A new year has arrived, and it is time to prognosticate! For your sake and mine, I’m going to refrain from making the obvious puns about vision and 2020, and indeed I fear that even this sentence has gone too far. Instead I’m going to draw on the full spectrum of my 2019 edtech experience to make a few hopefully sound bets about what’s up next. Here’s what I think will happen in 2020, education technology-wise, from the perspective of your friendly neighborhood educational game developer:
Civics Education Will Continue to Explode with Relevance
It is a simply fascinating time to be alive if you’re a fan of civics and democratic processes. Our civic system of governance is being put through tremendous stress tests on a daily basis lately, and the complexities of our domestic political situation are driving a tremendous amount of political curiosity. Our friends at iCivics.org continue to field this curiosity, seeing robust engagement with their content which has been going strong since 2016, oddly enough. As we enter this election year, we can expect this interest to grow, perhaps exponentially. Fortunately, we’ve recently released an updated version of iCivics’ seminal Win the White House, replete with Spanish language support, so if you or someone you know wants to brush up on the ins and outs of presidential campaigns, you can check it out here.
The Robots are Throwing a Money Party
Robots are blazing a trail of cash through the edtech space, with acquisitions, BEEG funding rounds, and uh, even more acquisitions. Of particular interest is Sphero’s acquisition of littleBits – per edsurge: “When Sphero laid off 45 employees in early 2018, the Boulder, Co.-based company explained the difficult decision as an effort to return its focus to the education market after a foray into creating consumer toys.” That’s right – they’re leaving the world of consumer toys and joining us and the rest of the cool kids in the education market. Nice to see you again Sphero friends! I expect more of these industry shake-ups in the next year as the gospel of robotics and project-based learning continues to spread throughout the land. It’s also shaping up to be a seminal year for digital robotics, with upcoming PC/VR killer app RoboCo slated for likely release in 2020. Be a part of history and wishlist it on Steam today!
We Still Need to Figure Out This Internet Thing
The phrase “FAKE NEWS” has become sort of a punchline at this point, and yet fake news remains (somewhat counterintuitively) very real. Correspondingly, building student media literacy in our brave new world of platforms and avatars and updoots is a vital, existential generational project that educators need to consider with solemnity. It’s not just about fake news either – civility, cyberbullying, privacy, anonymity, confirmation bias, and security are all serious issues to which students need considered, guided exposure. As Jonathan Swift said waaay back in 1710, “Falsehood flies, and the Truth comes limping after it.” Translation: media-driven misinformation is a centuries-old phenomenon, and it’s never been as potent as it is today. If you’re looking for examples of classroom content that builds digital literacy and citizenship, check out iCivics’s Newsfeed Defenders, or this selection of digital media literacy activities from Terry Heick and teachthought.com.