5 Edtech Predictions for 2015
What does 2015 hold for education? 2014 was an exciting year for the education sector as we saw trends such as mobile and flipped learning gaining momentum with the help of tools like integrated learning technology. As we continue into the New Year, the intrigue as to what we can expect grows.
The media is a flurry of industry forecasts as educators and education technology experts try to pin what we can expect from education technology this year. Here are some of the top predictions that we came across.
1. Collaborative Lesson Plans
With the rapid development of internet resources, crowdsourcing has found its way into schools and classrooms, with teachers sharing ideas and information through wikis and online communities such as Khan Academy. Education technology firms are hoping to see the trend expanding as teachers develop more crowdsourced lesson plans through collaboration in order to redesign school curricula to meet modern standards.
2. Mainstream Makerspaces
The maker revolution continues to sweep through schools, and teachers have embraced it with open arms. The coming year will most likely bring an explosion of new makerspaces dedicated to helping students create and experiment. Technology experts foresee educators increasingly updating traditional wood and metal work classes with modern ed tech innovations. From 3D printing to robotics to programmable textiles, they’ll have plenty of options.
3. High-Speed Internet in Schools
Access to an adequate internet connection remains a huge barrier to learning for students in the UK. A shift in accessibility to internet is expected for 2015.
4. Smart Universities Will Transform into Media Companies
Schools, universities, colleges, and other learning institutions have the opportunity to monetise their uniquely generated educational content such as video assets that are spread across campus. It is expected that in 2015 institutions will realise the potential to “re-sell” their learning material in various ways and as a result transform into media companies.
Gaining copyrights and tagging these assets through the use of metadata will open a whole new world of opportunities for learning institutions: an improved discovery experience for existing students and the content will be an excellent pull to gaining new students.
5. Accessibility Moves Up the Agenda
As more countries bring in anti-discriminatory laws (refer to Disabled Person Education Rights) we will see technology providers and learning institutions taking further steps to make learning more accessible to SEN students in 2015.
Research collected by the National Deaf Children’s Society (NDCS) indicates that there are over 45,000 deaf children in the UK. Those with mild hearing impairments or students untested for hearing disabilities are not included in the figure. High quality acoustics in schools are essential for all children to be able to listen and learn. Those who have hearing impairments in particular suffer in classrooms with poor acoustics, and interactive technology has proven to assist these students in excelling.
Commonly experienced obstacles to learning due to exclusion associated with hearing difficulties include concentration difficulties or auditory processing disorder. Improving communication in class subsequently boosts inclusion.
Sound for Schools and Improving the Accessibility of Learning
Tom Parker at Sound for Schools says that modern classrooms should be able to make provision for learners with difficulty hearing and that this will also benefit other students in the classroom because of the improved learning conditions “classes with appropriate acoustic treatments and an advanced AV sound system for hearing loss make it easier for all kids to hear and learn. The rule of thumb is that better environments equal better learning equals better results”. He therefore suggests that each classroom invests in a sound broadcasting system (commonly referred to as a Soundfield system) for children with hearing loss. Highly recommended learning tools for SEN students include the Comfort Audio Digisystem and FrontRow TOGO.
Parents should be aware of the benefits a Soundfield system could bring to their child’s classroom – it could be that the school has to make suitable provision by law. The minimum standards for sound and acoustic regulation at school are set out in Building Bulletin 93 (BB93). The regulations apply to all new school buildings built since 2003 in England and Wales.
Teachers, on the other hand, should focus on reducing classroom noise, ensuring their voice is accessible and look at noise treatment solutions and noise monitors. It is also key to remember that since children often come to school with colds, it is good practice to put measures in place so that children don’t fall behind with their work.
Do you have any predictions for education technology in 2015?