Innovative Education Technologies Shift Conversation

By Ann Lee Flynn

Beloit College has released its annual Mindset List each fall since 1998 as a reminder to the institution’s faculty about making dated references to things that simply will not resonate with members of the entering freshman class. The eagerly awaited list, often influenced by technology trends that became mainstream prior to their birth, serve as cultural touchstones for the rest of society as well.

The Class of 2017 has never attended a concert in a smoke-filled arena, never needed anything more than an address when a GPS can provide directions, and always has been able to plug into a USB port or sell their used toys on eBay.

Another reminder of just how much things are changing as a result of technology comes from an infographic compiled by Mozy that identifies 50 things we have left behind for new alternatives. Individually, the shift represented by each item may not seem impressive. Viewed as a group, however, they offer a clear picture of how quickly the familiar can disappear from the landscape.

For example, owning a set of encyclopedias, going to the actual bank building to do business, searching through the fine print of newspaper classified ads, or remembering to carry sufficient change to make a call from a public pay phone, have been replaced with online options and personal devices.

With administrators’ attention drawn from one crisis to the next at a time where the daily mantra in many districts has become “do more with less,” it’s understandable that keeping up with technological advances might not be a top priority. But make no mistake: Those technology innovations are transforming past practices in K-12 education just as surely as public pay phones have vanished.

To help school board members and district leaders keep abreast of emerging ideas, NSBA’s Technology Leadership Network (TLN) created the Technology Innovation Showcase in 2013.

Please click here to continue reading.