Monday, February 19, 2007

Just Around the Corner --Educational Technologies to Watch

Over the past year I've had the opportunity to explore emerging technologies from an outside-the-classroom perspective. I feel that my mindset is still close enough to that of a classroom teacher that I evaluate each new technology in the same eyes of one on the front lines (wondering where I'll find time to implement it, how it fits with the standards and state assessments, devising a plan to conquer the computer lab far enough in advance to be guaranteed enough time to complete the activity, etc...). As I've watched blogs, wikis, and podcasts jump into the scene, I've waited to see how far schools and teachers will take these technologies, while wondering what 'new' technologies are just around the corner for students.

Today while scanning the eSchool Newsletter for this week, I saw a headline that caught my eye: Report identifies ed-tech trends to watch. To summarize, these are the 6 identified trends are:

•User-created content;

•Social networking;

•Mobile phones;

•Virtual worlds;

•New scholarship and emerging forms of publication; and

•Massively multiplayer educational gaming.

With these technologies just around the corner, the potential for changing what happens in the classroom is exciting! I am curious to know how long we will have to wait to see these fully implemented into instruction. Personally, I think we have a long way to go before these trends become a reality.

The questions still looming for me:
~ What are the technological needs necessary to implement these emerging technologies into instruction? Will we need to move to a 1:1 computer to student ratio? Are hand-helds a possibility? Will computer labs disappear?
~ How long will it take to get clear, universal guidelines in place that will allow such technologies in schools? As it stands, many districts have blocked all social networking sites, etc...
~ What about staff development?! While many of these technologies are nothing new for students, many teachers will struggle to learn and implement these without strong, effective staff development.

These issues aside ...... the possibilities are exciting!!

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