Top five trends in edtech

By CEO of JumpStart Games, David Lord

1. Gamification & Game-Based Learning
The classroom is becoming very integrated, allowing educators to combine gamification of education with game-based learning curriculum delivery. JumpStart Games, and our soon to be launched JumpStart Academy, are school2home game-based learning ecosystems that can work with curriculums and classrooms with internet access. The U.S. has vast differences in wealthy and poor public school districts and this impacts the curriculum for less privileged students. It is not just a U.S. Problem – any district with tight funding can benefit from a technology-based solution to offer access and opportunity to study new subjects. High quality games provide a learning edge for immersive gameplay before, during, and after school, in subjects like science, maths, coding, geography, early learning, and beyond. Gamification and online learning will continue to enhance the learning experience for all global students and offer access to enriching content that will close learning gaps for motivated students, regardless of whether they attend a public or private school. 

2. Rise of AR and VR 
While the technology of AR and VR is still nascent and not yet widespread, game-based learning will eventually incorporate the use of both augmented and virtual reality as the technology improves. This technology is specifically adapted for young learners to truly add value to their work. Hopefully, all teachers will soon be able to provide a hands-on 3D approach for kids to experience concepts in a real-life setting, allowing them to explore material they otherwise would not be able to connect with (e.g. dissecting a frog, exploring ancient Egypt, etc.) This immediate access to new content and the ability to collaborate with other educators and connect with global students will level the playing field for students in every classroom and whenever they feel like learning more at home. 

3. 360-Degree Education
It’s important for parents and teachers alike to help shape a child’s view of technology as a positive tool for learning – not just a vehicle for mindless consumption. Parents can assist their children in downloading games and apps that are beneficial to ‘core concept learning’ and that expand upon what kids are learning in school. And they should remember that screen time could actually be used to inspire the mind.
Implementing technology into the curriculum allows for parents to be more involved in their child’s education, and most students are more engaged and willing to learn when their parents are involved. This 360-degree style of teaching promotes a positive parent-teacher-student interaction with higher engagement and communication overall. Kids crave the involvement of their parents when they are under the age of 12 – game-based learning technology is a perfect tool for families to connect, learn and grow together. A common technology-based learning experience also makes it easier for the child that moves to a new school or country to adjust and settle into a new setting for their education.

4. Analytics
Most school districts in the U.S. are very focused on learning outcomes. There is little doubt that the value of measuring what a student has learned and mastered, and where those existing gaps are, will continue to have lasting value. Technology has the incredible power to tap into where those strengths and weaknesses reside for each student and to identify trends for an entire district, state, region, etc. Our education system will increasingly rely on technology to hone in on what and how much students learn. However, how well humans and educational professionals use the data is far less predictable, and will continue to be debated for this generation of students and beyond. Education should have measurable outcomes but what really matters at the end of the day is what YOUR child is learning when they are ready to learn it. The real marker of success for any student is to have a passion for life-long learning, rather than getting top grades on a test. 

5. Adaptive Learning
Every learner is unique and has an intrinsic pace and style that is highly personalized. Gifted instructors have long recognized this reality and adjust their teaching style to accommodate all learners in the same setting. However, the advent of adaptive learning technology is a powerful tool to further refine instruction and content, so that all students learn material at a realistic pace and in a highly personalized manner. When students advance from elementary school to high school or university, the students that excel have internalised how to take responsibility for their own learning style and how to tackle new concepts. It is a universal trait regardless of the country of study.   

Conclusion
Right now, the biggest challenge facing U.S. schools is the ongoing inconsistency in budgets, quality of curriculum implementation and lack of resources for all learners. This challenge has existed for decades and leads to huge gaps in education and shuts out a big part of the American population for higher-level learning. Fragmented, outdated approaches to education breed unengaged students and fail to inspire young minds. Many countries value a high quality education but struggle with the delivery of a great experience due to lack of resources and robust budgets. Technology can help fill in the gaps and support all global students. 

The use of technology in the classroom is a growing trend – one that can be harnessed in multiple forms to enhance an instant digital interaction between the teacher, the student and the parent. These technologies engage students at their own pace and actively involve both parents and educators. We at JumpStart have made a deliberate pivot to the edtech space so learners not only in the U.S. but also all over the world will have access to great content.

Website: http://www.jumpstart.com/

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