I’ve come across a couple of articles recently prognosticating on upcoming tech trends in education, so I thought I’d pick out a few and share.
The first one I’ll mention is the flipped classroom, since my last blog post was on that. I think this trend started a couple of years ago with Khan Academy. It was founded in 2006, but I think the 60 Minutes television article really brought mainstream education to the table. I had one teacher who loved using Khan Academy, but she retired about two years ago, and sadly I don’t see too many of my current teachers using it anymore. That’s a shame because I think it’s a great springboard to a fully flipped classroom. I know of one of our teacher who has fully embraced flipped learning, due mostly because his wife just had a baby, and since he was out a lot, it was more out of necessity. But it seems like he’s sticking with it and as far as I know it’s working great. If you’re looking to get started, see my last blog post for some helpful tools to wade into the flipped pool.
Social media is another area that’s still growing in the education field. I’ve seen some school libraries that have Twitter and Facebook pages, but our district blocks those websites, so that takes those out of the equation for me. But I’ve found success with my school blog, Edmodo, Remind 101, and even Pinterest amongst the staff (well, like two teachers follow my school Pinterest page, but it’s a start). Specifically for libraries, there are sites like Shelfari and GoodReads that allow users to keep track of books they’ve read and want to read and share those lists with others. I ADORE GoodReads and think it’s brilliant, and I wish more of my students would use it. Just remember to be careful with social media and crossing any professional boundaries with students. I’m sure your students are the same as mine and love to share every little detail of their lives on social media, and they drool over the chance to befriend you online, too. But keep your social sites strictly professional, and don’t ever give a student your personal cell phone number.
I want to mention MOOCs next mainly because this is one area that I’m woefully undereducated in. I know what a MOOC is (a Massive Open Online Course), but I haven’t had a chance to actually take one or even really look into any, but I want to. I think many of us librarians are familiar with the idea of a MOOC since many of our Masters programs are online. Some people have complained that although MOOCs are wonderful because they allow everyone access to Ivy League level classes, they take out the face-to-face element of learning. But we’re no strangers to that, and I don’t think I suffered one bit getting my Master’s degree online. I don’t know how much MOOCs will affect us in K-12, I think we should promote them to our brightest students who are always wanting to learn more, as well as to our colleagues.
The last trend is BYOD and one-to-one devices in schools. Right now we do allow students to bring their own devices to school if they and their parents sign the appropriate paperwork, but we also have very rigid rules forbidding use of cell phones. It’s a little complicated. Next year a handful of our schools will be pilot programs for one-to-one devices, with K-2 getting iPads and 3-12 getting laptops. As exciting and innovating as this all sounds, the daily work involved is scaring some of my co-workers. The students do not get to take these devices home, so that means the school librarian will have to check them in and out and store them each day and night. And I’m sure I’m not alone when it comes to tech help with teachers and students. When our IT person is busy or not around, guess who everyone comes to? And when EVERY STUDENT has his or her own device, well, imagine that. I know that this is the way it’s all going, but it is a little daunting to think about how this will change our jobs.
So, strap in, the future is here today. It’s not all neither good nor bad, but it for sure will be interesting.