User-generated content, bring your own device and big data were some of the fastest growing EdTech topics of 2016. Here are eight ideas and expert predictions for the year ahead.
1. Future Skills Proofing
Increasingly, educators are recognising the need to equip young learners for a modern workplace where they will work with and compete against machines with artificial intelligence. As well as placing a greater emphasis on STEM education, many schools and universities are working to cultivate skills like creativity and empathy, which are thought to be harder for machines to replicate.
EdTechX Global co-founder, Benjamin Vedrenne-Cloquet, says 'I think we will see future skills proofing in both primary and secondary schools.'
2. More Learning Outside the Classroom
2016 saw flipped learning become mainstream in many schools and there now exist many opportunities for digitally assisted learning that can happen from any location.
Technology at school is now better linked with technology at home and many predict that 2017 will see further disintegration of the classroom walls.
'I think we'll see an increased use of online, cloud-based platforms at schools' says Geoff Stead. 'Platforms such as Edmodo, Turnitin and Google Classroom blur the boundaries between inside and outside the classroom, allowing students to connect, submit work and see schedules on any device.'
'2017 will see more opportunities for family, home-learning applications to connect and integrate with formal-learning, school-based software' predicts Marc Goodchild.
The popularity of flexible learning seems likely to continue into 2017 with mobile-based apps such as EduMe used to deliver corporate training.
3. Virtual Reality Headsets for Classroom and Conferencing Technology
A controversial topic, since many remain convinced that VR is overhyped, but it seems likely that 2017 will see further experimental use of virtual reality headsets, allowing educators to evaluate both the pros and the cons.
4. Digital Textbook Provision in more Universities
Mobile-optimised and integrated with collaborative learning tools, digital textbook providers such as Kortext are designed to appeal to an 'on-demand' generation of students who want immediate access to their learning materials, including core texts and journals.
It's perhaps for this reason that 75% of educators surveyed believe that digital learning content will replace the printed textbook within the next 10 years, according to Deloitte's 2016 Digital Education Survey.
5. Machine Learning for Greater Personalisation
'We will see more personalised adaptive learning powered by machine learning' says Priya Lakhani
'We will see more machine learning, adaptive learning and cognitive platforms supporting autism' says Alan Greenburg, who references the work of Professor Simon Barron-Cohen from Cambridge University and The Autism Research Trust.
6. Online Exams
Research shows that today's students can type significantly faster than they can write and, using services like DigiExam, teachers can grade papers anonymously with the option to auto-correct single-choice questions.
For these reasons it's predicted that a great number of schools and universities will switch to online exams this year.
7. Even more Blended Learning
'I think 2017 will see increased hybridity: mixing some AI type services (like the chatbot) together with traditional face to face teaching to supplement and extend' says Geoff Stead.
8. Chatbots for Mental Health
Increasing numbers of children and young people are accessing mental health services say NHS England.
Some schools and universities are already actively promoting apps and websites that support mental health, such as Headspace for meditation and Lantern for cognitive behavioural therapy. Many hope that 2017 will see a wider use of mental health chatbots, such as Facebook Messenger's Joy.