It’s no secret that technologies come and go. In fact, the ever-changing technological landscape makes it incredibly difficult to keep up with the latest and greatest tech trends, let alone plan how new tools can be used to enhance instruction.
The recent 2016 Teaching with Technology Survey, asked participants at educational institutions across the country to predict which new technologies they saw having the greatest impact on education in the next decade.
Interested in which tools made the cut? Here’s a few of their top choices:
- Virtual Reality/Augmented Reality
Topping the list were augmented and virtual reality, one of the fastest growing trends in educational technology today. Beyond the cool factor, much of the appeal for education is the ability to go farther and dive deeper into a topic by not just telling students about it, but letting them experience it.
One of the questions that comes up for those new to virtual reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) is the difference between the two. The short answer is that VR allows you to completely immerse yourself as if you were magically teleported to an alternate location. AR, on the other hand, adds a layer on top of real life—for example viewing a 3D beating heart layered over an Anatomy textbook.
- 3D Printing
Possibly fueled by the already popular Maker Movement, 3D printing ranked as one of the top trends to watch. The option of 3D printing also is being fueled by the demand for STEM focused education, as it allows students the opportunity to apply mathematical processes and engineering concepts while developing critical thinking and problem-solving skills to create something tangible. (And its pretty darn cool, that probably helps.)
- Touch & Interactive Tools: Projectors, Boards, Surfaces
For the most part, today’s students are constantly connected and have information readily available at their fingertips. Current interactive technologies, such as interactive whiteboards, have started to allow educators and schools to channel that ‘always on’ approach into engaging learning experiences. Just imagine what they could be in 5 or 10 years into the future.
- Mobile Devices & Tablets
With the rise of 1:1 and BYOD initiatives, mobile devices such as smartphones, tablets, and others, aren’t new to the classroom. However, there is room for significant growth in the capabilities of these technologies in the classroom, earning it a place on the list of technologies to watch. Afterall, mobile learning is about more than being innovative and bringing new technology into a school; mobile learning allows educators the ability to reimagine the classroom and revitalize learning.
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- Streaming Everything
With heavy improvements to internet access for schools, including rural districts, online streaming has offered educators and school leaders instant access to an abundance of resources and a wealth of up-to-date information. Plus, students are often more engaged with the multimedia format, so it’s a win-win!
- Cloud Services
They cloud isn’t as mysterious as it might sound. In fact, if you’ve ever used any of the popular Google Apps, you’re already using cloud services. Cloud computing also encompasses file storage solutions (such as Dropbox® and OneDrive®), products including ‘instant-update’ versions of popular software (such as Adobe® Creative Cloud™, and Microsoft® Office 365®), course management tools, data analytics platforms, and a host of other online products.
- Smart Watches & Wearables
Among the most notable wearable technology is the Apple iWatch, yet there are many other tools available. Wearable tech encompasses a wide range of products from virtual reality headsets and wearable cameras (such as GoPro) to fitness-focused wristbands and other gear.
The limits of such devices for education has yet to be fully realized. To just scratch the surface, imagine students visiting historically significant sites during a History class or monitoring and learning about their personal health and wellness with a wristband as part of the Physical Education curriculum—the possibilities are endless!
- Gaming & Gamification
Game-based learning (or GBL), is a growing trend in education. For many, the addition of gaming adds a ‘fun’ element that helps drive student engagement. And, while there are a variety of tools and options already available for various subjects and age levels, there is still great potential for the growth of gamification.
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