Part 1 of 2
If you think the explosion of technology in your school during the last decade has been amazing, just wait till you see what’s coming.
When computers made their way into business and manufacturing 50 years ago, there were expectations that productivity would rise, people would be freed up to concentrate on more meaningful work, and paper trails would shift to data records. How this new technology would re-form work and institutions was not clear at the time, but there was an awareness that huge changes were to come.
Rapid technological changes overtook our personal lives as well. Now, keeping up with new technologies is daunting for everyone. We constantly face choices as we purchase new phones, computers, software, cameras, cars, and countless other items. Once we acquire a new tech tool, we have to learn how to use it. It all takes time and costs money, and staying on top of it can be challenging. Our way of sharing information and building community is being re-formed by tech tools, but, again, where it will lead us is not totally clear.
Hold on to your hat as you look ahead—big changes will be coming to a school and school district near you. How it will re-form education remains to be seen, but imagine the possibilities. Here is a quick look at just a few ways changing tech may impact your schools, some of which will be available very soon.
Changes for Teaching and Learning
- Desktops will be replaced by tables and walls that are interactive computing screens. They will tie to the district cloud, or other shared resources.
- Inquiry-based and student-driven learning projects will be enhanced by the new 3-D printers. Just as Lego automation projects spurred learning in the past, the “maker culture” will be moving in the classroom, allowing students to build tools and solve problems.
- Flexible learning centers will be easily reconfigurable for large group work, lectures, small groups, or individual learning.
- Online learning will be more integrated with in-school learning. Students will be able to preview or review almost any sessions as they need.
Changes for Administrative Services
- Some form of cloud-based administrative support has already been implemented in most districts. New consortia and vendors are emerging that will host cloud-based records and services. This may include all curriculum information and administrative data. Hopefully this will shift tech support (and its learning curve) to the cloud provider.
- Google Apps for Education is already impacting districts. But competition is rising, and new programs and services will appear to help with measurement and other analytics. This could lead to better planning for funding and reviewing effectiveness of programs. These applications should also build better communication between teachers and administrators, giving them all access to the same information.
- Funding and training will continue to be challenges, making partnerships with nonprofits, commercial ventures, and community businesses increasingly important.
New tech does not mean educational reform. But it does mean changes in the delivery of material, the way people collaborate, the communication of ideas, and the speed at which information (good and bad) travels. Teachers and administrators alike can steer these changes in directions that bring better learning opportunities to all students.
Future Ed Tech posts will look at some of these emerging technologies in more detail. We will also discuss the training and support teachers need as major shifts occur in schools. Many questions arise when looking ahead. Your suggestions, ideas, and concerns are welcomed in the comments section, to help shape the conversation.
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Makers in the Classroom: A How-To Guide from EdSurge
The Classroom of the Future from Education 2025
Cloud Technology Forecast: Sunshine with Chance of Showers from District Administration
A Guide for School Districts from the Participatory Learning Initiative at Consortium for School Networking (CoSN)
I wonder if productivity really did rise.