As the world affect how and what teachers teach. Trends also impact how teachers assess students, how they collect and manage student data, and how they plan for instruction.
The State Educational Technology Directors Association, or SETDA, is a nonprofit association of educational technology leaders in the United States. According to their report titled, Navigating the Digital Shift 2019: Equitable Opportunities for All Learners: “The number of states with definitions, guidance and policies supporting digital instructional materials and resources continues to increase annually, including the number of states with dedicated funding for digital instructional materials and devices.” The report notes that “38 states have a definition for instructional materials” and “21 states have a process for the review of instructional materials.”
The increased use of data analytics tools provides teachers the feedback they need to see how students are progressing in real time. Instructors are learning that “technology and the power of digital devices, apps and tools can increase engagement, encourage collaboration, spark innovation and enhance student learning.” With the increase in remote learning and the prominence of educational technology, it’s no surprise that the e-learning industry is expected to exceed $1 trillion by 2027.
Teachers are also taking advantage of advances in technology to share experiences, data and information with other teachers worldwide. The International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) started a program to “give educators access to a platform where they will share with one another how they use ed-tech products, in what context and provide data about their experiences with the apps.”
Technology for Students
EdSurge makes a case for technology equity in schools. It points to research showing that “students who lack access to devices and broadband services have, on average, GPAs that are 0.4 points lower than their peers with reliable access. That seemingly small gap can grow into thousands of dollars of lost annual income over the course of a person’s lifetime.” Pandemic-era closures prompted some states and school districts to use “federal CARES Act funding, broadband discounts and partnerships with private companies to connect their students and enable online learning.”
The consistent and widespread use of technology by students is here to stay and the potential of digital devices to support education multiplies each year.
Video communication and virtual experience is changing the way content consumption and communication are shifting. Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) experiences will give individual students and groups the ability to “travel” to and explore together the places they are studying, in situations not available to them locally. AR and VR are also becoming more available and affordable for classroom use.
Students already know how to communicate with technology; they use it daily in their social lives. Similar technologies are showing up in classrooms, enabling students to communicate and collaborate with their classmates and peers around the world.
These educational tools can help teachers and students give instant feedback on performance and learning, which puts them in an activator role. The Northwest Evaluation Association notes “no shortage of formative assessment strategies, techniques, and tools available to teachers who use formative instructional practice in their classrooms.”
As the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Educational Technology crafts an update to its 2017 publication, Reimagining the Role of Technology in Education, it remains committed to the continued increase in the use of technology to support learning. The report sets forth expectations for educational leaders:
- Develop a shared vision for learning with technology and securing the appropriate resources
- Create a diverse team of stakeholders to develop and communicate a clear set of goals
- Model a tolerance for risk, and encourage innovation
- Use technology as a learning tool for both students and teachers
- Use and understand viable research for the implementation and use of technology
These expectations are intended to be acknowledged and followed by all leaders at both the district and school levels. It is especially critical that educational technology leaders understand their roles as districts and schools expand to include the use of technology in all aspects of both teaching and learning.
Digital and Global Citizenship
In the past, digital citizenship was at the forefront, as schools focused on making students aware of inaccurate reporting and phishing attempts online.
Although safety will always be important to educators in general, in a statement to ISTE, Richard Culatta reports, “This year we think we’ll see a shift in the conversation around digital citizenship to focus on encouraging students to harness tech tools to do good in the world and incite change.”
What Does This Mean for Educational Technology Leaders?
As the use of technology increases in schools, educational technology leaders will face more than troubleshooting in the computer lab, monitoring firewalls and safeguarding the integrity of districtwide computer hardware. Students and teachers alike are becoming more astute about technology, in general, often able to solve fundamental computing issues in the classroom.
Technology leaders in education, however, will find that they need to be fully involved in how classrooms and home settings use devices and programs, staying current in the fast-paced growth of technology.
The U.S. Department of Education recognizes the importance of strong leaders in the field of educational technology. “Taking full advantage of technology to transform learning requires strong leadership capable of creating a shared vision of which all members of the community feel a part.” A Master of Education in Educational Technology Leadership degree from a prestigious institution like the University of Louisiana Monroe will give you an edge as a leader in technology in every educational setting.
Learn more about the ULM online M.Ed. in Educational Technology Leadership program.