The world of educational technology can be overwhelming. There are so many examples of emergent technology for educators to review, begging the question: Which tools are worth our time?
Many reading this blog are tech coaches, geeky teachers, and/or instructional technologists looking to stay ahead of the game. In any of these roles it is important for us to think of our station as that of an edtech champion. That is, someone who is known as a credible expert in edtech with a track record of planning and developing edtech roll-out through instructional application, providing PD, and/or purchasing the tech. We use our networking skills to effectively and efficiently recommend the latest and greatest as they are relevant to our instructional context. While many of us embrace our chosen path, we are constantly concerned with our time, effort, and advocacy being well spent. The challenge is on us to stay on top of emergent technologies as they relate to education.
PROBLEM: While many of us embrace our chosen path, we are constantly concerned with our time, effort, and advocacy being well spent. The challenge is on us to stay on top of emergent technologies as they relate to education.
SOLUTION: One important method of exploring emergent technology is to focus on what is, and what is going to be, relevant for our students. I have found help through exploring the Gartner Hyper Cycle for Emerging Technologies, which is released every year to describe the business potential of new technology.
I know, I know: it’s riddled with non-education speak, but understanding what’s going on here can really help us out… bear with me.
The x-axis of the cycle describes time-related concepts which need further elaboration…
Technology Trigger: A potential technology breakthrough kicks things off. Early proof-of-concept stories and media interest trigger significant publicity. Often no usable products exist and commercial viability is unproven.
Peak of Inflated Expectations: Early publicity produces a number of success stories—often accompanied by scores of failures.
Trough of Disillusionment: Interest wanes as experiments and implementations fail to deliver. Producers of the technology shake out or fail. Investment continues only if the surviving providers improve their products to the satisfaction of early adopters.
Slope of Enlightenment: More instances of how the technology can benefit the enterprise start to crystallize and become more widely understood. Second- and third-generation products appear from technology providers. More enterprises fund pilots; conservative companies remain cautious.
Plateau of Productivity: Mainstream adoption starts to take off.
In short, this is how the tech world thinks about investing lots of money in the next big thing. Maybe we in education should listen for the inside scoop.
Check out what Mike J. Walker, Gartner Research Director says about their latest findings:
“Organizations will continue to be faced with rapidly accelerating technology innovation that will profoundly impact the way they deal with their workforces, customers, and partners…”
Two things to focus on here:
1. In education it is our job to prepare students for this rapidly, accelerating world. We have to be prepared to rapidly adapt with the relevant workforce changes.
2. We could easily change a few words for educational-synonyms and have a pretty direct correlataion to our educational world.
That being said, the 2017 Hyper Cycle points to three trends AI Everywhere, Transparently Immersive Experiences, and Digital Platforms.
Fortunately for us, Gartner also has an educational interpretation of their findings, from which I have created the following (modest) Hype Cycle:
I know, I know: why didn’t you just lead off with this?!?!? Context, it’s super important!
These findings reveal educational applications that are not unfamiliar to us in education, rather, these findings should confirm our current efforts and bolster our drive. The afore mentioned educational findings delve more topics, but off the top, these areas are where it’s at.
I hope this helps in your efforts to hold up the edtech mantle and lead the charge!