Posts

Edtech Trends to Watch Out for in 2019

High school website in Dublin

While educational technology enjoyed a stellar year of development and implementation in 2018, it’s really going to take off in 2019.

We’ve examined the most popular forms of edtech from 2018 to determine what edtech trends are going to take centre stage in the coming months.

The biggest and brightest edtech trend set for widescale adoption in 2019 is without a doubt experiential learning.

Put simply, experiential learning is a form of teaching that engages with the learner through a variety of experiences such as hands-on learning, collaboration, experimenting and analysing.

Edtech that supports experiential learning includes virtual reality and augmented reality, virtual labs, gamification and online platforms, so teachers have a wealth of edtech products to choose from when introducing this form of learning to students.

Another edtech trend set to take the educational world by storm is the use of artificial intelligence (AI) to provide more personalised learning.

AI is used in a multitude of fields and is especially suited to education, thanks to the use AI in conjunction with data analytics to develop personalised learning experiences that cater to the specific needs of students.

For instance, AI can streamline grading and assessments, and will pick up on particular areas students are finding difficult and suggest revised learning topics.

The above are just two of the numerous edtech trends that are likely to see widespread adoption in 2019, but we believe both experiential learning and personalised learning by way of AI will have the biggest impact on students and teachers alike.

What to Ask When Buying Edtech Products

Learning

When it comes to buying edtech products for the classroom, most educators are understandably hesitant to spend big money on software and devices without knowing exactly how they’ll improve the learning experience.

Thankfully, a recent article aimed at edtech companies reveals the questions teachers and administrators should ask before investing in any edtech product.

5 Questions Teachers Will Ask About Your Edtech Product” from The Tech Advocate offers plenty of good advice to not only edtech companies but also their prospective clients, namely educators.

It may seem obvious, but the first question you should ask is if the product will be useful to you or your students.

As the article points out, there’s a wealth of edtech products out there and teachers need to know if the product they buy is going to solve a specific classroom issue.

It’s always a good idea to ask for evidence that the product works, such as research studies or validation, and make sure to enquire about the products success rate in other classrooms.

Edtech products can vary greatly in terms of ease-of-use, so remember to find out what’s required to implement the product into your classroom, and if training is required to use the product.

Finally, ask about support for the product and what kind of customer service is available should you run into issues.

Teaching STEM with Drones

The past few years have seen a bigger focus on STEM subjects in schools across the world, as educators help students prepare for a potential career in the science and technology fields.

One of the great things about STEM subjects is the opportunity they offer for the introduction of a variety of new technologies into education, such as drones.

As pointed out in a recent article from Edtech Magazine, the Young Women’s Leadership Academy in Fort Worth, Texas, launched the inaugural Bell Drone Competition in April of this year, challenging students to design, build and fly their very own drones.

The students were broken into teams, most of whom had never used a drone before, and were also tasked with programming the drone’s motors and servos.

One of the goals of the competition is to get girls interested in engineering, something which can be achieved easier when presenting lessons in a competitive format that incentives students to learn.

Edtech is revolutionising the classroom to the benefit of students and teachers, but as we can see from the above example there are other ways to get students interested in STEM that are both fun and educational.

How 5G Will Impact VR/AR

5G network connectivity is set to transform wireless technology, but did you know it will also have a massive impact on educational technology?

A recent article from Edtech Magazine examined some of the different areas of edtech 5G will innovate when it starts rolling out to mobile devices next year, and noted its capacity for improving VR and AR technology.

For the unaware, the main benefits of 5G are increased network speeds and connectivity, greater device storage space and far lower latency than that of 4G networks.

VR and AR of course refers to virtual reality (computer generated worlds) and augmented reality (computer generated graphics on top of physical objects), two technologies that are starting to find use in multiple fields, including education.

As the article points out, current VR and AR devices are subject to latency, which can be problematic for teachers who wish to use the technology in the classroom.

Latency is simply a delay in data transfer, which manifests as stuttering frames and clipped audio, something which would obviously reduce the effectiveness of educational videos or games.

5G is expected to reduce latency to under 10 milliseconds, making it much more suitable for use with children of all ages.

Similarly, it will be much easier and faster to download VR and AR content, and 5G technology will also enable developers to build self-contained VR and AR devices that can stream content directly from the cloud.

This in turn will reduce the cost of such devices and make VR and AR much more accessible to teachers and their students.

5G wireless network connectivity is set to start rolling out to devices during the course of 2019.

Infographic: AI and Academic Video

A recent survey conducted by Sonic Foundry’s Mediasite and University Business (via EdTech Magazine) notes how 90 percent of leaders from U.S. colleges and universities believe students will use some form of on-demand educational videos for learning purpose in the near future.

Referring to a potential platform for such videos as a “Netflix model for learning”, the article states that “recent breakthroughs in artificial intelligence can help students find the best videos”.

The use of videos in the classroom is increasing all the time and it makes sense the developers of a on-demand service for educational videos would base their model on the likes of Netflix and YouTube, two tech companies who dominate the digital video space thanks to their large selections of videos and simple-to-use interface.

Sonic Foundry and University Business also provided an infographic detailing how college and university leaders in the U.S. believe artificial intelligence will impact educational videos.

Edtech Terms Every Teacher Should Know

Mobile app design and development

Educational technology is becoming more and more prominent in classrooms around the world and with it a whole heap of new terminologies that describe various forms of edtech.

We’ve rounded up some of the most common edtech terms you’re likely to hear over the coming years as educational technology starts to take on a bigger role in the learning process.

Adaptive learning refers to the use of technology to enhance study materials to improve students’ ability.

This technology could be in the form of a computer, tablet or online system, and most edtech tools could be described as adaptive learning.

Blended learning is the use of both edtech and traditional modes of learning when teaching e.g. online resources such as tablets and offline resources like schoolbooks.

Differentiated learning is the technique of tailoring various components of a lesson for each individual student, and is different to personalised learning as you modify the lesson based on the syllabus rather than the student’s strengths.

Gamification describes the use of the gaming elements in teaching e.g. earning points, levelling up and competing with others.

A number of edtech tools use gamification to ensure students are fully engaged with what they’re learning.

The above are just a few of the many edtech terms in use today, and we’ll be covering some of the more technical terminology in later blogs.

EdTech Trends: Smartphone Feedback for Homework

The Learnovation EdTech summit took place last week in Croke Park, giving visitors the chance to hear about the biggest upcoming EdTech trends from some of the most knowledgeable people in the EdTech world.

Perhaps one of the more interesting trends we heard about was how a school in England is now using voice feedback to mark homework.

Abdul Chohan, a speaker at Learnovation and the co-founder of The Olive School in Bolton, England, told attendees how children from the age of five up take photos of their homework, which is directly uploaded to teachers’ mobile devices and smartphones.

Teachers can then select specific parts of the homework and leave voice feedback all through the use of a mobile device.

Mr Chohan noted that this innovative method for marking homework significantly reduces the amount of time teachers spend on this aspect of school life, and also improves the quality of the feedback to the benefit of students and teachers alike.

In addition, Mr Chohan noted that by communicating via voice feedback, it helps to build a personal relationship between students, parents and teachers.

It’s an interesting take on an fundamental element of education, and one that is very likely to see increased adoption in schools all around the world over the coming years.

EdTech Trends Update

The EdTech industry is one of constant innovation, so it should come as no surprise to anybody interested in this area of technology that this year’s biggest EdTech trends are constantly evolving.

In today’s EdTech Trends Update, we look at the two areas of technology Irish schools are most interested to explore and how these new forms of technology will benefit students and teachers alike.

Mobile Learning

Mobile Learning, aka education via smartphones and tablets, is becoming increasingly common in Ireland and there are countless educational apps available to download today.

Schools are starting to realise the potential of Mobile Learning and a number of schools across the country are introducing Mobile Learning into a range of subjects to great success.

Among the benefits Mobile Learning offers are greater student engagement, higher lesson retention rates and the variety of learning options available for students to engage in.

Mobile Learning is guaranteed to become a bigger part of students’ lives and as more schools invest in this technology we should expect it grow in popularity and usage.

Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality

Affordable Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) for schools is still a while away but some Irish schools are slowly but surely giving their students the opportunity to try out these incredible technologies.

Augmented Reality is a fusion of computer generated images on reality while Virtual Reality features completely fabricated virtual worlds, which can be used to transport students to distant worlds and other eras.

Both forms of technology provide teachers with an innovative method for teaching students, allowing them to experience their lessons rather than just read about it the topic in a book.

A large number of tech companies around the world are developing more efficient and cost-effective AR and VR offerings, so this exciting technology is likely to find a permanent home in Irish schools in the coming years.

,

Time Saving Technology Hacks

Technology Hacks

Technology can be very easy to use. It can also be difficult. For those who did not grow up with technology, it can be a really challenging and frustrating experience.

For those who do not fully understand technology, it is a grueling and tortuous experience. In the world we live in today, technology is not going anywhere, and in certain job fields, technology is now commonplace.

In the education sector today it would be considered abnormal for a classroom to not have some type of technology. Whether that technology be a computer, an iPad, or even just a projector. Many classrooms do not solely have a blackboard in the middle of the room. The ways of learning are constantly upgrading, so the methods of teaching should be as well.

“There can be infinite uses of the computer and of new age technology, but if teachers themselves are not able to bring it into the classroom and make it work, then it fails.”

– Nancy Kassebaum

Again, technology can be very easy, or it can be difficult. But there is good news. TED Talk speaker David Pogue has created a list of ten tech hacks that will save you some time. It will also provide you with some simple tips to use to help in the classroom. 

Watch the full video here

By Taylor

, ,

Analytics for Education

Education Analytics

Education Analytics

In recent years, the idea of big data analysis and analytics has taken the tech and business worlds by storm. Every action that we take online leaves a digital trail. There’s an increasing emphasis on software that can analyze this large volume of data. Because this analysis is so vast, it can reveal fascinating trends and patterns in consumer behavior.

Learning analytics is the synthesis of user (learner) created data to discover correlations and predict on future outcomes.

George Siemens presents a holistic model for learning analytics that incorporates not only student class performance data, but also elements from all areas of a student’s online life. Predictions based on analytics would lead to adaptation, personalization, and intervention in learning.

This process helps educators and administrators as well. Recorded student interactions in the VLE (virtual learning environment) can be used to help create more dynamic curriculum design. There is potential for the learning experience to be optimized for each student. The impact of any updates or changes can be easily tracked.

Education AnalyticsWhy Learn Analytics?

Learning analytics is scalable – teachers can implement the basic principles as a way for individual students to reflect on their growth and success. An example of this would be to create a table with all class assignments. For each assignment, students can record where they completed it as well as their level of understanding. This also would include the grade they received on the assignment. Learners will be able to identify their optimal environment to complete assignments and predict how well they will do on an assignment based on various factors.

Learning analytics and educational data mining are powerful tools for improving learner performance, but they come with some ethical debates. Can students’ privacy be preserved? Additionally, would a prediction of success or failure during a course help or hinder students learning?

Let us know what you think in the comments below!