International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) CEO Richard Culatta says we’re at a tipping point when it comes to using technology in the classroom.
“With improved connectivity and increasingly impactful educator professional learning around the use of technology, many students will have new experiences as the bell rings to start a new school year. Because it serves more than 100,000 education stakeholders throughout the world, ISTE has a unique perspective on how technology is transforming learning around the world,” Culatta says.
ISTE offers the following top five trends to watch this school year:
1. Coding for All Students
Coding is the international language of problem-solving. Young people need to learn the basics of computer science in order to be the effective problem-solvers of tomorrow. Teachers are helping students attain problem-solving skills by infusing coding and computational thinking into courses across the curriculum and encouraging students to become digital content creators. In fact, ISTE author and educator Heidi Williams and educator makes the case that the foundation for computer science should occur as early as kindergarten in “No-Fear Coding: Computational Thinking Across the K-5 Curriculum.”
2. Real-Time Learning Feedback
For too long, educators have had to rely on end-of-unit or end-of-year tests to know if their teaching had really reached students and increased their knowledge. If tests revealed that a student needed more help to master the concepts, it was often too late to intervene, and the student could fall further behind. In an era when we have electronic devices that can measure everything from heart rates to calories burned, education is catching up with real-time learning feedback.
“Tools that can visualize student progress in real time and recommend learning activities based on individual student progress are just becoming available. This will allow teachers to intervene and adjust more quickly when students are struggling to comprehend difficult subjects,” Culatta says.
3. VR is Coming to Town
This school year will likely be the year virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) make a real impact in the classroom. At ISTE 2017, teachers and education leaders experienced how these platforms can put students in places they would otherwise not be able to experience, such as the Roman Colosseum or inside a water molecule. The key will be ensuring teachers continue to first consider what their learning goals are for students, and then design a learning experience that uses the unique capabilities of these tools to serve that goal, as laid out in the ISTE Standards.
4. Media Literacy to Combat Fake News
This year more than ever, there’s a great need to build our muscle around deciphering between accurate and false information online. As more and more information is consumed online, we hope to see an increased focus on media literacy, particularly around recognizing credible sources and valid interpretations of data. The ISTE book “Media Literacy in the 21st Century” is one tool designed to help teachers provide students with the media literacy skills they need to be successful in school and life.
5. Redefining Digital Citizenship
Traditionally, digital citizenship has been about the don’ts of online activities, with a lot of hazard signs thrown up in front of students and a focus on online safety. While online safety is critical, it’s only a small subset of digital citizenship. This school year we think we’ll see a shift in the conversation around digital citizenship to focus on encouraging students to harness tech tools to do good in the world and incite change. When students take a positive view of using online tools, they become more active citizens and community members. The ISTE Standards define digital citizenship as recognizing both the responsibilities and opportunities of an interconnected digital world.