It certainly is an exciting time to be involved with learning and technology. Because of the great advances we are making in educational technology, new doors of opportunity are opening in classrooms. The Horizon Report has identified six technology disciplines that are emerging within classrooms across the United States. Some of these will take some time to implement, but others you can start using today if you want.
1. Cloud Computing – If you are using some form of web-based tools, then you are enabling further student-educator collaboration. One of the biggest advantages of cloud computing is that it saves schools time, money, and resources. Virtual learning environments are one example of cloud computing. Many Michigan schools are using Google Apps for email and document collaboration.
2. Mobile Technology – There are an increasing number of K-12 schools that are seeing the potential in mobile devices. The devices are less expensive than most laptops, and they need less infrastructure to support them. One example is a group of K-12 students using an iPhone to gather and track GPS-tagged bird sightings for a WildLab proram.
3. Gaming – Using game-based learning scenarios allows for experimentation, the exploration of identities, and even failure in a safe environment. One example of gaming in education can be found in Palm Beach Gardens high school, where they are using a web-based game show format in their language arts program.
4. Open Content – Open content producers have evolved as well. The first major one to hit the scene was Wikipedia, but this concept has been expanded upon in different areas in education. Today there are many textbooks that are being created for schools and universities using the open content concept.
5. Learning Analytics – The use of learning based analytics takes advantage of data mining, interpretation, and modeling to improve our understanding of teaching and learning. New APIs, such as TinCan (Experience) API is a major tool that lends itself to the gathering of meaningful, real-time learning analytics that is device agnostic.
6. Personal Learning Environments – A personal learning environment (PLE) is not just a technology, but also an approach/process that is designed with the individual in mind, and therefore different from one learner to another.
Saint Xavier University