What do you think will be the main things we'll be seeing in ed-tech in 2018?
Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality
This is the year that Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality start to make an impact in classrooms. This technology is reaching the point where teachers can harness it to deliver the curriculum. VR/AR is more than wearing a headset and nodding along; companies will start to find ways of delivering these experiences on a range of platforms.
‘Personalised learning’ can be classed as a hardy perennial in pieces like this as it pops up every year! But platforms are developing, so more and more students will be connected with content which is being shaped for their personal needs. Expect this to be on next year’s list too!
Learning Space Redesign
New technologies create opportunities for all sectors of education to seriously think about the organisation of learning spaces. In the past we tend to think that the ICT component of a room is fixed. But technology is mobile, student devices can sit on desks, laps, the floor, and the interactive screen can be moved around too. With coherent vision and wise choices in furniture, the classroom can be remodelled on-the-fly to suit different learning, from collaboration in small groups, to individual work and whole class teaching.
What do you think will be the main ed tech challenges in 2018?
As more educational data is moved to the cloud, we expect to see a growing trend for security and privacy to be highlighted. Updates to data protection regulations are persuading schools and colleges to look at where their data is headed and for what purpose. We may see some high profile cases of bad practice, but companies who take these issues seriously will have an advantage as institutions toughen up their stance on personal data.
It has always been the case that ed tech needs to make a case for its relevance. A great teacher with just a flipchart will outperform a poor teacher with lots of technology. So ed tech companies need to be diligent in how they ‘sell’ solutions to teachers and show they really make a difference. Some solutions may not be about improving learning in isolation; with teacher time so precious, efficiency savings using technology will always be welcome.
Parents can often feel unconnected to what children do in school, but now the internet and mobile devices are pervasive and cloud platforms are maturing, the challenge to breach this gap and involve parents is looking like it could be solved.
Matthew Pearson, Prowise Education Specialist.