Game-based learning (particularly the digital variety) depends on the health of the EdTech industry, rising and falling with the adoption of hardware and the evolution of education policy. So as another year unfurls before us, we’re peering into our fila-palantir to see what 2018 will bring to EdTech. Check out our predictions below and be sure to come back at the end of the year to celebrate or jeer in the comments, depending on how accurate these are:
VR 2.0 Have you heard about VR? We may have mentioned it once or twice. There’s been a lot of hand-wringing lately about the commercial viability of VR, but the only thing we’re wringing at Filament is tremendous learning value out of this exciting new medium. That’s because for one thing, we’re highly confident that VR changes learning and offers new modalities for content consumption and experiential education. But there’s another reason - we’re keeping a close watch on the industry, and it seems extremely likely that 2018 is the year that VR stands up on it’s own. No more tethers, no more wires, no more phones, no more nuclear-powered PC to run it all. The Oculus Go, out in early 2018, is one such device, and is positioned to compete with Samsung’s Gear VR in terms of fidelity, with the advantage of being standalone.
Microsoft, a new entrant into the space, has released a series of standalone “mixed reality” headsets with partners like Dell, Asus, and HP, using HoloLens technology to map the playspace using inside-out tracking. As these new competitors refine their offerings, the VR space will benefit from greater variety across the spectrums of price point and fidelity. Here’s hoping we see more consumer adoption as a result!
Personalized Learning, For Real Personalized learning is not exactly a new buzzword in 2017 - I’ve personally been seeing that term for about a decade now in EdTech press. If you’re unfamiliar, what this phrase references is the idea that each learner needs a learning experience that is personal to their own needs, competencies, learning styles, and other characteristics. In spirit, it’s an effort to broaden access to the type of personally tailored, high-quality education usually reserved to the very privileged. Richard Culatta, CEO at ISTE, unpacked this concept in an interview with The74 in 2017, and it’s a great overview of the topic. The reason I’m calling this as a major development for next year is that the philanthropic powerhouse Chan Zuckerberg Initiative has targeted personalized learning as a top priority for 2018. This suggests that their expansive funding and promotional activities will align to supporting personalized learning in educational environments across the country.