Even in the fast-evolving world of educational technology, some things remain the same while others continue to change. As we did our annual review of various year-end trend articles, we realized that many of this year’s hot topics mirror last year’s. Our aggregated list reflects this. Some repeat topics, however, such as tablets and MOOCs, are at far different levels of acceptance or use than they were a year ago. We also included a “Wild Card” to reflect the fact that often something totally unexpected rises up to become the year’s hottest trend.
- Tablets: More and more school districts, including the Los Angeles Unified School District, are investing in tablets for students. Others, such as Miami-Dade in Florida and the Guilford County Schools in North Carolina, have slowed down or suspended tablet programs based on cost or technical considerations. Either way, tablets certainly will remain in the news in the year ahead.
- Learning Analytics: Big data has been a hot topic for at least the past few years, but increasingly the focus is shifting specifically to how that data can be used to analyze and improve student learning. The Learning Resource Metadata Initiative (LRMI) holds the promise to play a key role in this process by enabling teachers and students to more easily find educational content online to meet students’ specific learning needs.
- Student Privacy: As educators consider the potential benefits of big data in assisting student learning, some people (including many parents) worry about ensuring that student data is kept private and safe. A PreK-12 Learning Group webinar on “Privacy in a Social, Data-Driven World” last fall explored current laws and ways developers of learning resources can stay in compliance.
- Tapping International Markets: Increasingly, ed tech companies (and content providers in general) are looking outside U.S. borders to expand their markets. As a testament to that growing interest, a global preconference has become an important element of the Content in Context conference.
- Multiple Platforms: The shift from print to digital remains in full swing. In fact, some companies are moving away from calling themselves “publishers,” which to many people connotes an outdated print mode, to thinking of themselves as “digital learning companies.” A PreK-12 Learning Group webinar in December examined “Content Development and Production for Multi-Platform Use.”
- Gamification: More and more, educators are viewing games as a legitimate way for students to learn and are incorporating game-based learning into the curriculum. A host of both new and established companies are taking advantage of the opportunity to move into this expanding market.
- Social Media: Much like gaming, the use of blogging, Facebook, Twitter, and other forms of social media is gaining respectability and wider use within the educational community as tools to promote learning. Educators are taking note of the improved student engagement that social media use can create.
- MOOCs: The growth of Massively Open Online Courses is, well, massive at both the higher ed. and PreK-12 levels. In fact, Forbes recently named Salman Khan, founder of Khan Academy, as the most influential person in educational technology. Read more about that here.
- Open Educational Resources: The degree of threat that OER presents to commercial content providers remains open to debate, but no one can question their mushrooming growth. Classroom teachers and companies alike are going online to share lesson plans, videos, and other resources with educators throughout the world.
- Wild Card: What will be this year’s unforeseen hot commodity in the world of educational technology? Only time will tell!
“What’s Hot, What’s Not for 2014”
THE Journal, Dec. 2013
“8 Ed-Tech Predictions for 2014”
Hechinger Report Digital/Edu Blog, Dec. 24, 2013
“The 10 biggest edtech trends of 2013 and 2014”
eSchool News, Nov. 8, 2013
“7 Ed Tech Trends to Watch in 2014”
Open Education Database, Dec. 23, 2013
“Ed Tech Trends for 2014”
Education World, Jan. 2014
“The 10 Most-Viewed EdWeek Stories of 2013”
Education Week, Dec. 26, 2013
“Privacy in a Social, Data-Driven World
PreK-12 Webinar, Sept. 19, 2013
“’Big Three’ Publishers Rethink K-12 Strategies”
by Michelle R. Davis
Education Week, Feb. 6, 2013
“Stop the Hype and Hysteria”
edSurge, Dec. 20, 2013