.
Steve Ryan is President of RyTech, LLC a digital marketing, IT consulting, and EdTech training firm in Ilinois. Steve has presented on EdTech topics at various conferences, workshops, and school districts. Steve is a former technology director and social studies teacher. For more information, visit www.rytechllc.com/education.