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Thursday, May 25, 2017

The Future of Education...and the role edtech will play


Sometimes I feel like I know things other people just don't get. I know that sounds vain, but this has nothing to do with my intelligence and more to do with what I do for a living. I'm an instructional technologist and anyone in my position worth a grain of salt has to be aware of what is down the pike...and I know, or at least I have an inkling. And I'll admit it both excites me and scares me.

Yesterday morning before heading to the Tennessee STEM Innovation Summit that I am currently attending, I sat in on a meeting where we announced to our middle school that we were going to pilot the LMS Canvas for next year. Let me just say that they are a great group of educators that have a strong sense of adaptability that is amazing. I believe it has a lot to do with the fact they are teaching middle schoolers that want to be treated like children one minute and adults the next!

One of the questions that was asked was "Why not Google Classroom?" and quite honestly for some of our teachers I do believe it would be the best solution for what they are currently doing. But here is the part where I feel like I am "in the know." Education is not going to remain in it's current state. The digital revolution is happening. Integrating technology will no longer look like presenting with a visual that might even be locked down on all the 1:1 devices. Digital revolution means meeting individual student needs with more feedback.

The last few years of tech integration have been messy. That is definitely no lie. The tool has been there and edtech company's have raced to create platforms to meet classroom needs. Some have done it well and some resoundingly have not. School's have adopted, adapted, trashed, and rethought the process of education over and over again. At our school we have looked in the framework of what is antiquated, what is classic and should be kept, and what contemporary way can we do education better?

I believe we are going to see major changes in formative assessments and I believe that schools will have to adapt to them because they will be game changers. This morning I saw this:

Zoomi, a performance optimization data analytics company, and Canvas by Instructure today announced a partnership that integrates Zoomi's powerful predictive and prescriptive analytic tools with Instructure's innovative and award-winning learning platform. This new relationship will empower educators to greatly enhance learning and increase student achievement and proficiency.
Central to the partnership is the analysis of behavior patterns, based on Zoomi's existing algorithms and analytics, that can predict learning outcomes with greater accuracy and adapt pathways.  These insights paired with Canvas, an adaptable and customizable state-of-the-art LMS for K-12 schools and higher education institutions, will provide students with personalized learning programs that can immediately impact achievement gaps. Zoomi's analysis of cognitive, motivational and behavioral data allows real-time, automated, AI-based personalization of content for a truly individualized learning experience.
"Learning institutions choose Canvas for its flexibility and ease of use. And now with the addition of Zoomi analytics, content developers and educators will be able to tailor learning to the preferences of each student," said Caroline Brant, Director of Client Success at Zoomi.  "By providing content based on the specific strengths and needs of individual students, educators are able to maximize student comprehension and engagement."
"The partnership with Zoomi allows us to provide our customers with deeper, actionable insights into student performance," said Melissa Loble, Vice President of Partnerships and Platform at Instructure. "This enhancement to Canvas will provide the online learning community with new ways to improve teaching and learning."
As schools, we must decide what disciplines this will impact in our classrooms. We must decide how far will we allow AI (artificial intelligence) into the educational setting and more importantly into our world. Boundaries need to be placed by our culture to make sure it is morally and ethically used but that being said, the next step in logic branching questions is an exciting time. 
I love that education is working towards personalization so that we can meet all students' needs. This is the future of education. To what extent remains to be seen. Technology will always be a tool but it also has the ability to be a medium of learning itself. How are educational institutions going to leverage this in a way that benefits the relational aspect of education that is key to creating lifelong learners? 

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