The following articles came from www.educationworld.com, an awesome website for educators. As the article states, EducationWorld, when wanting to provide technology predictions for teachers for 2012, went “straight to an industry insider”, namely Jody Forehand, Vice President of Product Planning for Luidia. It’s exciting to see how technology is evolving in the classroom, but I’m also excited to see that Jody Forehand is the expert that’s sharing her knowledge.
The actual links for the articles are: http://www.educationworld.com/a_tech/tech-trends-for-2012-part-1.shtml and http://www.educationworld.com/a_tech/tech-trends-for-2012-part-2.shtml
Ed Tech Trends for 2012: Part 1
Tech firms keep their secrets better than most governments, so predicting tech innovations for the coming year can be tricky. EducationWorld went straight to an industry insider to see exactly what educators should expect from the world of technology in 2012.
Jody Forehand currently serves as the Vice President of Product Planning for education tech firm Luidia. Luidia is known for developing the eBeam technology featured in many interactive whiteboard products. In addition to working with partners such as Sony and HP, Luidia also produces its own educational whiteboard product, dubbed the Engage. Forehand has spent years in the educational tech sector, and she has put that experience to use for EdWorld readers as she predicts what schools will look like, technologically speaking, in the coming year.
Tablet Use Will Grow
Tablets and mobile devices started getting a foothold in classrooms in 2011, and this trend is expected to continue, according to Forehand.
“Tablets, especially iPads, will be a major factor in 2012,” she said. “When we talk to our dealers, they see it not only continuing, but accelerating as well.”
Forehand believes that last year’s influx of tablets was based on a number of grant-related pilot programs and that 2012’s expected expansion will fall under more traditional programs.
“What was interesting to me is that it sounds like schools are mostly getting them for the teachers to use,” Forehand said. “I’m going to be curious to see if that shifts in the coming year to where more and more students will have them. As prices come down and more students bring in their own iPads to use, we expect to see more and more classroom embracing this technology.”
While some have argued that the Kindle Fire’s $199 price tag would make it enticing to the education market, Forehand said she isn’t seeing Amazon’s tablet gaining any ground.
“In terms of being in the classroom, we’re just not seeing much evidence that the Kindle Fire is gaining a lot of traction,” Forehand said. “That is based on our dealers, and I was careful to ask about that specifically because we need to know for planning eBeam features for the coming year. They said that by far, the iPad outpaces anything out there.”
Open Source Will Bring Costs Down
Forehand said the move to open source software is predominantly found abroad, but she said she expects this trend to appear stateside in the near future.
“It’s an extremely strong trend in Latin America and Europe,” Forehand said. “The U.S. market for tech tends to be handled on a school-to-school or district-to-district basis, where in other countries the purchasing decisions are made on the state or federal level. In many cases, these large bids for these countries require Linux, and only Linux. I think that it is interesting that these countries are using this type of technology as a cost-containment measure.”
While there is often pushback with regard to change in schools, the cost savings may be too great for U.S. schools to pass up in 2012, she explained.
“This is why I’m thinking there could be a window this year,” Forehand said. “I’m going to be curious to see if it does make some traction. I think the primary hurdle may be the IT folks here may not have a very high comfort level with Linux. It may be that teachers may not be comfortable with it, but in these other countries they have a top-down approach. Whether teachers are comfortable with Linux or not, they’re going to do whatever makes the most sense dollar-wise for them.”
Existing infrastructure could also be a stumbling block for a move to Linux.
“I think that is part of it,” Forehand said. “You’ve got legacy systems, and I’m sure you have teachers concerned about using documents they’ve spent years creating in Word or Excel. But frankly, we’ve got a Linux box at my home, and I routinely open Word docs in a Linux reader or Excel spreadsheets, and it works fine.”
Even if Linux doesn’t make huge gains in the U.S. this year, Forehand expects open source programs such as Google Docs to gain traction.
“Anecdotally, I am hearing about some districts experimenting with that,” Forehand said. “If they can’t get another Microsoft license, they’re going in and using Google Docs. Taking that one step further, we’re seeing teachers who have access to Word, but are using Google Docs instead because of the collaboration features. It is very easy to use in classrooms and allows students to share their work.”
Ed Tech Trends for 2012: Part 2
Schools Will Still Not Know What To Do With Social Media
“This is going to be something that schools continue to wrestle with in the coming year,” Forehand said. “It reminds me of the issue schools have with Internet access and how they managed that even 10 years ago. The filters were often clumsy, leading to the famous story of students not being able to do research on breast cancer.”
Forehand did say that schools can eventually get to a place where social media has a role in the curriculum; however, that is still a few years away.
“It’s going to take some time,” Forehand said. “They’re going to have to give up some control and find where their comfort level is and then come to a happy medium.”
One area where schools can address social media directly is teaching students to be responsible users.
“It’s messy,” Forehand said. “There is a real concern there about bullying or just kids not using good judgment in terms of the kind of content they share. This is the type of thing that can be woven into social studies lessons or English lessons, so schools can address it without having to create an entirely new class.”
Interactive Whiteboards Will Evolve
“It’s going to come down to being able to integrate with other resources in the classroom,” Forehand said. “It will no longer be the case that you have an interactive whiteboard and a projector in the classroom. Teachers want to be able to connect whatever document camera they have, or maybe take a picture with their iPhone and make it easily accessible. So it’s become more important than ever for interactive whiteboards to accommodate this.”
Forehand predicts that the future of these whiteboards will come down to compatibility with other devices.
“We’re seeing a lot of companies that have built themselves around what I call ‘closed systems,’” Forehand said. “They try to give you the complete solution and encourage you to use all of their hardware and software. They have very nice solutions and their products are quite good, but we at Luidia have taken the approach of allowing teachers to work with the hardware and software that they’re comfortable with, and we’re going to try and make it easier for them to integrate those to our boards. We don’t want to force a particular workflow on educators.”
Forehand reports that a growing number of teachers in the field are saying they want to use more and more types of tools, whether hardware or software, in the classroom.
“So interactive whiteboard companies are going to have to look at how they work with those other tools effectively and easily for teachers,” Forehand said.
HD Will Explode in Classrooms
Plummeting prices are going to allow schools to invest in more HD displays and projectors, Forehand predicts.
“Projector prices are going down; flat-panel prices are going down,” Forehand said. “In years past, the model was, you had one huge display in the front of the classroom, and that is what everyone was focused on. Now pico projectors are becoming more popular and less expensive—I mean, for a few hundred dollars you can get a 32” HD display. I think this is going to lead to schools having more displays in the classroom.”
While classroom applications are logical, Forehand said the displays, when purchased en masse, can be used for a myriad of practical purposes.
“Again, they are just so cheap now,” Forehand said. “You can use them for announcements. This is more common in higher ed, but I can see K through 12 schools using them for security purposes such as alerting the classrooms and the community outside.”