Many trends in education involve using new technology in innovative ways which develop skills appropriate for the current century. This transformation in the way education technology is used causes instructors to change their traditional methods of teaching. You will note with these trends that they encourage students to supervise their own learning. Teachers themselves will evolve from knowledge distributors to instructional facilitators.
1) Cloud computing
More and more, cloud computing is becoming an important part of K-12 education. Students can access materials, readings, and homework assignments from anywhere they can access the cloud. Familiar examples of this are Google Drive and Dropbox. Three categories of cloud computing are Software-as-a service (SaaS), Platform-as-a-service (PaaS), and Infrastructure-as-a-service (virtualization).
2) Mobile learning
The NMC Horizon Report notes that mobile apps, smartphones, and tablets are becoming too capable and ubiquitous to ignore. Schools are now developing student resources such as e-magazines, E-books, and interactive textbooks that are optimized to be used on mobile devices.
3) Build your own device (BYOD)
Related to both budget constraints and mobile learning, teachers are now encouraging their students to bring their mobile devices to class to take advantage of the technology. BYOD policies increase student communication, participation, and collaboration with the educational content. A proviso though is that school districts need to take security into account by creating appropriate internal and external firewalls.
4) Learning analytics
Originating in market research, “big data” in now influencing K-12 education as well. Any time a student interacts with a piece of software, real-time data about that student is accumulated which can then be used to create individual learning experiences based on that student’s own academic needs.
5) Open content
The principle of open content is replacing published, proprietary, expensive information with to easily accessible and free online information which is shared. One big advantage of open content over standard methods of information sharing such as textbooks is that open content can be easily revised and updated as new information is acquired.
6) 3D Printing
3D printing is now employed in several fields including industrial design, engineering, and architecture. This trend is expected to extend to education. 3D printing capacity could be found very useful in the STEM disciplines such as a chemistry student understanding atoms and molecules, and an engineering student working on a model of a structure.
7) Virtual and remote laboratories
Traditional science laboratories can be expensive. Remote and virtual laboratories are now available to educators and students. Remote laboratories allow remote access via webcams and remote controls to real tangible laboratory equipment. Virtual laboratories allow students to perform online experiments using simulated procedures and equipment.
8) School learning networks
Currently, social learning networks (SLNs) are being employed in some districts. SLNs offer students the opportunity to connect with peers for project-based learning. Examples of these are Edmodo and Nimbus.
9) Digital textbooks
Digital textbooks are not only inexpensive and easily updated, they can even contain additional content such as interactive diagrams and videos. One option to the digital textbook from a standard publishing house is a curated digital textbook which draws on material from many digital sources.
E-portfolios contain collections of electronic files, blog entries, text, multimedia, hyperlinks, and images that demonstrate learning skills and competencies. Basically, it represents an alternate form of assessment which reflects students’ selves as learners.
Originally published on Steve King’s LinkedIN page. Republished with permission.
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