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2016 Ed Tech Trends

In their article, What’s Hot, What’s Not in 2016, THE Journal asked a panel of ed tech experts to rate technology tools (on a heat scale, though we’re not sure they ran any statistics to check the reliability of the scale, I know–researchers!) to indicate their importance in education contexts this year. They didn’t ask Metiri Group (we must have been busy when they called), but we decided to weigh in anyway.

We will do this in two installments, the first one in today’s blog and the second one next week.

BYOD—Metiri agrees with the panelists that BYOD is more of a stopgap than a permanent solution. While we see BYOD programs continuing as it becomes less realistic (and counterproductive) to prevent teachers and students from bringing and using their own devices, overall schools and districts are focused on equitable access, and BYOD can place a spotlight on students’ economic differences. The reality for most schools is that equitable access requires providing school-owned devices to students. As more affordable devices come on the market, 1:1 becomes a more realistic goal for schools even without BYOD. Ultimately, we believe that using whatever device is available will be the norm in schools and BYOD will become part of business-as-usual.

Social media for teaching and learning—While proponents of social media in education are enthusiastic, research suggests there are still relatively few adopters among classroom teachers. Even among social media adopters, the most commonly reported use is for PD. We feel that privacy and safety concerns will continue to make teachers leery of using widely available social media tools with students, but that more customized tools will arrive on the market to provide a Twitter-like level of ease of collaboration with the security and privacy controls that educators (and parents) want and need.

Digital badges—We believe these are catching on some in professional learning environments, as more teachers seek out personalized learning opportunities rather than the one-size-fits-all professional development often offered by districts. While individual teachers are seeing the value of being able to document their independent learning, more districts and states will need to centralize a badging system in order to it to catch on more broadly.

Open educational resources—We believe that districts are beginning to understand that in order to personalize instruction for students, teachers need a variety of vetted resources for use in instruction. In the past, these vetted resources came in the form of purchased textbooks. Some districts are now creating repositories of OER to provide the organization and curriculum alignment that has been lacking in the past. With the US Department of Education getting on board, we may finally have the push needed to make OER powerful learning tools for students.

E-portfolios—These were rated as losing steam by the panel, but Metiri respectfully disagrees. As we move toward less federal and more state-level influence as a result of transitioning to ESSA, we believe that e-portfolios will make a comeback. We’re also seeing an increasing number of schools focusing on PBL and personalized learning models, as well as online learning, for which e-portfolios are a great fit. While one of the panelists suggested we were just too lazy to use e-portfolios, we hope states will lead the way in helping educators find a happy medium between the time-intensive portfolios of old to more streamlined approaches that focus on providing a manageable amount of evidence for very specific learning objectives and outcomes.

That’s the end of the list for today. Check back next week for the rest!

1 Comment

  1. […] their importance in education contexts this year. Metiri Group decided to chime in. We published Part 1 of our list last week, today is the second and final chapter of our […]