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Edtech 2018: 17 emerging trends

Experts from RM Education share their predictions on how technology will influence classrooms and back office operations in 2018

Posted by Charley Rogers | January 10, 2018 | Secondary

#1. Pupils will expect seamless technology in school

As the drive for learning to more closely reflect life becomes greater, pupils will have higher expectations of the technology available to them in the classroom; they’ll expect it to be seamless, as it is in their homes and personal lives.

#2. Peer-led support will form a key part of safeguarding

Peer-to-peer mentoring schemes are reinforcing positive and supportive behaviours, and helping pupils to take responsibility for their own online safety. Schools will start to make these schemes accessible to pupils from an earlier age, empowering future learners to be safe online. 

#3. Machine Learning will be at the centre of everything

Most schools are probably using machine learning every day without realising it. G Suite and Office 365 use ML extensively in their productivity suites to help users do things more intelligently. Most exciting is the ability to provide reliable and valid predictions on student performance, and thus make meaningful interventions.

#4. We’re all going to need more bandwidth

Schools are consuming ever-greater volumes of bandwidth – a trend more pronounced in secondary schools due to the widespread adoption of cloud technologies. Bandwidth consumption increases by around 40% year-on-year, so it will become critical for schools to get their infrastructure right to support this. 

#5. Outsourcing will become inevitable

While some schools might think it’s more cost effective to run all their IT systems ‘in-house’, there are substantial risks in doing this because schools are limited to one person or one skillset. Outsourcing will help schools to reduce costs, future-proof technology, cover absence and transfer the risk to the service provider.

#6. Systems security must be more robust

The prevalence of malware and ransomware is a growing cause for concern, and in an age where data is so critical, schools must be rigorous in mitigating these kinds of attacks. Having remote technical support that can detect risks before they reach your networks, and putting a clear governance policy in place for opening emails, will become more critical to system safety.

#7. Flipped learning is here to stay

The trend towards flipped learning and a more collaborative classroom is continuing at pace. Online platforms that help to foster collaboration in the classroom – such as Google Classroom, One Drive and Microsoft Teams – will become more central to learning.

#8. Using 1:1 devices will become standard

The need for affordable 1:1 classroom devices will see a surge in demand for such products.

The use of technology to share lessons and ideas ‘live’ and in real time with other schools, companies and establishments around the world will become more common.

#9. Critical data will be stored in the cloud

As we become more security-conscious, schools will look to store more data in the cloud. Using tools like Google Drive removes the need memory sticks and allows teams to access their work in the cloud from anywhere – using secure passwords.

#10. BYOD schemes will become standard

Providing that proper planning and the right infrastructure are in place, we will begin to see the majority of UK secondary schools adopting BYOD in some form as part of a wider plan to reduce costs, save time and increase engagement.

#11. School systems must be scalable

School and academy trusts will need technology to scale to the rapidly changing requirements of their learners, teachers and administrators. Embracing the use of cloud-based applications, infrastructure and collaborative platforms will reduce costs, increase flexibility and enable educational technology to be more responsive to changing needs.

#12. Schools will make better use data for decisions

Schools are now realising the potential of the data held in their MIS, and in 2018 we’ll see this trend gain momentum. Schools will start to fully exploit their data for monitoring attendance patterns, communicating with parents, storing documents electronically, holding medical information, tracking SEND requirements and exploring contextual data analysis to spot anomalies and identify trends.

#13. Servers will become redundant

Few schools will continue to burden themselves with the large capital outlay on replacing costly servers like-for-like when they reach the end of their functional service; ‘serverless schools’ whose services and systems are delivered to staff and students through the internet is becoming the norm.

#14. We’ll build a culture of reading for pleasure

The National Literacy Trust’s recent research highlighted the measurable impact of e-books on reading motivation and skills, and their ability to positively influence reluctant readers. By the end of 2018, almost every school will be trying or using e-books on a regular basis to improve reading, to help build a culture of reading for pleasure, and to support learning in one or more subjects.

#15. Collaboration tools will become more prevalent

Outside the classroom, children are fully conversant using technology to collaborate; they use it daily to make friends and socialise. Increasingly, we’ll see the use of similar technologies in the classroom, and this will enable children to learn from one another whilst engaging them in learning by making it both fun and relevant.

#16. Windows 10 adoption in schools will accelerate

In 2018, we will see a wider adoption of Windows 10 in the classroom, in part due to decreasing availability of systems that support Windows 7. Windows 10 allows devices to be faster, more secure and have even better multi-tasking capabilities than previous versions of Windows, resulting in more collaborative classrooms.

#17. Video communications tools will become more widespread

The popularity of video communication tools is testament to the way content consumption and communication is shifting categorically. While this will never replace the face-to-face conversation, it's a good substitute when the latter isn't possible. These technologies will be more prevalent in the classroom, with tools like Google Expeditions putting students into places and situations they wouldn’t otherwise experience.


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