As we begin another calendar year, developments in technology are already shaking up the classroom and facilitating new teaching methods. But what are the key educational tech trends that will help schools to deliver new and innovative learning experiences in 2019, and how can technology help educators to meet their goals in the new year?
Here are five key edtech trends to look out for in 2019:
1. Future proof technology
Despite the benefits of educational technology, 86% of teachers are struggling with failing tech, with budgetary pressures often the reason for this (The State of Technology in Education, 2018/19).
In response, educational leaders must become smarter about where they spend their available budget. And, in 2019, we predict that more and more schools will adopt a strategic approach to IT spend as they seek to ensure that their technology is fit for purpose today, and tomorrow.
This includes things like considering the total cost of ownership before investing in any new edtech. Because, while it might be tempting to buy resources with a cheap upfront cost, this approach could cost you more money in the long run. Especially if the equipment requires ongoing maintenance and costly updates.
On the other hand, future-proofed, upgradeable technologies like Promethean ActivPanels require less maintenance, come with free software updates and a favourable warranty, thus making them a much smarter investment.
2. Pupil safety
Protecting pupils has always been important to teachers, and all schools take this responsibility incredibly seriously. But with the introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), issues around pupil (and parental) data protection are set to be front of mind throughout 2019.
Crucially, over the next year and beyond, data protection and broader issues around online security will need to evolve from an IT issue to a school-wide concern. And there are signs that this is already happening with teacher training on safeguarding an identified priority for almost 73% of heads and deputies (The State of Technology in Education, 2018/19).
3. Cloud technology
In 2018, we argued that cloud computing would continue to make learning a more streamlined experience for pupils, and allow educators to increase their reach and share information without increased expenditure, or additional time pressure. This trend carries forward into 2019.
Helping schools to make the best use of their ICT budget and work towards their strategic visions, cloud computing can:
- Provide access to the very best IT at an affordable price (often on a subscription basis)
- Provide easy access to resources across numerous platforms
- Help teachers to wirelessly share their lessons and download and use their favourite apps
- Support new pedagogical practices such as flipped learning
- Facilitate the active participation of pupils via instant assessment, while allowing teachers to mark and collate responses in real-time
- Support BYOD initiatives
- Facilitate more flexible, modern classroom arrangements
4. Front-of-class displays
When we talk about advancements in technology, it’s usually things like virtual and augmented reality, robotics and social media platforms that grab our attention. And these are shaking up the classroom. For example, teachers are increasingly using VR to capture educational minds and fire imaginations and discussions.
But in 2019, front-of-class technology remains popular, with over a quarter of educators identifying it as a critical growth area (The State of Technology in Education, 2018/19).
However, while teachers have long used this method to share knowledge and illustrate complex concepts there is no doubt that the way front-of-class technology is being used is changing.
Today, the best interactive panels are being used in conjunction with cloud-based lesson tools, tablets, online content, instant assessment tools, and apps to allow educators to enhance their teaching methods and improve attainment across their schools.
5. Technology to support educators
According to a conference organised by the NASUWT teaching union, fewer than a quarter of young teachers say they expect to stay in teaching long term. And, with more than one in ten young teachers spending 25 hours a week or more working overtime, it comes as no surprise that an excessive workload is one of the biggest reasons why young teachers say they may leave the profession.
Indeed, Education Secretary Damian Hinds admitted to head teachers at the annual Association of School and College Leaders conference that workload was “one of the biggest threats” to teacher recruitment and retention.
This is also backed up by the State of Technology in Education 2018/19 report which states that: “The majority of our total respondents (62%) believe teachers’ workload is contributing towards high levels of stress in schools.”
In response, in 2019 more must be done to provide the tools necessary to help support teachers on a day-to-day basis. This could include things like:
- Real-time assessment tools to reduce the marking burden
- Apps, online forms and video conferencing (e.g. Skype) to minimise the time spent undertaking face-to-face meetings while keeping the lines of communication open
- Lesson planning tools allow teachers to customise and share lesson content, quickly and easily
Of course, it’s also vital that schools invest in the training necessary to ensure that teachers are comfortable using such technologies.