Within the dimension of education technology, 2015 has brought with it an array of new-but-not-particularly-tickling technologies and pedagogical practices, while also celebrating a continued questioning of technology’s value in classrooms across the globe. From where I sit as an Ed Tech Director in a public school district with more than 34,000 students, these are the top five trends that stick out in my mind – from good, to bad, to a little bit crazy:
- Nudging iPads, netbooks, and even traditional laptops aside, inexpensive Chromebooks clearly became the student device of choice – as school budgets stretched, web interfaces improved, and GAFE-powered management and convenience continued to impress.
- The LMS continued to shape the landscape of instruction, pigeon-holing technology-proficient teachers into the constraints of the system, while also pushing reluctant teachers to collaborate more widely with desperate parents, ever anxious to help.
- Online standardized testing drove the increased purchase of classroom technology, finally/gratefully/sadly providing the “compelling why” for polarized legislatures to prioritize public ed-tech spending.
- While increased device access facilitated fertile opportunities to stretch Nearpod’s pedagogical power, teachers overwhelmingly preferred Kahoot! for regular, informal, and formative assessment of student dexterity.
- To the chagrin of IT directors everywhere, Apple’s middle finger emoticon and upside-down-smiley contributed heavily to 2015’s dubbing as The Year of the Emoji.