Time capsule 2013: educational trends of the yearAccording to Education Trends: What to Expect in 2013 and Five Trends in Education for 2013, E-Moderation Station, this past year was expected to be the year of:

  1. The rise of social networks for learning
  2. Mobile learning apps
  3. Flipped classrooms
  4. The growth of MOOCs (massive, open online courses)
  5. Bring Your Own Device
  6. App-based solutions
  7. Common Core
  8. Gaming
  9. Augmented reality
  10. 10. Digital literacies.

Current trends

But, what really happened in 2013?

Top Ed-Tech Trends of 2013: "Zombie Ideas" (Ed-Tech Ideas That Refuse to Die Even Though We Know They're Monstrous) by Audrey Waters highlights some of the education initiatives of 2013:

  1. You’ve heard about education portals before: sites that aggregated other sites or apps and allowed you to “join” for a fee. The new education portals are free and much more fluid. Graphite is a learning portal that connects you to reviewed sites such as Read, Write, Think, Edublog, and Zeega (a multimedia tool).

  2. Learning Management Systems– programs or online-based programs that were supposed to customize the education curriculum while creating a safe space and closed system for learning by providing software for administration, documentation, tracking, reporting and delivery of e-learning education courses or training programs came with very high price tags. So now we have MOOCs.

  3. MOOC, or massive open online course, is a model for delivering learning content online with unlimited attendance in an open, online forum, to any person who wants to take a course. Content consists of traditional learning tools (course materials, videos, readings) as well as interactive learning forums. Educause provides an exhaustive list of resources describing the benefits and challenges of using MOOCs.

  4. Teachers are being held even more accountable for what happens in the classroom. The recent spate of viral videos and classroom rants highlight the importance of the public face of education.

  5. The Common Core mission statement on the Iinitiative website states that the “standards are designed to be robust and relevant to the real world, reflecting the knowledge and skills that our young people need for success in college and careers.”

How early predictions fared

Addressing the list of “predicted” trends, social networks are ubiquitous. The good news is that educators have discovered ways to use social media for good – for communication, collaborative learning, networking, and engaging your community.

Mobile apps are settling in as useful educational tools. Poll Everywhere and i-Clicker are great tools for conducting classroom surveys. Whether you use MAC or Android operating systems, “there’s an app for that,” and Not Another History Teacher lists their top 10 picks for 2013.

Flipped Classrooms got a lot of play in educational literature. While there have been a lot of myths about how the practice actually works, the "Flipped Classroom" Approach in NJ School Sees Success by news Channel 4 reported that in New Milford High School, using the flipped classroom approach has contributed to increased test scores. A multi-year study provided to The Atlantic also credits the use of flipped classroom with a 5 percent increase in scores.

BYOD – We reported on Bring Your Own Device gained popularity in 2013 in the December Toolbox and we see the trend growing even stronger in the 2013-14 school year.

While gaming has been on many of the top 10 lists for education trends over the past few years, there is little evidence that it has broad classroom application. The prediction is that game-based learning, or Serious Games as they are known in the market, will continue to grow. Simulation games continue to grow in popularity. Keep your eye on the trend toward Gamification, defined as the use of game design elements in non-game contexts.” A Gamification infographic shows you the potential of gaming in the classroom.

Second Life. Google Glass. The technology of augmented reality (AR) is very exciting. The reality is that AR isn’t quite ready for prime time in most classrooms just yet. We’ll be exploring the potential educational uses of AR in a future Toolbox column.

Student literacy will always be in fashion. The PEW Internet and American Life Project has been steadfast in reporting statistics highlighting student learning. In its study, The Impact of Digital Tools on Student Writing and How Writing is Taught in Schools, teachers reported digital tools such as the Internet, social media, and cell phones “encourage student creativity and personal expression” and:

  • 96 percent agree digital technologies “allow students to share their work with a wider and more varied audience.”
  • 79 percent agree that these tools “encourage greater collaboration among students.”

Future trends

So…what are the predictions for the 2013-14 school year?

Nowhere did anyone predict a move toward 3D printing and makerspaces. Already, New Jersey libraries have leaped ahead and are integrating or planning for ways to use this printing of the future. 3D printing allows users to create a solid object from a model. Makerspaces are defined as places where people gather together to create using available tools, projects, mentors and expertise.

Educational Technology and Mobile Learning describes the Importance of 3D Printing in Education:

  • It provides teachers with three-dimensional visual aids that they can use in their classroom.
  • 3D printers make it easy for teachers to seize the interest of their students compared to just showing the pictorial representations of objects.
  • It enhances hands-on learning and learning by doing.
  • It provides more room for interactive class activities. In biology, for instance, teachers can create a 3D model of the human heart, head, skeleton, etc. to teach students about the human body.

Cloud-based applications are increasing in popularity. Virtually every new computer or laptop comes with an app to store documents in the cloud. The benefits of cloud-based learning are cost savings, convenience, accessibility, ease of use, and, especially for project based learning – collaboration. You can find cloud-based applications everywhere – from Google Doc and other products to cloud-based services on your smart phone and read more about their educational uses in the December 2012 Toolbox.

Look for other Trends in Education for the 2013-14 School Year, including:

  1. More on augmented reality
  2. Genius hour (students pursue topics that interest them)
  3. Coding (programming)
  4. Online learning (MOOCs).
  5. Gaming
  6. Online Portfolios

Have you spotted an educational trend or innovative educational practice? Let us know at linchpinsolutions@gmail.com.

Patricia Bruder, president of Linchpin Solutions LLC, consults for the Educational Information and Resource Center (EIRC) located at the South Jersey Tech Park at Rowan University, Mullica Hill. EIRC is a public agency specializing in education-related programs and services for teachers, parents, schools, communities, and non-profit organizations throughout New Jersey. Learn more about EIRC at www.eirc.org or call 856-582-7000. Contact Patricia Bruder at linchpinsolutions@gmail.com.