The Electric Educator: 5 Trends to Watch in 2011

Monday, January 24, 2011

5 Trends to Watch in 2011

Note: This is the second of my series "5 things to watch in 2011" Future installments will include: 
Reverse Instruction is an innovative instructional strategy that was originally used by chemistry teachers Aaron Sams and Jon Bergman. The basic idea involves have students watch recorded lectures at home and working on homework assignments at school. You can read my experience in "flipping" my Anatomy and Physiology class here. Sams and Bergman are in the process of writing a book on this method of instruction and are being invited to speak all around the country. Look for them at the next education conference that you attend!

Blended Learning is the combination of face to face and online instruction. With school districts facing budget cuts and the maintenance and upkeep of school buildings increasing, it only makes sense that schools leverage technology to reduce costs while improving instruction. At the 2010 Virtual School Symposium sponsored by iNACOL it was clear that blended instruction is quickly becoming a viable instructional option as many states adopt seat-waver initiatives.

Cloud computing is here to stay. Everyone seems to be jumping on board. Microsoft announced the deployment of Office Web Apps as a competitor to Google Apps. Google launched the alpha test of its Chrome OS netbook which lives in the cloud. Every day more and more services are becoming cloud based. The increasing availability of wireless connections through 3G and 4G networks make cloud computing an increasingly viable option. Look for the development of web browsers to continue while the development of operating systems to stagnate.

Media Streaming Media is one element that still has its roots based on physical discs and locally stored files. As broadband service become increasingly common there is no reason for physical media such as DVD's and CD's. Additionally, more and more electronic devices are connected to the web including TV's and DVD/Bluray players. The popularity of services such as Pandora point to the viability of media streaming. Look for services such as Netflix and iTunes to go to a 100% streaming model. Media companies are slowly realizing the demand for streaming services and are opening their vaults to services such as Netflix, but at a hefty price.

Mobile Devices and applications are quickly becoming the dominant form of connectivity in society. The Pew Internet & American Life Project reports that "the rate at which Americans went online with their handheld on a typical day increased by 73% in the sixteen months between the 2007 and 2009 surveys."Both Apple and Android report strong sales/downloads of applications to mobile devices. Look for mobile devices and applications to dominate the news and innovation cycle of 2011. I am paying close attention to the continued development and application of QR codes, Augmented Reality, and smart phone projection.

Check back next Monday for the second installment of my "5 things" series...

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