Mashing Up @Edsurge 2014 Outlooks

In my previous post I declared video as the edtech phenomenon of 2013, based on investments & media coverage in the New York Times. What’s going to happen in 2014, then? Since we don’t yet have investment rounds, acquisitions, and other hard facts available, we have to settle on expert opinions.

fireworks

I took a look at the predictions on the EdSurge blog by various educational experts and tried to extract some common themes. I found the following topics getting the most attention:

  • Better accessability and “online everywhere”. Emphasizing these basic things shows that schools are still in a very heterogeneous and unequal position. Some of them have all the gadgets and fast infra, while (many) others suffer from poor access and the lack of good client devices. This has to be taken into account when designing digital content and educating educators.
  • Better testing & assessment. More emphasis has to be put on why and how the students should be tested. Teaching students just to pass tests makes no sense. Instead, the tests themselves should be vital part of the teaching process. This also calls for new and innovative ways of assessing.
  • Personalized learning. Online tools for identifying personalized learning needs and recommending suitable content to facilitate these needs are just that: tools. Nothing more, nothing less. They are tools for the teacher to better manage her class or directly for the (self-)students to obtain suitable exercises and other materials. In no way should they threaten the position of teachers.
  • Better professional development. The educators should have more choice and a wider variety of techniques & methods for keeping them up-to-date.

In addition to these top topics, also increase in investments to edtech, consumerization, big data, less technology for technology’s sake, teaching to code tools, and device management got more than one mention by the experts.

The experts on the EdSurge blog were divided into two major categories. First one was investors and the second educators & K-12 admins. These two groups were highlighting different topics, which is only natural. The first batch looks at the world from business perspective, whereas the latter is interested in how things function in the daily life of teaching & learning.

Of the four main topics listed above, both groups were emphasizing access and online, educators & admins were more into T&A and professional development, and personalized learning was solely in the investors’ agenda.

Flickr image CC credits: Ben le Photographe

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