What do you think will be the main things we'll be seeing in ed tech in 2018?

If a week in politics is said to be a long time, then a year of EdTech change is like a millennium when it comes to predicting what may come next. Generally EdTech develops to meet a specific need or challenge in education, or existing ‘mainstream’ Tech is appropriated by the education sector, which may influence its development in that direction, the iPad being an example of the latter. Its adoption by education is very likely to have influenced the development iOS accessibility features. 

What to watch for in 2018

Two things growing over the past eighteen to twenty-four months are virtual reality and technology for online teaching. While these ideas have been out for a while, the capabilities of these technologies have improved their design and application to education. Developments in internet software technologies and networking infrastructure has also enabled innovation in the area of technology for online teaching.

Look for virtual reality training that blends technology with human interaction to provide realistic immersive learning experiences for the education and commercial arenas. Also track the improvement of technology for online teaching services which will fill provision within and outside of the classroom. 

What do you think will be the main ed tech challenges in 2018?

Challenge 1: Managing change

Change, as they say, is here to stay! Where technology is concerned there may be more resistance to the changes EdTech brings to education. Particularly where technology require educators to move from familiar pedagogical and procedural approaches to new methodologies and forces improvements to infrastructures. 

Challenge 2: Longevity and value for money.

EdTech moves faster than education can keep up, partly because of the need to evaluate ideas before embedding technology. Some Tech is a flash in the pan, other ideas develop longevity. A responsive vision and development plan for EdTech can help evaluate potential tech to avoid expensive pitfalls or Tech fads that end up in the back of the cupboard when the next thing comes along. 

Challenge 3: Children’s Mental Health.

Children are exposed to the internet-enabled devices and online games from a young age. This exposure increases into the Secondary stage as pre and young teens increasingly access social media. There are already excellent e-safety resources and more will be created, however the challenge is to help young people value themselves and others while navigating this medium without further detriment to their mental and emotional wellbeing. 

Alastair Fielden, education consultant for Connect.

Stand: F322