EdTech Buy-in: 4 out of 5 Teachers Use Technology in Their Classrooms

Today’s classroom can be described as laboratories, where educators are constantly testing new innovative technologies to engage and teach their students.

In 2015-2016, four out of five teachers are using technology frequently in the classroom. The largest driver seems obvious. 77% of teachers say they have either “good” to “great” access to technological devices and resources, according to results from a recent Front Row Education survey.

Technology is having a huge impact not only on the way we teach, but on the way students learn, resulting in incredibly positive advances in educationThird-grade teacher Lindsay Helman in eSchool News

‘BYOD’ in the Classroom is Now Mainstream

Today’s average student is likely to haul their devices, like smartphones and tablets, practically everywhere they go. School district administrators around the country are beginning to realize that these devices are not a threat to the learning environment but rather an opportunity to better engage students. The acceptance of mobile device culture in the classroom, also known as “bring your own device” (BYOD), likely to enter mainstream in 2016, according to The New Media Consortium’s K-12 2015 Horizon Report, that projected 20% of classrooms will have related implementations by the end of the year.

Onvia’s comprehensive database confirms this growth in BYOD with a steady increase in BYOD related bids & RFPs since 2013.

Increase in education related BYOD solicitations - Onvia

North East Independent School District in San Antonio, Texas
The school district issued an E-Rate RFP in November 2015 to seek vendor help to build a stable network for classrooms to aid e-learning materials, cloud-based solutions, and the BYOD environment.


Teaching with 3D Printers Will be the Norm

In 2014, Onvia reported on the emergence of 3D printing in schools across the country. In 2016, the amount of 3D printing purchases continues to grow as these printers are accepted as an essential part of school makerspaces and as prices for the printers continue to fall.

3D printers use software and online platforms that can adjust to individual students’ needs as they learn. The printers can also foster a collaborative work atmosphere inside schools:

Many school leaders envision these adaptive platforms as new, patient tutors that can provide personalized instruction on a large scale.The K-12 2015 Horizon Report

Teaching for the Job Market: Coding Curriculum Grows

For decades school leaders have recognized the importance of offering “vocational” focused curriculum such as “auto shop.” In a response to the realities of today’s job market, “vocational” curriculum is focused on teaching science, technology and math disciplines (STEM) such as computer science and coding. Students need to develop the skills necessary to participate in a technology driven job market. These are real issues that affect every student, even if they don’t enter a computer- or technology-focused career field. More than two-thirds of computer science jobs are outside of the tech industry.

For many, computer science will be a part of their career no matter what field they go into.eSchool News

Manchester Essex Regional School District in Massachusetts
As identified in Onvia’s Spending Forecast Center the school district’s 2015-2018 District Technology Plan details efforts to put computer coding into the classroom curricula as early as first grade. The district is continuing to discover ways to use coding skillsets to students’ advantage.


Wearable Technology: The Next Big Trend in Education?

Some experts predict that in the next year, wearable technology, such as Google Glass, Samsung Galaxy Gear and smart watches, will become a popular tool, useful for school administrators, teachers and students.

EmergingEdTech suggests several ideas on how these devices can aid teachers and students. For example, smart watches or bracelets can track students’ fitness levels in physical education classes or recognize potentially harmful fumes released in chemistry experiments. During field trips to the zoo, elementary students can get supplemental facts and information the animals.

Wearable technology will help classrooms be more productive and efficient, accelerating the learning process.EmergingEdTech

The Cornwall Central School District in New York
The district wrote in its 2013-2016 Technology Vision Plan that it wants to prepare for the impact of technology such as wearables, and expanding the curriculum related to mobile applications, supports instruction for years to come.


Laying the Groundwork for the Classroom of the Future

As fast as technology continues to change, school districts will lay more groundwork inside their school facilities in 2016 to be ready to use technology at its full potential. One way to prepare is to build a foundation on which to integrate the latest in education technology.

Mokena School District 159 in suburban Chicago isn’t concerned about all the IT possibilities out there. “We haven’t future-proofed ourselves, but we’ve put in the base so that whatever that future technology is, we’re pretty certain we can support it,” Steve Hastings, the district’s Technology Director, told EdTech magazine.

IT vendors that sell (or are interested in selling) to schools should note that administrators are beginning to fully grasp the potential of technology in the classroom and will be investing to prepare for what’s ahead by spending to upgrade their basic IT infrastructures. In 2016, schools will further advance their use of the technology to the benefits of both the students and the technology vendor community.

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