Tech trends in school

21 Mar

Technology changes faster than we can blink an eye. That said, these are a couple things I have been reading about or think will become trends in schools in the near future:

  • Web-based instruction – The PhD I will start in the near future is specifically about web-based instruction.  Whether it is through Youtube videos in which kids are learning how to play the guitar, Facebook groups where students are chatting about math, any of the online collaboration tools I reference in another post, or through school homework sites that are built using Nings, Moodle or any of the numerous other CMS available, online is not about to go away.  It has so many advantages.
  1. For example, school closures no longer mean the need to make up days lost, because lessons can continue on through online systems that are in place.
  2. Kids who are sick can also continue on with their studies following regular updates about class lectures and homework that is expected.
  3. Kids and adults who are in remote places have access to schooling systems they would never normally have access to.
  4. People can choose huge varieties of courses that interest them.
  5. Settings of learning are semi-traditional or purely non-traditional.
  6. Learning times are less regulated, as the web is “on” 24 hours a day.
  • Cloud Computing – First of all, what is it?  From my understanding “Cloud Computing” means that programs and areas for hosting information are no longer hosted on the local computer.  For example, Google Docs is an prime example of cloud computing because every document is created and stored online.  The advantages to this system:
  1. It means that documents are available across a variety of platforms
  2. Documents are backed up with no fear of computers breaking down and all information is lost
  3. Multiple people have access to the same document at the same time.
  4. Permissions can be set in place by the owner of the document for read-only or read-write privileges.
  5. Usually zero cost is involved, which means that money can be spent on hardware rather than software solutions.
  6. Documents can be accessed anywhere, at any time.  If you are on vacation and you remember you need to print that file out, you can just pop over to the internet cafe and you have access to it without a flash-drive or CD to carry and worry about.
  • Mobile devices in classrooms – The sentiment among principals and administration in the past has always seemed to be: NO.  There is no need for mobile devices in classrooms.  However, these days I would argue there is great need for mobile devices in classrooms.  iPads, iPhones, Tablets, Slates, and even iPods are all finding there way into the education process.  What needs to be taking place more regularly is professional development for teachers about ways that these devices can cleverly be introduced into lessons.  The idea of 1:1 is already becoming outdated, as I talk about in this article.

The schools that “get it” will be the ones that stay ahead of the tech curve. “As educators, we really need to stay on top of this stuff,” said Roland Rios, director of instructional technology at the Fort Sam Houston Independent School District in San Antonio, TX, “instead of constantly playing catch up.”

  • Technology based assessment and monitoring tools – There are systems configured to record every keystroke that is ever pressed by students and coworkers.  There are systems like Faronics Insight to monitor screens of students in classrooms or public spaces like libraries.  But this idea is to enable even better surveying for student learning.  For example, ‘clickers’ for students are taken a step further with the idea that every students has an iPhone and sends in the answer to the questions that are presented.  Results can be recorded, tabulated and graphed.  Constant student assessment is enabled using technology.  The shy, quiet kids no longer get to recess into the backs of the classes.  Everyone is invited to join in on the learning, conversations and assessment.
  • Professional Development – Because technology is growing at such an unfathomable pace, teachers and educators alike need to be on the cusp of it in order to stay abreast of what is out there.  In order to do so, constant professional development has to be taking place.
  1. This can be in the form of a traditional classroom setting, an informal setting at home where educators are staying in the loop by accessing websites, blogs and other learning arenas.
  2. It can also come as it is with teachers learning from students and also allowing students to teach other students about their learned knowledge.
  3. Parents as well need to stay in this loop and educational foundations need to realize what they are and embrace this faction of their population.

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