The rapid pace of advancement in the educational technology sphere means that every year brings an exciting new range of possibilities for improving the way districts, teachers and students perform and interact with one another. Here are 5 key EdTech trends to look out for in 2017:
OER Grows Up
OER (open educational resource) materials have been rapidly growing over the past few years, but in 2017, this burgeoning trend is likely to take a big leap forward in terms of maturity, responsiveness and codification. That’s because states and administrators are now working to navigate and negotiate new ways to ensure the quality and curation of OER materials. To help this process along, SETDA (State Educational Technology Directors Association) recently launched From Print to Digital: Guide to Quality Instructional Materials, an online toolkit for states, districts, and schools designed to help them identify, curate and implement best practices in instructional materials and supplemental resources.
The Rise of Virtual and Augmented Reality
Video content and video games have become an integral part of the educational landscape over the last few years, and now, as VR and AR continue to become more sophisticated and cost-effective, we are likely to see a lot more of these technologies inside and outside the classroom over the next months and years. From augmented reality programs that allow information to be overlaid on the real world in real time, to immersive virtual reality lessons that allow students to explore ancient Rome, or the colonial United States from the comfort of their classroom or living room, this trend has the potential to revolutionize the in-class and out-of-class learning experience.
More and more schools this year will turn to ECM (enterprise content management) systems to help cut down on costs, lower their carbon footprints, and eliminate the redundancy and time-waste associated with paper documents and manual processes. Solutions like Content360° are helping schools to simplify the way they manage student information, finances, employee applications, human resources, and documents related to state/federal requirements by helping them to automate workflow and centralize previously disparate departmental processes.
An Emphasis on ‘Small Data’
Big data is essential to tracking large-scale trends in student, teacher and district performance, but last year we began to see a shift toward small data when it comes to measuring and enhancing student outcomes. This means that aside from focusing solely on exam performances and macro analytics, educators will put a stronger emphasis on measuring micro factors such as student behavior, social interactions, and emotional well-being—all of which have been proven to be key aspects of student performance in the classroom.
With the recent boom in EdTech, schools have seen rapid increases in energy costs. In fact, Energy usage is now the 2nd largest line-item in the average school operations budget, and utility costs are also on the rise. These trends have prompted many districts to look for solutions such as Power Save Schools, a program developed by the Alliance to Save Energy, which combines technology with hands-on projects and no-cost behavioral changes to educate students and faculty on energy efficiency and help schools save energy and money.
EdTech will continue to evolve at a lightning fast pace over the next months and years, and with so many new companies, startups and innovators popping up on the scene, there’s no way to predict exactly what the new educational landscape is going to look like going forward. But, if there is one thing we are expecting to see, it is that all of these new movements in EdTech will lead to the undisputed dominance of blended-learning, where the teacher student relationship becomes increasingly augmented and enhanced by exciting new forms of educational engagement both inside and outside the classroom.