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Spotlight on Walden // Jan 14, 2013

Technology: Transforming Education

As the use of smartphones, tablets, laptops, social networking, and other technologies continue to increase, we can expect to see changes in the way we approach education in 2013. Predicting the future of technology is always difficult but Dr. Steve Canipe, program director in The Richard W. Riley College of Education and Human Sciences, shares what he sees as the upcoming education and technology trends in 2013. Dr. Canipe specializes in educational technology and its integration into the classroom, the importance of teaching 21st-century skills to students, and STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics).

  1. A change in how education is provided. With massive open online courses (MOOCs)—some free and others for a fee—at the university level, and an increasing number of states requiring an online experience before high school graduation, there will be changes in how educational content is provided. Currently, almost all states allow online courses to be used for high school graduation requirements, and a growing number are requiring them. Because of cost savings at all educational levels, the number of online courses will continue to increase in 2013.

  2. Moving information into the cloud will grow faster than in 2012. With the movement to more dispersed teaching and learning, it is important to be able to access your course content, notes, and assignments wherever you happen to be—home, library, coffee shop, etc. In addition to having access to your data wherever you are, having backups of your important papers and documents is also extremely valuable. Smartphones (and other smart devices) now automatically back up to the cloud, protecting data from loss. Programs like Evernote®, a suite of software and services designed for note taking and archiving, will gain more traction with students and educators as working mobility becomes more important to users. This will also enable more telecommuting to occur.

  3. Mobile learning options and usage will increase. The advent of the tablet computer as well as smarter smartphones will enable more applications to become mainstream. There will be an increased push by providers to stream both educational and entertainment videos. In 2013, there will also be a decrease in use of traditional keypads for entering data and an increase of voice input for data. The ability to deliver all sorts of media to users will make course delivery through MOOCs and learning management systems (LMS) easier, and the use of these methods will most likely increase.

  4. The impact of mobile devices will increase. The widespread penetration of tablets and smarter mobile devices will put increased pressure on providers to ramp up access. This means faster Wi-Fi and the need for networks to grow and expand delivery of entertainment, communication, education, and other yet-to-be-named applications. The number of applications will grow even more and probably be heavily weighted to entertainment-like games. However, some other productivity and educational apps, in particular virtual reality simulations, will continue to make breakthroughs. In 2013, one could expect virtual laboratory experiences to become more integrated into learning, particularly at the PreK–12 grade levels. Projects like PhET (from the University of Colorado), which currently has nearly 200 simulations, will become the norm for helping PreK–12 students experience experiments that are either too costly or too dangerous to do in classrooms.

“Regardless of which technologies will have the biggest impact in 2013, it is safe to say that technology is transforming education,” says Dr. Canipe.

Check out Educators, Technology and 21st Century Skills: Dispelling Five Myths, a study that sheds light on the debates and the intersections of technology and 21st-century skills from the under explored vantage point of school-based educators. Commissioned by the Riley College of Education and Human Sciences, the 2010 study addresses five myths about technology use in education—particularly by teachers—and educators’ perceptions about the effects of technology use on student learning, behaviors, and skills.