The State of our Nation’s EdTech: How Schools are Changing

Education Technology

There is no doubt that the classrooms and learning models of the last century don’t quite meet the unique needs of today’s “digital native” students, who access and process information in a completely new and different way.
Schools and districts are discovering an urgent need to shift to a 21st-Century classroom design that includes technology in order to help students better prepare for future success.
This year, our friends at EdSurge traveled across the U.S. to research the state of education technology, visiting schools and districts to find out more about different aspects of their edtech experiences first hand. They resulting report has included three chapters on the biggest trends in K-12 and edtech, how money shapes the edtech ecosystem and how edtech tools have evolved.
The fourth and final chapter was just released and shares exactly how schools are making changes. During their travels, the EdSurge research team identified 19 transformational elements that schools are experimenting with for change. This chapter includes case studies from 14 schools and districts excelling at one to two of these elements. Mary Jo Madda shares more about the report below.

By Mary Jo Madda
In the final chapter of our yearlong research on the state of education technology, EdSurge explored how schools and districts across the U.S. are experimenting with their models and technology in order to better prepare students for the future ahead.
Over the last 150 years, the notion of what a school should be has evolved. From John Dewey’s one-room schoolhouse and the industrialized “factory model” to the open classrooms movement of the 1970s, schools have often tried to incorporate the latest ideas in education—some that proved to be successful and others less so.
Changing demographics and the widespread use of technology have forced teachers, administrators and parents to readjust for a school population with dramatically different needs. Providing an optimal learning experience to every student has never been more challenging, specifically because there are so many building blocks that make up a school.
Each element has a tremendous impact on the learning experience for students, staff and families, and every school handles those elements differently. EdSurge identified 19 of those elements from “edtech selection” and “professional development” to “change management” and “infrastructure,” and a collection of schools that champion each of these elements, all in order to help others create learning experiences that best meet the unique needs of today’s students.
Yes, technology plays an important role in today’s classrooms. While the pace of change has accelerated, however, one constant remains the same: Good teachers are critical to delivering an effective learning experience. From a rural school district delivering on a vision of self-paced learning, to a charter system incorporating social-emotional learning into its curriculum, to a group of Los Angeles administrators who failed big before creating a far more supportive, blended environment for their students, this research and these stories give a taste of how schools are changing, as well as the role technology is—and isn’t—playing in that change.
Check out the full report here.
For more, see:

Mary Jo Madda is Senior Editor at EdSurge, as well as a former STEM middle school teacher and administrator. Follow her on Twitter: @MJMadda

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