EdTech Trends to Keep An Eye Out For in 2023
As we draw near to the new year, it is time to look ahead at a few potential EdTech trends that we expect to see in 2023.
Classroom technology is constantly turning over, changing, and evolving–often in completely unforeseen ways. Because of that, trying to predict all the new and exciting things that may come in the new year for EdTech is impossible.
However–looking back on the last year, and ahead to the next–we have used industry insights from our nationwide customers, as well as the manufacturers we work with to make a few guesses of what the new year may hold.
Check out these EdTech trends we expect to see affecting the K-12 technology ecosystem in 2023.
Making the Most of Current 1:1 Devices
A tidal wave of student devices hit K-12 education between 2020-2022 brought on by an influx of federal and state funding. In fact, in 2022, 90% of district leaders reported that “every single secondary school student in their district has a school-issued device” compared to only 45% of students pre-pandemic. Needless to say, schools nationwide are still adapting to this accelerated reality of EdTech.
While they have seen many benefits of 1:1 devices in their classrooms (improved digital equity, flexible ways to deliver instruction, and new opportunities for creativity and collaboration), the full value and potential of all this new technology on student outcomes has yet to be actualized for many districts.
According to the article, “EdTech Post-COVID-19: A Missed Opportunity”, this wave of new technology was more about how to get devices to students, not how to use them to improve the education experience.
“… Investments in EdTech have mostly focused on deploying devices and connectivity,” throughout the past few years. It left little time to make long-term game plans that promote effective tech use, encourage sustainable growth, and improve student outcomes.
As the dust settles and school technology leaders have the time to take a breath and assess the future of their new technology ecosystem, two main questions remain:
- How can we get the most out of these major investments in 1:1 EdTech made in 2020-2022?
- How do we sustainably continue this progress?
We expect the need to make the most of recent 1:1 investments will result in an attention shift for technology professionals to these types of initiatives and projects:
- Tying Together the Entire Classroom
- Maintenance and Repairs
- Professional Development
Tying Together the Entire Classroom
Student devices aren’t the only technology schools have been investing in. Education has also seen an increase in EdTech investments around front-of-classroom tools like interactive whiteboards, software, and more.
Finding creative ways to weave together all the technology in the classroom ensures it’s all used to its fullest potential. Things like screencasting and screen sharing between panels and student devices help teachers develop a cohesive environment of classroom EdTech.
This will also mean emphasizing the connection between technology with pedagogy in the upcoming year.
“The notion that technology and pedagogy can exist separately can’t exist anymore in our community,” said author Weston Kieschnick in a conversation with Trafera.
In the new year, teachers will be looking for ways to blend the art of teaching with their modern technology tools for better learning experiences.
Repairs and Maintenance
It may not be glamorous, but maintenance is a crucial aspect of 1:1 programs. In reality, 6-12% of student devices break every year. And with an average of $100/repair, costs can add up quickly and deplete an already strained budget.
A huge step towards creating a 1:1 device program that last sustains well beyond the federal funding cliff is developing long-term plans and budgeting for maintenance, repairs, and refresh.
“How do you manage and support an aging fleet of computing technology? What’s next in terms of technology adoption in districts? I think those are interesting questions that haven’t necessarily been at the forefront.” – Scott Gill (CEO, Trafera)
Supporting continuous learning for teachers in an ever-evolving education landscape is paramount to the academic success of schools, educators, and students.
In the same interview with Weston Kieschnick, he discussed the need for great teacher training any time new technology is introduced into the classroom. “There was this idea that we could take technology, roll it into classrooms and teachers would figure it out. And what we discovered… is that they don’t.”
He continued, “We would never assume that of other professionals. No one took MRI technology when it first arrived, rolled it into hospitals, and said, ‘I bet doctors will figure this out’ NO! There was specific training that went along with how to use it effectively and efficiently within the context that it was supposed to be used”
It’s not news to anyone in education that consistent and quality training is a critical part of improving student learning is teacher training, but unfortunately “resources and time are often lacking”(THE Journal). While 67% of district leaders report providing some form of PD to teachers, 51% of teachers rate these professional development experiences as “Mediocre” or worse.
“Technology, in and of itself, isn’t going to solve critical outcome issues. It’s only when educators understand, appreciate, and adopt new usage models that we can see transformation.” Scott Gill (CEO, Trafera)
The call for quality teacher training is loud and 2023 will see many schools exerting more time and resources into providing great professional learning opportunities for their teachers. Not only will that lead to improvements in academic outcomes, but it will play a role in alleviating teacher burnout.
Tech as a Teaching Assistant
Teachers are tired! Nationwide educator shortages are leaving teachers with less time, more students, and limited resources. The result is a snowball effect of even worse retention rates.
Technology is not a cure for all the underlying issues leading to teacher resignment. However, tech can play a role in aiding teacher retention. It can do so by making them feel comfortable and supported, simplifying everyday tasks with AI, and extending instruction further.
Creating Comfortable and Supportive Work Environments
Creating a work environment that makes teachers feel supported and comfortable can help with that. “If an educator… is supported by technology that is easy to use, consistent, reliable, and tailored to their role, tenure, or skill level and process, they feel more comfortable,” as well as more appreciated and supported (“5 Ways Technology Can Help You Support Teachers and Boost Retention” from AASPA).
AI in the Classroom
2022 saw an increase in educators bringing artificial intelligence (AI) assistants like Siri and Alexa as a second set of (virtual) hands into the classroom. However, with new privacy evaluations hitting schools, they might not be welcome for much longer.
But we can learn something from them anyhow: Teachers find value in having extra help from AI throughout the school day.
Solutions like Merlyn Mind let schools bring the utility of AI assistants into the classroom in a way that is tailored to education and adheres to strict privacy and security requirements. With a simple, “Hey Merlyn,” teachers can pull up slides on their classroom panel, search the web, start timers, play videos, and more–all completely untethered from their board or device.
It’s a little thing that makes a tough job like teaching a little easier and a lot more fun.
Try Merlyn yourself! Request a virtual demo HERE.
Extending Instruction Further
Clever EdTech use can help schools work smarter not harder at delivering instruction to students with a limited number of teachers. Teachers can stream lessons to multiple classrooms or even to remote learners by using screencasting, conference cameras, and other streaming tools. They can also record lessons using their interactive boards and classroom cameras that can be distributed to remote or asynchronous learners.
With the threat of cyberattacks becoming more and more of a daily issue, a major priority for K-12 education is protecting student data and avoiding ransomware attacks.
“As a number of recent notable attacks against school systems across the country demonstrate, schools are relatively low-hanging fruit for those who steal data and sell it or hold it for ransom. While corporations have been able to harden their defenses, boost spending on resilience measures, enhance their cybersecurity programs and evaluate risks, school systems — K-12 and higher education alike — haven’t been able to keep up.” – The 74
With the rise of digital devices for both students and teachers since the pandemic, they are more venerable than ever to ransomware attacks. We expect a true push for cybersecurity in education in 2023, especially for schools that have not yet made cybersecurity a priority and find themselves dangerously behind the curve.
It is important to always prepare for cybersecurity threats before they happen. Plans should highlight the actions to take before, during, and after a cyberattack.
The Readiness and Emergency Management For Schools (REMS) lays out a six-step planning process for emergency preparedness :
- Step 1: Form a collaborative planning team
- Step 2: Understand the situation
- Step 3: Determine goals and objectives
- Step 4: Plan development (identify courses of action)
- Step 5: Plan preparation; review and approval
- Step 6: Plan implementation and maintenance
Multipurpose Computer Labs
Are computer labs dead in the age of 1:1 or do they just need some reimagining? We think the latter.
“Computer labs” (if that’s even what we should call them in 2022) still have a place in today’s learning environment. This is because they offer the space and EdTech needed for higher powered learning experiences that the typical student device can’t support.
Things like high-level STEM (coding, 3D rendering, production, design, etc.) and Esports require extra computing horsepower and spaces (like designated labs) equipped with powerful computers.
As schools continue to readjust to post-pandemic reality, modern and multipurpose computer labs can offer a central place for learning, testing, creating, collaborating, and after-school activities.
Now that most US schools have reached 1:1 status, is the next step 2:1?
The jury is still out, but we think it’s unlikely in 2023.
Some schools are looking at the option of 2:1 programs (where one device is kept at home and one is stored in the classroom) as a way to help mitigate device breaks and instructional downtime.
Without the need of moving devices to and from school, student devices are less likely to break and the classroom set ensures that students always have charged and ready devices during class time.
Especially in the face of the federal funding cliff, this feels unrealistic in the new year but may grow legs in years to come.
What do you think? What other EdTech trends in 2023 do you expect (or hope) to see?
At Trafera, we believe technology can only improve learning experiences when we make people our number one investment. We partner with the industry’s most trusted brands to provide students and educators with the tools and the technology they need to transform the learning experience in 2021 and beyond.
With Trafera on your team, we’ll work together to navigate the complexities of today’s learning environment in a supportive and empowering way. Contact us today to learn more about providing your students with a more engaged and more connected experience this school year and beyond.