Monday, May 18, 2015

Tracking #EdTech Trends

While re-reading some of my old CTO blog posts this past weekend, I was shocked to find my criteria for terminating CTOs. In my blog entry, What CTOs Should Get Fired For, I wrote a list of 10 criteria.

Now that I've served in the role of Tech Director, I can revisit this list and shorten it:

  1. CTO failed to anticipate the next big thing.
  2. CTO failed to collaborate, plan, communicate, and deploy infrastructure so as to be ready to implement (with top-level support) critical changes.
  3. CTO clings to old technology because it's easy to support, but complex for the end-user.
  4. CTO jumps to new technology before it's been fully tested just to satisfy the Tech Dept and/or the superintendent.
  5. CTO fails to build relationships with key stakeholders and communicate about existing initiatives.
One of the main challenges we face as technology directors is knowing what's coming next. Of course, who expected that the Texas Education Agency (TEA) would split its assessment footprint to include Educational Testing Service (ETS) and Pearson? That's why getting this information (thanks,!) out is important...people can start to discuss and reflect on implications for their particular situation. One of the burning questions that I have is, Will the online assessment instruments that assessment vendors decide to use work on what Texas school districts have?
ETS provided a stronger response for the first three components of the RFP (Program Integration, STAAR 3–8, and STAAR EOC). The cost for ETS to provide services related to these components over the four-year period is approximately $280 million. 
Pearson provided a stronger response for the last three components of the RFP (STAAR Alternate, TELPAS and TAKS). The cost for Pearson to provide services related to these components over the four-year period is approximately $60 million.
After all, the "next big thing" every school district has to be ready to support is high-stakes assessments (e.g. TestNAV) and state-wide interventions (e.g. Istation, Think Through Math) on the devices they have the most of (e.g. desktop computers, Chromebooks, iPads). It's a no-brainer, right?
As the Legislature moved to reduce the state’s standardized testing program in response to widespread outcry from parents and school leaders in 2013, the state's contract with Pearson became the focus of much criticism....
In 2013, the state auditor concluded that the state education agency did not adequately oversee the contract with Pearson. Source: Texas Tribune, 5/18/2015
That's why articles like The EdTech Trends on the Cusp of Mainstream make me hopeful. Maybe THEIR crystal ball works better than mine. In truth, the best crystal ball is to constantly ask others what they are doing, read as much as you can, and plan accordingly.

Some of the trends--based on a preview copy of the NMC Horizon Report--Stephen Noonoo from eSchoolNews identifies include the following:
  1. Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)
  2. Makerspaces
  3. 3D Printing
  4. Adaptive Software
  5. Long-term Trends
    1. Shift to inquiry-based learning and flexible scheduling (must be some librarians jumping for joy on the adoption of this term!)
    2. Collaborative learning approaches that result in students creating content
    3. Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math (STEAM)
    4. Blended learning
(hmm...did I miss coding/programming in this?)

Of course, knowing the trends isn't enough. The next step is figuring out what to do about them, building capacity in district staff in a comprehensive plan (including funding), then making it a reality. That's a lot easier said than done.

Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin's blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure

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