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Ed Tech Trends Coming to Classrooms in 2019

January 4, 2019

There is no doubt that technology is changing the way students learn. From smartboards, to virtual reality, the tools available to librarians and teachers are expanding rapidly. We've taken a look at some of the top ed tech trends that could be coming to your school library or classroom in 2019.

Smart, Student-Centered Learning Spaces

Today's classrooms are becoming technology-based learning environments. Smartboards have replaced chalkboards. Innovations in classroom design are changing the way classrooms look and feel. 

Anticipate better data-collection and interpretation software, allowing for more personalized learning programs. Flexibility in classroom design will allow for more student-centered learning. Physical and virtual makerspaces will help students develop new skills like 3-D printing and coding. 

These changes in the physical space of a classroom can be new for many librarians and teachers.  Take the time to become an expert on the technology in your classroom.  Doing so can open a whole new world of creative lessons and projects that you can do with students.  

Virtual and Augmented Reality

The improvement of virtual and augmented reality systems will begin to influence learning.  3-D visualization and immersive learning programs change the way students learn topics like geometry.  These technologies allow students to apply newly learned skills to realistic situations.   

One predicted educational trend is that more schools will start to offer vocational programs due to the high costs of student loans. AR and VR can be particularly helpful with students who want to pursue these programs, as it allows realistic practice in a safe environment. If your school is investing in these types of programs, the library can be a great place to integrate AR/VR spaces, makerspaces, and traditional media literacy.  

1:1 Student Devices

As technology becomes more affordable, many schools will begin providing all students with a laptop or similar device. This opens up a world of tools to librarians and teachers. Take some time to explore apps and other programs that students can use both at school and at home.  

With each student having a device at home, students and teachers can streamline homework.  Do some research on what will work best for you. Collaboration with students every day will be key for librarians, so be sure to explore apps with those features. 

Creation Rather than Consumption

Many students are avid consumers of social media and other internet content.  However, as educators, we want our students to create content. Getting students to positively contribute to online dialogue and move to content creation can be challenging at first, but new technologies and apps can help.    

Better device access will change the way students prepare projects and homework assignments.  Creating movies, music videos, and slideshows are just a few options available on apps easily available to students. Using these programs allows students to tap into a way of responding and learning that best fits their needs.  

Consider creating a menu of options for students for assignments.  Perhaps the student who is reluctant to write a traditional book report may be excited to create a cinematic book trailer using a movie app. It's important to develop traditional skills as well, but allowing a little creativity can help engage reluctant readers and learners.  

Media Literacy and Digital Citizenship

Rapidly evolving technology makes media literacy and digital citizenship more important than ever. Students are using social media and other online resources at earlier ages. Developing students' media literacy and digital citizenship skills are essential. 

Librarians have the opportunity to provide a strong foundation in media literacy skills. Teaching students to detect bias, and evaluate the credibility of sources will help them across all parts of a curriculum. These are foundation skills which will serve students well into adulthood. 

Digital citizenship skills help a student engage in safe online practices.  Learning these skills promotes safe and appropriate ways to interact with others online.  As online bullying becomes more prevalent, these lessons are critical for all students.  

One great way to integrate media literacy and digital citizenship is through research projects. Research projects can help librarians develop co-teaching relationships with classroom teachers. Research projects mix well with almost all classroom curriculum and provide many teachable moments for media literacy and digital citizenship skills. 

Be mindful in your efforts to add media literacy and digital citizenship skills to lesson plans. This Capstone guide offers great ideas and resources for research projects integrating media literacy and digital citizenship. Also, be sure to check out PebbleGo, a research database for elementary students, to help you and your students stay on the front edge of exciting educational trends!