I’ve always thought of technology as the solution to many educational issues. Your students lack the motivation to learn and practice grammar concepts? Create a Kahoot! game that embraces student competitive nature while testing their knowledge on subject/verb agreement. Your students have no prior knowledge of your novel’s setting? Use Google Maps (and Google Lit Trips) to create a virtual field trip through a distant city, country, or even continent. Educational technology, though ever-changing, proposes solutions to educational issues that are both new and old.
In the 2016 NMC/CoSN Horizon Report, the collaborators pinpointed six trends and developments with short-, mid-, and long-term implications. The trends that applied the most to my 7th grade English classroom include students as creators, virtual reality, and wearable technology. Though all of the trends and developments have some exciting possibilities, virtual reality and wearable technology have the most interesting and perhaps most promising implications.
When I tell people that I’m an English teacher, many people expect my classroom to be stuffy with sit-down-and-be-quiet activities. What those outside our profession don’t know is that any subject and any grade level can be exciting and dynamic when students act as creators in the classroom. As mentioned in the Horizon Report (2016), the rise of social media platforms like Instagram and Snapchat have turned our students into self-made writers, producers, designers, and artists. Students use their creative skills outside the classroom daily to tell a story, whether for comedic effect or otherwise, so why can’t we do that in the classroom? Social media in middle school has its difficulties but it serves as an excellent point of reference when you ask your students to create a Snapchat-style response as Scout from To Kill a Mockingbird.
Virtual reality paired with wearable technology fills my mind with so many exciting ideas. Seventh graders have great imaginations until it comes face to face with a textbook. The Horizon Report (2016) states, “Virtual reality delivers immersive, simulated worlds, enabling complete focus on content without distractions.” Now, add in wearable technology in which student can get up and walk through a virtual reality simulation, and suddenly students are walking the same hot, cracked plains with Salva and Nya from A Long Walk to Water and their imaginations are alive.
No matter the trend or development, educational technology promises to continue providing answers to educational problems. As a teacher, I am excited to see how each of these trends and development appear in my classroom and how they help my students.
Roblyer, M.D. (2016). Integrating educational technology into teaching. (7 ed). Boston, MA: Pearson Education, Inc
Adams Becker, S., Freeman, A., Giesinger Hall, C., Cummins, M.,and Yuhnke, B. (2016). MC/CoSN Horizon Report: 2016 K-12 Edition. Austin, Texas: The New Media Consortium.