Thoughts on the Future of EdTech: Craig Kemp

Cross-posted from www.mrkempnz.com

My name is Craig Kemp. I am a globally connected and enthusiastic tech driven educator from New Zealand. I am a Twitter addict (follow me @mrkempnz) and passionate about showcasing student voice to improve learning. I am a blogger (http://mrkempreflects.blogspot.com) and co-creator/moderator of #whatisschool chats, giving educators an open, online space to express unbiased responses to questions about schooling and education (join the conversation every Thursday 7pm EDT (Friday 9am AEST, 12pm NZT) on Twitter by using the hashtag #whatisschool). My current role is Head of ICT and Learning Innovation at Avondale Grammar School in Singapore, an international school for expatriate children, running the Australian Curriculum. Today, I have been asked to give my opinions about the future of Educational Technology based on the current trends in Education.

The future of Edtech is always an exciting one. Every day we see new developments, so to think ahead 5 years and predict what will be happening is challenging.

Current trends in educational technology include:

BYOD - Bring Your Own Device, is now commonplace in many schools. Schools are giving students more freedom about selecting their own device to support their learning in an environment (that is almost entirely web based). Early studies show that students who use their own device for learning have increased productivity and engagement. Schools need to select a strategy that best suits the needs of their community. BYOD is becoming increasingly popular as the cost of devices becomes more affordable. I have been involved in several 1:1 device programs and while the device type is important, what has helped with the success is the support provided for staff, students and parents.

Social Media as a Teaching and Learning tool - Both for staff and students - the world is literally at our fingertips - why not utilise it to connect and collaborate. With Twitter being taken over by educators sharing, connecting and collaborating it is an amazing network to be involved in. Twitter is becoming a popular environment for teacher controlled class accounts where students connect and collaborate with other students and experts in a 'live' chat style, engaging environment. Learning literally never stops and can happen anywhere and anytime! Check out this example of my class using Twitter to support their learning: http://mrkempreflects.blogspot.sg/2014/05/using-twitter-in-classroom-my-firsthand.html

iPads / tablets - the notion of portable devices that support learning anywhere at any time continues to be a trend and continues to be highly successful in all educational learning environments. Tablet devices (such as iPads) are now more affordable and are easily adaptable to the anywhere, anytime learning environments that many schools are now promoting. The thousands of education apps that are released every week pay tribute to the trend that is portable devices. Think of a problem, there is an app for it, think of a learning opportunity, there is an app for that too!

Use of video to create global connections - the idea of being a globally connected educator and providing students with the opportunity to learn from experts through Skype or Google Hangouts is exciting and now a reality. Many schools are now connecting with experts and other classrooms all over the world in a collaborative and engaging manner. With the introduction of engaging programs like Mystery Skype, the world is your Oyster when it comes to learning opportunities. The teacher no longer has to be the expert in everything in the classroom.

The Flipped Classroom - the pedagogical model where a typical classroom session is reversed. Short videos are created and viewed by students at home before the class session and in class time is devoted to exercises, projects or discussions.

So if this is happening now, where to in the future?

My predictions for the next 5 years in Edtech:

Wearable Devices - the art of being able to learn anywhere at anytime will also include any 'how' and wearable devices will give students and educators more opportunities to be connected learners.

Connectivity for all - it still frustrates me that many schools are not connected with reliable Internet connectivity and is restricted from using programs that encourage collaboration like Twitter, Skype and Google Hangouts. The next 5 years will see a change in attitudes here.

Online Learning - the current trend of the 'flipped classroom' will continue and become the norm. So many learning opportunities are now found online, and within 5 years any learning experience will be able to be found online in an interactive and engaging environment. The art of being a social creature, however, could be a skill that will diminish (hopefully not).

Although some of my thoughts are a mere dream, most are already becoming a reality (if not a reality in many classrooms) and by the distributive nature of Education, I expect many trends to spread across the world like wildfire as they are proven successful and more research comes out about how they have improved student learning.

Please connect with me and engage on my blog and via Twitter.

I look forward to collaborating and connecting soon.