Clicks will become as important as bricks as schools take students’ online working environment as seriously as their physical learning spaces.
Education technology trends are making bigger headway in the classroom than ever before; from online working environments to digital admissions offices.
Understanding how to combine technologies to facilitate collaboration, concentration, creativity, inspiration and control to optimise the online environment is fast becoming a hot topic – and one that merits in-depth study. In the UK, several Masters in Education now include an option to specialise in edtech, including one offered by the University of Bristol, which states that the programme helps students take a critical perspective on usage and prepares them for ‘further research in this rapidly developing field’.
Elsewhere, Siam Technology College in Bangkok goes a step further, offering an entire MEd in Digital Learning and Leading, while Wilson College, Pennsylvania unveiled a dedicated Master of Educational Technology programme in 2016. The US Department of Education meanwhile held an Innovators’ Briefing in Washington, DC for the education schools that have signed up to the challenge it set in the summer to ensure programs prepare new teachers to use technology meaningfully. Watch out for more developments in 2017.
Technology will allow us to keep assessment relevant
Last summer a cohort of more than 7,500 International Baccalaureate (IB) students from across the world undertook on-screen examinations for the very first time. The educational organisation is the first to launch on-screen interactive exams, but it is rumoured that other examination boards will follow suit this year and launch their own versions of this style of assessment.
Schools will need to respond on two fronts to the increased threat from ransomware and phishing scams in particular, ensuring their systems and protection are robust and educating and supporting their staff to create a ‘human firewall’.
Integration of technology into educational assessment has been noticeably slow; computers are a huge part of everyday life and it is rare nowadays that students write by hand for an extended length of time, and should therefore be provided with the best means to express themselves.
• Cyber criminals will increasingly attempt to outsmart schools
Schools are being targeted by a variety of predators and it can often be difficult for Heads, Bursars and Governors to differentiate between the need to pass online safety inspections and the wider requirement for information and cyber security. The world is increasingly interconnected and schools are right to embrace the many efficiencies and benefits afforded by technology. Mobility, online education, cloud, WiFi and bring your own device are rapidly becoming the new normal for schools, as they are already in other sectors.
The FBI reports that billions of dollars are lost every year, while the UK government, which collected computer fraud and misuse data in its annual crime survey for the first time this year, found 5.6 million of these offences. The reported attacks are widely believed to be the tip of the iceberg.
Cyber criminals are increasingly preying on schools, such as this attack on a New Jersey school district. According to security firm Titan HQ, schools represent a very attractive target for hackers as their systems contain valuable data. The organisation points out that that the impacts are considerable and wide ranging: reputational, legal, economic and operational.
“Future funding may be affected, as well as possible loss of future student fees and associated income. Prosecution and other penalties could also arise, or the loss of sensitive data. There may even be damage to infrastructure that cripples the activities of the institution”. Schools will need to respond on two fronts to the increased threat from ransomware and phishing scams in particular, ensuring their systems and protection are robust and educating and supporting their staff to create a ‘human firewall’.
Subscribe to our free fortnightly newsletter and stay ahead with the latest news in edtech