When winding down from the school year, I always take a bit of time to reflect on the events of the past year—but I also make certain to keep a steady gaze toward the future. When it comes to education, a great deal never changes. Teachers remain laser-focused and dedicated to their students’ success, while students are eager to learn (albeit they sometimes conceal their enthusiasm). Yet every year, I marvel at the pace of change within the technology ecosystem of K-12 education.
We know what it’s like to attend a one-day professional development event and never have any follow-up training. It is just as frustrating to listen to a trainer and not be able to practice what you learned because the equipment is not readily available. Additionally, many of us have struggled through a training never being able to touch a piece of technology equipment.
If keyboarding is an important skill for students to learn and master—and many would say that it is—what are some good tools to help students learn this skill? Like many online options, there are free versions that can work for different circumstances. Sometimes free versions have limits, and paying a little bit for one of the programs is well worth the money. But other times, especially when students are first learning keyboarding, free versions are just fine.
The door to the future is through education. We have a shared dream to create a better future for our students, providing them with the best education now so they will have the best opportunities to succeed in college and their subsequent careers when they are older.
Over the past few years, EdTech investment reached all-time highs as funds poured in through both the public and private sectors. In fact, education technology companies saw growth of over 503% in investment through 2010 to 2014, according to a CBS Insights report. In 2015, deal activity to EdTech startups reached an all-time high, as startups raked in $3.1 billion in 491 deals.
With the education market currently valued at $4.4 trillion per year, there is huge potential for companies looking to disrupt an industry and deliver new ways for students around the world to learn the skills needed for their future careers. And with EdTech poised to capture a great deal of investment in 2017 and become the biggest and most profitable digitized sector yet, a number of companies have emerged to capitalize on this opportunity and offer groundbreaking new products.
We are only about 25% of the way through the year, but there has already been a number of exciting books published in the world of education. From scholarly books to practical guides and straight-talking classroom help to intellectual political thought, there is something new to be found for every type of teacher leader.
When it comes to technology, most schools don’t assign separate grades for “computing.” Most of us in the EdTech world probably wouldn’t suggest doing that anyway. Technology should be integrated rather than being treated as an add-on; it is just part of “what we do” in the classroom, and not a separate subject.
Whether it is a school-owned computer or a student BYOD cell phone, classroom management with devices can be challenging. Most students probably see their own device as a gaming/texting/social media gadget—and not as a learning tool. So when teachers ask students to use their devices to learn, and not to play, it can be very challenging. From social media and games to learning tools, most students are highly adept at flipping from one thing to the next, such as hiding apps they shouldn’t be on and masking their social media action. Because of all this, monitoring and managing can be difficult from the outset.
Which Interactive Solution Is Right for Your School?
Interactive technologies offer an effective, engaging, and easy way to provide teacher-led instruction. Whole-class tools are designed to put students at the center of the educational environment, so they’re more engaged, more collaborative, and more motivated.
There’s a wide array of choices when it comes to whole-class technology, which you can read about in our recent blog articles: portable IWBs, interactive projectors (standard and laser), touch boards, and flat panel displays. Some of the most important considerations are what will work for your classroom configurations and for the teaching and learning styles of your educators and students.
Whole-class learning is a key aspect of the modern classroom, but how do you find the right solution for your school? There are a variety of options, so you need to take a closer look at each one to determine which is the best choice for your students, teachers, curriculum, and budget.