Current Topic Four, ED 650

I am intrigued to read survey articles that discuss this year’s trends in education, or business. Mostly I am left feeling disappointed. I feel disappointed in several ways usually, first, is that the obvious is frequently stated, second, the nerdiest and intriguing topics avoided, and finally, little is said about a mindset that visions a different future.  A Google Search on this year’s trends resulted in many articles. In Technology that will Shape Education in 2017, we hear from Low, about eight directions:

  1. Virtual Reality
  2. Augmented Reality
  3. Learn from Anywhere, Teach from Anywhere Mobile Devices
  4. Collaboration Technology
  5. Gamification
  6. Coding
  7. Evolving Learning Spaces and Styles
  8. The Maker Movement

Many schools, libraries, and nonprofit centers are already deeply involved with the “maker movement.” Schools in rural Alaska, serving villages of 400 people have “fablabs, ” and the kids are using them on a daily basis.  So hardly cutting edge technology.

Jones, by contrast, calls out the cost, danger, and impracticality as reasons indeed “cutting edge” technology will not be in the classroom this year.

Some of the newest inventions that are finding success in medicine, science, engineering, and technology are not likely to be teaching aids soon. Some technologies–such as nanobots, quantum electronics, molecular sensors, and universal translator devices–may have teaching benefits but are too costly and impractical for schools to own. New inventions in the worlds of DNA hacking, cyber warfare, drone engineering, and many of the other technologies frequently in the news will likely stay out of the classroom in the near future for their dangerous possibilities.

His list: Google Drive, MOOCs, and 3D printing seem far more likely and equally tame as some that Low lists.  So this creates an exciting criterion for sorting through Low’s list. So, Virtual Reality is too expensive and experimental; Augmented reality is just not there yet. My post Augmented Reality explores some of this more deeply. All of the rest of Low’s list is very yesterday, like Jones three most likely.

So, instead, I want to look at Jone’s list of unlikely technologies. It makes no sense that drones will not be in the classroom soon. Why not? Every YouTube content creator has one. Hacking is probably just banal and belongs on yesterday list. A Google Search on Cybersecurity summer camps reveals a host of programs aimed at 7-12 graders.  For example, the NSA offers the GenCyber Program as one example of its ubiquity. Even those technologies that are indeed out of reach for practical classroom experimentation are probably precisely the ones that teachers should be exploring with students. Since those will be accessible and ripe for use for this cohort at their graduation. I am routinely struck by the truism that we are preparing people for jobs that do not exist yet.

What if instead of asking “what are the cutting edge classroom technologies?” We propose instead just about future trends in technology.

Infographic: A Timeline of Future Technology
My daughter did work on Carbon Sequestering in both here Chemistry and Engineering programs. It makes perfect sense to me that K-12 students should be learning about these technologies that we are at early stages on. Both because it inspires curiosity and excitement and because it creates a curriculum of practical need. If a youngster is excited about Cabon Sequestering, then many of the fundamentals of Chemistry, Biology, and of Engineering a situated in a context and motivated by a personal curiosity as is entirely normal my daughters’ interests have turned to other topics, and we would expect young people still in K-12 to have several turns of curiosity. But in truth that is a good thing and a way to cover many technologies and subjects. It is also an essential technique of the futurist of sampling and scenario building. We likely need to think more deeply about how we raise a generation with the skill set of futurists considering along with technical skills for making and doing. Of course, the weakness and the superficiality of my survey here are that I am ignoring the burden of State and Federal learning outcomes and as well local social reactionism. These constraining factors loom large in the minds of educators, teachers, and administrators, alas. This crucial limiting factor is aimed precisely at status quo and the stability of business as usual. And this in a country that prides itself on entrepreneurial thinking.  Perhaps then entrepreneurship like technological innovation is being learned somewhere else then schools?



Jones, George (2017, January 16, 2017). Classroom Technology: What’s New For 2017? Retrieved November 9, 2017, from

Low, Mei Lin (2017, 15 March 2017). Technology That Will Shape Education in  2017. [Weblog]. Retrieved November 9, 2017, from

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *