School may be out for summer, but you can bet it'll be back again just before the fall. And when it does, it won't be the school of 1956. Over the years, the demise of many public schools and the rise of alternative charter and magnet schools have shifted the way we look at education. As has the emergence of tech, which opened new doors (and new distractions) in the classroom.
These industry insders have observed these trends, and they took the time to highlight the most notable, impactful tech developments in education. Here's what they have to say:
1. Aakansha Lam, Founder of Energy Scalable
“While many higher education institutions, startups and technology providers are increasingly becoming aware of how they can adequately intersect digital learning solutions with accessibility, there has been a rise in assistive technology available to meet accessibility challenges. Capacity building programs integrating assistive technologies can make the biggest impact through sip-and-puff systems for those with motor capabilities (products by Origin Systems or The Jouse 3), proofreading tools (Ghotit and Ginger) for those with dyslexia, speech to text tools, and text-to-speech recognition tools, such as Kurzweil 3000 and Intel Reader, and assistive listening tools such as FM systems using radio broadcast technology.”
2. Chris Gaughan, Director of Product and Business Development for Early Adopter, a subsidiary of the Glimpse Group
“I see AR and VR as a huge equalizer for education, allowing a learner in a context like home schooling or restricted by low-income school budgets being granted the same access to the experiences of world-class experiences in use at universities like MIT or Carnegie Mellon. As this technology matures, I believe headsets will get smaller and cheaper over the next few years, that in combination with extension of 5G infrastructure over the next 36 months will yield a radically different educational environment.”
3. Tom Dolfi, Head of Marketing at Pathfinder
“AI. Artificial Intelligence won't replace human intelligence nor the need for real-life interaction anytime soon. Its purpose is to help and support the work of educators and institutions. With the advancement of machine learning, institutions will be able to deliver highly bespoke learning programmes combining multimedia solutions to suit the needs of each individual. The benefits of an AI-powered bespoke approach will also extend past education, supporting individuals in their long-term career development through the use of digital tools – that's why at Pathfinder we are building the first intelligent career development platform that will support individuals throughout their journeys.”
4. Betty Vandenbosch, Chancellor of Purdue University Global
“Most higher education institutions have an online component. This trend will accelerate as more working adults and their employers require life long learners to continually stay current and skilled in their area of expertise. The differentiator is how personalized the offerings are for a student's desired outcome- institutions that understand the needs of working adults and deliver programs that recognize what they already know and focus on teaching them new skills, will be successful because they are relevant and deliver positive outcomes.”
5. David D. Timony, Ph.D., Chair, Department of Education at Delaware Valley University
“This is a far less interesting topic. The big impact technologies are going to be the ones that extend internet access to all students in their homes along with reasonable devices for use. The best schools are able to utilize hardware assets in order to prioritize student learning above traditional expectations. One such school is Palisades School District in Kitnersville, PA. They have leveled the playing field not by lowering standards but by providing students with the necessary tools and training to elevate the standards for all. Their Cyber Academy has created an opportunity for seamless learning experiences for all students and has created an attractive option for students who may have considered switching to a cyber charter.”
6. Moe Abbas, founder and CEO of GenM
“I argue that the biggest impact will come not from new technology, but a new mindset. The technology has been in place for a while to enable affordable, remote education and experience to all, but historically society has viewed these alternative forms of education as less legitimate when compared to traditional models. With a job market that places one’s value on their ability to generate results rather than pure level of knowledge, the method of how one gained their skills becomes less and less relevant so long as these new models of education produce workers who have previous experience that enables them to hit the ground running and make a quantifiable impact.”
7. Kimberly Fahey, Executive Vice President and Chief Information Officer at Collegis Education
“A strong technology ecosystem, focused on students, data and integration, will make the biggest impact on the education industry in 2019. Every minute, millions of pieces of data are being captured that could inform marketing, student engagement and programmatic decisions, but only 0.5% of this data – across all industries – is actually being analyzed and used. Very few colleges and universities have the skillsets needed to collect, standardize and store their data, let alone make it actionable. With proper data management, institutions have seen remarkable benefits. In addition to using data to optimize marketing and admissions, institutions have experienced increased efficiencies in financial aid forecasting, student retention, curriculum development and even personal advising.”
8. Richard Wells, founder of EduWells
“Difficult one. Until schools move away from the industrial education model and truely allow students to use tech as they individually see fit, the impact from any tech will be limited to the imagination of the school or teacher. If the key in 2019 is learning how to learn, then understanding how and when to use video to learn and create is essentially the most impactful technology currently in use.”
9. Vielka Hoy, Founder and CEO of Bridge to College
“Some tech tools and applications are making inequities in education more
efficient, including providing pathways to careers that are nearly extinct. I think that any tool or organization that is also using the same science to evaluate its efficacy is most needed, including interrogating the role of entrepreneurship and access. Such organizations are Kapor Center, StreetCode Academy, and Code2040 among others.”
10. Vikas Gupta, co-founder and CEO of Wonder Workshop
“I believe that access to Computer Science learning with hands learning in elementary schools will have the largest impact not just on the education industry, but on society at large.
We live in a world being transformed by technology in every aspect of our lives. Children must grow up with agency on this world — to be creators in this world, and not mere consumers. It starts at a young age — at an age when children start to build confidence in themselves. We’ve seen the impact first hand with Wonder League Robotics Competition, that brought together 35,500 children from 69 countries this year — an equal number of girls and boys.
The result of bringing this to elementary schools is that an increasing number of students go into middle school confident and capable of doing more with Science, Computers, Robotics, Math — all fundamental tools of innovation in the 21st century.”
11. Sarah Boisvert, Founder of Fab Hub Lab
“Micro-credentials that are developed in collaboration with industry to meet employer need is a scary proposition to traditional institutions but must be embraced to meet consumer demand. Those that don’t offer new models that break the mold will be left behind and soon become obsolete.”
12. Jim Czulewicz, CEO of JumpStart Academy
“Right now, the biggest challenge facing U.S. schools is the ongoing inconsistency in budgets, quality of curriculum implementation and lack of resources for all learners. This challenge has existed for decades and leads to huge gaps in education and shuts out a big part of the American population for higher-level learning. Fragmented, outdated approaches to education breed unengaged students and fail to inspire young minds. There is a lack of access to educational opportunity in this country and it needs to be addressed.”
13. Vicki A. Davis, Teacher and founder of Cool Cat Teacher
“The biggest impact on education will likely be artificial intelligence (AI), however, it will take time to see if that is for good or bad. Artificial intelligence will adopt the values of those it studies and emulates which is not always a good thing. While AI tools will be fantastic coaches for the use of language and grammar, will it encourage creativity?
While AI tools can personalize a student's learning track, will it ever tell the student about their strengths and help them determine what they should be learning? While AI tools can help open a world of learning to a child, can it help the child understand how to bring goodness and light into the world of which they are learning? AI might be good at teaching content but not so good at teaching human decency, self-love, and respect for fellow humans. We will be challenged to blend learning in new powerful ways that use the best of each type of tool — our partnership with AI tools to educate students will be one of the biggest challenges of the next decade.”
14. George Koulouris, co-founder of bitlearn
“Behavioural analytics has great potential. Gathering user data and using them to drive outcomes have been around for 2 decades and the techniques been perfected in e-commerce, gaming, social media. We can now use them to create better learning experiences. Education products which track learners' behaviour can now use data to optimise for learner engagement, knowledge comprehension & retention. We've seen this happening in the language learning space (Duolingo) and we expect to see it in more verticals.”
15. Tom Vander Ark, CEO of Getting Smart
“We’ve identified at least 20 ways in which blockchain will improve education. Most disruptive is likely to be academic credentials that are universally recognized, verifiable, portable, and secure. Distributed ledger technology will allow lifelong learners to assemble evidence from many different providers and experiences. Expanded access to rapid and affordable upskilling pathways will eat the middle of higher education (i.e., expensive third tier colleges).”
16. Amir Nathoo, CEO and founder of Outschool
“We see video chat, with technology provided by Zoom and other vendors, as a
disruptive format for learning. Research has shown human interactions—both learner to learner and teacher to learner around a common interest—are key to improved learning. Video chat enables learners and teachers to interact without needing to be local to each other. It enables greater access with more diverse teachers and subjects, and at a lower price point. The power of human interactions is enduring and can’t be replaced by self-study content, games, or AI.”
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