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Top 7 Ed Tech Trends to Watch in 2012

Posted on: January 6th, 2012 by Lauren Rothering No Comments

Compiled by CB&A staff

As a follow-up to our 2011 reflection post, the CB&A team once again collaborated to identify what we believe will be hot topics in education for 2012.

Do you agree with us? Let us know in the comments!

1. Mobile Learning

You’re not experiencing déjà vu. We did, indeed, identify mobile learning as a hot trend in our 2011 reflection last week. But since trends don’t adhere to calendars, we expect the gathering wave of mobile technology in education to spill over into 2012 and beyond. More than three-quarters of teens own a cell phone – 40 percent own a smartphone. These percentages will only grow in 2012, and you can expect to hear a lot more about using mobile devices as educational tools inside and outside of the classroom.

2. Common Core

As with mobile learning, Common Core was included in our 2011 reflection post, also gaining momentum moving into 2012, especially as more schools incorporate Common Core State Standards into their lessons and assessments. Check out what some educators are saying about Common Core, and what they believe the future might hold

3. Online Learning

With four states requiring at least one online course credit for graduation, and many more states considering changes to further embrace online learning, we predict an explosion of online course offerings in 2012. And e2020, an online provider that offers core, remedial and elective courses for grades 6-12, is well positioned to take advantage of the trend. According to iNACOL (International Association for K-12 Online Learning), 48 states have online learning options for students, with 38 offering state-led programs. Factor in a 46 percent growth in K-12 online learning enrollments each year, and it’s clear online learning has been embraced by educators, parents and students as an alternative to the traditional classroom experience.

4. Blended Learning

While online learning continues its upward climb across the K-12 and higher education landscape, blended learning (a combination of online and face-to-face instruction) is growing the most rapidly among the various types of e-learning models. According to the 2011 Keeping Pace with K-12 Online and Blended Learning report, single district programs are on the rise, and the majority use a blended learning model. In 2011, the Innosight Institute released a report that details the growth of blended learning, while Kaplan K12 Learning Services debuted a white paper that offers best practices for blending learning instruction and delivery.

5. Rise of PLNs

Personal learning networks (PLNs) allow educators to connect and share ideas by utilizing social media to network with professionals around the globe. Given the accessibility of social media, there are more ways than ever to meet people and easily share relevant content of interest.  PLNs allow educators to be part of a segmented virtual community built on social networking sites that create a dedicated space to openly discuss trends and hot topics surrounding the classroom. Social media sites may also be used to share classroom-related product recommendations, and to spread the word about notable education conferences. In 2012, social media use is anticipated to grow steadily, and educators are expected to be leading the way.

6. State Requirements for Online Learning

In late 2011, Idaho became the first state to require two online credits to graduate from high school. Students entering 9th grade in 2012 must pass two online courses during their four-year high school education. Three other states—Alabama, Florida, and Michigan—require students complete a single online course to meet graduation requirements. This trend is expected to continue in 2012 as more states recognize and value the importance of digital learning in developing 21st century skills and for college and career readiness.

7. Cloud Computing

In 2011, the business world managed to shake off its doubts about “cloud computing.” Companies began to embrace the concept of purchasing Internet-based data storage and software services from the likes of Microsoft, Amazon and Apple as an cost-effective alternative to providing local IT infrastructure.  Cloud computing can improve efficiencies, cut costs, save time, and in general, provide a solid return on investment. So it’s no great leap to suggest that in 2012, the education community will be looking to the “cloud” as a means to provide academic services that are too expensive or technically complex to deliver through traditional means.

Many of our nation’s schools suffer from low graduation rates directly attributable to insufficient infrastructure – overworked teachers, outdated technology, too many students per classroom. Cloud computing solutions can address many of these problems.  They reduce the need for technical support, enable students to work collaboratively in the classroom or at home, give teachers access to the latest versions of applications and online data resources, and allow district administrators to reduce redundancy by sharing commonly-used databases and management tools.  In 2012, inevitable budget cutbacks coupled with increasing demands to improve the education experience will make the lure of cloud computing difficult for educators to resist.

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