In 2016, a number of technology trends took off and made a big impact in K-12 and higher education classrooms. Competency-based education and other types of blended learning created a fundamental shift in the learning model, data analytics helped educators learn how to better serve their students, and BYOD technology policies have grown to accommodate the every-growing ecosystem of tablets and other individual devices in schools. As the year is coming to end, we’ve put together a watch list of 2017 technology trends and predictions for education.
Mobile devices will continue to impact teachers and students in the next year. For colleges, smartphones have an increasing adoption rate of 86 percent, leading college leaders and CIOs to transition to a mobile-first strategy. Educators will be doing more to make student services more mobile friendly. Especially for higher ed, more faculty will be adopting mobile devices in their classroom as a way to provide compelling content and tools.
The continued success of big data will depend on adapting to the new realities of the cloud. According to Ashish Thusoo, CEO of Qubole, big data is moving from an experiment to an organization- or institution-wide strategy. Within the education community, there will be an increasing dependence on moving to the cloud in order to save more money for their school, district, or college.
In 2017, collaboration is another big theme that will be carried forward through emerging technologies. This area of innovative technology is designed to bring people and ideas together, enabling a team to communicate and collaborate on a larger scale. Collaboration tools like Citrix Podio, ResearchGate, and JoinMe are becoming valuable for research and peer learning, allowing an open learning and sharing environment for students to virtually work in groups. Collaborative technology is also a way to establish an online learning ecosystem where members are scattered across the globe.
Educators are making scrutiny and transparency a priority strategy, finding new tools to collect and make sense of data that will help them make informed decisions and changes. In K-12 and higher education, more education leaders are increasing their investments in new assessment technologies, which are key to achieving personalization at scale in education. Assessment tools can capture data in real time – as they complete a lesson, take a test, and several other milestones during a student’s learning journey – and help teachers accurately determine a student’s ability better than traditional testing.
Virtual Reality Technology
With tools like Virtuali-Tee, Google Explorations, and Lecture VR, the applications for VR and AR technologies in education have grown. However, a recent survey found that while an astounding 85 percent of teachers think VR is beneficial to their classroom, only 2 percent are currently using it. In the next few years, experts anticipate the possibilities in virtual reality technology to be on the rise.
 Pearson Education. 2015 Pearson Student Mobile Device Survey for Colleges. Conducted by Harris Poll, June 2015. Link
 Conlan, Meg. “Teachers Want to See More Virtual Reality in Their Classrooms,” Ed Tech Magazine, 12 July 2016. Link