I predict (or at least hope) that these trends will reach more K-12 schools in 2016. I want students around the world to interact with the newest technologies and think of innovative ways to use them.
Trend 1: Virtual Reality
Simulations have long been used in the corporate world. In fact, we hope that our pilot has had even more flying hours than she has logged because of the time she has spent in a flight simulator. Virtual Reality is an easy way to simulate a multitude of experiences for our students. I will be following Google Expeditions closely this year to see what the outcome of larger scale projects such as this one will have, but I also know that there are countless teachers already using virtual reality in their teaching. I can´t wait to see how 2016´s technological advancements in VR will provide more opportunities for its use in K-12 education. I would love to be able to take my students for a walk through a historical location. Google Earth is an okay alternative for now, but I expect something more immersive soon!
Trend 2: Augmented Reality
Trend 3: The Internet of Things
With makerspaces becoming the expectation in any tech-savvy school these days, it seems logical that the next progression will be building on the concept of The Internet of Things with the introduction of student-created smart objects and wearables. Students will be creating their own smart objects and wearables in school makerspaces and then using these objects to examine the world around them and change it for the better. I believe that the use of student-created smart objects to collect data or change the environment (lighting, temperature, sound, etc) will feed back into their education and allow students greater understanding of the findings they make through inquiry. Students could even create wearables that cater to their specific educational needs. Something as simple as a bracelet that vibrates every ten minutes to remind that student to focus on the task at hand could have a large impact on student success.
Trend 4: Drones
As consumer drones become more commonplace, I think schools will step up and start to use them as an educational tool. Of course, the uses will be limited to start because even a top-end consumer drone such as the Phantom 3 Standard only has 25 minutes of flying time and takes a long time to charge, but as the technology improves we may see more drones. I also would like to see them in schools because students will be the first to think about the challenges of drones (especially looking at the new laws that are being created around them) and how we can ensure we get to have interesting technology around us, but use it in a responsible way.
Trend 5: Creative Commons
I believe that 2016 will be the year that the internet becomes more about sharing and learning from each other. Many of us edtechies are already familiar with the concepts of Creative Commons and open source materials, but I think that this year more and more schools will encourage their teachers and students to contribute to the commons. That´s what school is all about: creating a learning commons. Let´s make it happen in 2016.