Tech-savvy educators know they must stay on top of the myriad changes and trends in education to learn how teaching and learning can best benefit from technology’s near-constant change. At this year’s FETC and TCEA conferences, there were plenty of new EdTech trends to discover and learn about. If you weren’t able to attend either of these leading education industry conferences, here’s what our feet on the tradeshow floor took in as noteworthy or trending:
This year’s TCEA convention and expo will be an event you won’t want to miss. Held from February 5–9 in Austin, Texas, TCEA is the place for innovative educators to network, collaborate, and learn more about the current trends in EdTech.
This show gathers K-20 administrators, teachers, and techies alike around the latest tools and tips that support teaching and learning. It also offers plenty of opportunities to reconnect with your colleagues, make new acquaintances, and learn new ideas that could enhance your career. Better yet, maybe you will be that change agent to help others!
A new year is a great time to look at our accomplishments from the year gone by. Traditionally, it is also the time when we seek out opportunities for growth as we look ahead. I thought I would share some areas in which I would like to grow in 2018. By sharing these with you, I hope that maybe you can be inspired to take on some new learning, grow as an individual and a teacher, and get out of your comfort zone to try something challenging.
As we turn the calendar once again, we find ourselves with a new year full of possibilities. But even with all these possibilities, we know that old habits die hard—this is why listing our New Year’s resolutions is a popular practice and can be very profound. The list either helps us to do something new that we have always wanted to try, or start doing something we have known for a while and need to pick up again.
So for 2018, I have developed my top list of things I would like to do, improve at, or focus on for the year. These resolutions are aimed at improving my knowledge of educational technology (and more!) and are in no particular order—and a few are a little tongue in cheek!
It’s true what people say: Each year seems to go by faster than the one before! For Boxlight, 2017 has been full of exciting new product launches and a greater focus on STEM initiatives—including becoming the convening agency for the Georgia Girls STEM Collaborative, formed under the auspices of the National Girls Collaborative Project. We received a host of accolades from a number of prestigious organizations, and we also saw the closing of our initial public offering. However, these activities won’t have us resting on our laurels and there is still much work to be done.
Considering the dynamic nature of the education industry and the practices followed, a teacher’s role today is quite multifaceted in comparison to how it used to be. For example, earlier curriculums and teaching methods were standardized and the teaching tools were common for all. However, with the introduction of technology, the options for teaching methods and tools have greatly increased.
I grew up in a small town in Minnesota. Our one elementary school building (K–6) and one combined junior and high school campus (7–12), along with the Catholic elementary school (K–6), were central to the community—structures that connected generations, a teaching staff that communicated local values, and a forum where community pride took shape in school events and the cheering on of beloved high school sports teams. It’s important to consider this rural context—deep pride in both place and people—before turning to a discussion of technology use within rural schools.
In 2011, Steve Jobs described Apple products as the intersection of technology and liberal arts—this is part of why the original Apple line (iPod, iPad, and then iPhone) all fascinated us. These were products that did something different with technology that we had never experienced before. We now listened to music, played games, created music, and even designed and painted in a different and new way. Jobs believed the future of technology would become “post-PC” and we would interact with technology in a whole new way.
In the cult classic Office Space, the famous one-liner heard multiple times is, “So what would you say you do here?” It gets a lot of laughs because the high-level executives have no real clue what anyone in the office actually does. The truth of the matter is that in the world of education, teachers don't always know what other professionals actually do at their jobs, either. We know we can encourage students to become doctors, lawyers, welders, or accountants—some of these jobs we feel like we know well because we probably have experience with them. But when it comes to the field of engineering, I would guess that most teachers don’t really have a firm grasp on what the job actually entails.
Career growth in STEM fields (science, technology, engineering, and math) shows no sign of slowing down, so how do we ensure that today’s students are ready for the jobs of tomorrow? By incorporating STEM learning into the classroom, we can give our students the tools they need to succeed in the future—and spark interest in these fields.