Top 5 Trends in K-12 Education Technology and Where They’re Headed

Technology is changing how teachers communicate and creating new ways for students to learn. Access to new technology can be limited depending on the school district and especially funding. Although, several technologies are finding widespread appeal in well-funded and economically challenged districts alike.

1.       Chromebooks

When the iPad emerged as the leading force in education, some well-funded schools made it their goal to launch initiatives to give each student an iPad, known as the 1:1 model. Apple tablets are not cheap, and many public schools could not take the leap. Luckily for them, Google Chromebooks are changing that.

They’re affordable and available for schools. Rural districts are also shifting towards Chromebooks as a way to provide interactive learning to students at low costs. They fit well into a cloud-based model that’s accessible.

2.       Blended Learning

Although the term is somewhat ambiguous, blended learning remains a growing trend in K-12 classrooms. Blended courses offer a mix of traditional classroom instruction and online activities, readings, and assignments. Ultimately, students gain the opportunity to learn at their own pace, and many emerging platforms cater to individual learning styles. While many schools are embracing a blended learning model, some are reluctant to wade too far into exclusively online courses.

3.       Single Sign-On and Interoperability

Providing staff and students a single gateway to access content and information from various sources, single sign-on portals are another tech trend that’s gaining ground in K-12 education. With SSO, setting up a new user in the system becomes a much quicker process.

Popular SSO solutions for the K-12 arena include Education ElementsEduTone, and Clever’s Instant Login. But, SSO is just the entry point for interoperability.

Steps toward interoperability include Common Cartridge and LTI, which enable web-based applications and content to be maintained and displayed to various platforms.

4.       Wireless and Cloud-Based Multimedia

Videos remain an integral part of classroom learning, and now many classrooms are using wireless solutions like Apple TV to project media to class. Teachers can use it to go over lesson plans with students and play instructional videos, and students are able to connect and give presentations on their own devices.

Wireless interactive systems such as Cisco’s Spark, which creates a virtual space for messaging, videoconferencing and interactive drawing, are also gaining ground in some school districts.

5.       Internet of Things (IoT) Devices

IoT devices are a growing trend in K-12 spaces, especially those related to security and energy efficiency. Sensors can collect data and automatically regulate energy usage, lighting and HVAC systems, which results in cost savings for many districts. And IoT is a valuable tool for ensuring campus and school bus security.

Some schools are also pulling IoT technology into the learning process. High-tech greenhouses provide students with opportunities to observe and analyze data as they monitor a plant’s growth, and wearable devices such as the Muse headband offer teachers the chance to monitor students’ cognitive activity. In the future, Parks hopes IoT and other education tech will help students discern real-life applications for the skills and concepts they’re learning.

These new tools could help your school become technology-driven if it isn’t already, and are all definitely worth checking out.

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