For years analysts have been predicting new and exciting developments in educational technology. The forecasts for 2013, though, appear to be more about which current strategies to embrace and enhance rather than new software or hardware. Below are the top trends for 2013, both education-specific and beyond, as cited by industry analysts.
1. Mobile First – The rise of Bring Your Own Device for both students and educators means that materials need to be available and functional in a variety of formats. While content is key, analysts predict that in the consumer and education industries companies will start thinking about mobile first for content delivery.
2. Game-Based Learning – At the 2012 CIC speakers talked about the rising popularity of game-based learning; analysts now think the industry may have reached the tipping point. While educational games have been hovering on the perimeter and researchers have touted their value, it’s the newer parents and teachers who come from a generation that embraced the gaming culture who are promoting gamification.
3. MOOCs – Massive Open Online Courses are already trending in the higher education environment and are moving into K-12. Educators, parents, and students see MOOCs as a path towards personalized learning because students and educators can choose the elements of the courses that are relevant to the learners’ needs. Moreover, students may take online courses on their own time to delve deeper into an interesting subject or supplement their school’s curriculum.
4. Social Learning – From teachers creating classroom blogs to students working on projects through online communities, social media is becoming an integral part of the learning process. Students will need ways to access these social media in and out of the classroom, and educators will need materials that incorporate social learning into the lessons.
5. Cloud Computing – Following on the rise of social learning, schools are looking for content management systems that are in the cloud so that materials, assessments, data, reports—every part of school operations—can be accessed when needed and where needed.
6. Cross-platform integration – In addition to accessing information online, educators are asking for data that can be compared across instructional materials and assessments while schools and districts are looking for materials and analytics that can operate cross-platform. At AEP’s 2012 CEO Roundtable, the speakers called on the learning resource industry to help drive efforts to increase interoperability and integration.
7. Big Data/Analytics – As discussed at AEP’s 2012 CEO Roundtable, discovering what data to collect on students is just the first step. Learning how to analyze data so that educators, students, and even publishers have actionable results is the next big hurdle. One big data initiative is the Learning Resource Metadata Initiative (LRMI), from AEP and Creative Commons, which is working to create a standard metadata framework for marking up educational content on the Web.
8. Online Learning – Along with issues of accessibility, educators are now looking at accountability, especially if students are taking courses from a variety of online resources. While this is currently more of an issue in higher education, the K-12 community is starting to look at how to evaluate student knowledge of courses they take online and how the courses count in the school’s curriculum.
9. Tablets and Tablet/Laptop Hybrids – The trend isn’t just about the rise of tablet computing but how the tablets are used and how they have changed user expectations. For example, kids expect touch screen capabilities, small device sizes, voice interaction, and other functions based on the newer technologies. Content developers need to think about the dynamics of the tablet/app experience.
10. Security and Privacy – With the variety of personal devices used in learning, anywhere/anytime access to educational systems, and the push for data collection and analytics come increased scrutiny over student privacy and security. A big hurdle for any tech company and resource provider in education is straddling the line between collecting data and making it accessible while protecting student information.
Trends in the education world reflect broader movements in the consumer and home-user arenas. But even as students look for products that take advantage of the latest digital efficiencies, they still demand quality content that helps them achieve their learning goals.
The AEP Awards recognize learning resources that marry quality content with powerful delivery methods. Learn more about the AEP Awards and the hallmarks of high-quality educational materials.
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