More than 600 professionals from across the globe met in Austin, TX during the third annual SXSWEdu conference, a summit where educators explored the intersection of teaching and technology and discussed how these advances will shape the future of student-teacher interaction.

Through topics ranging from how modern devices are used in the classroom and active learning environments to strategic student data usage and social media use, several clear trends emerged that will forever change how educators interact with and create teaching strategies for their students.

  • Modern technology has forever changed the educational landscape. The incorporation of smart boards, smartphones and tablets, social media, “big data,” gamification and massive open online courses (MOOCS) have launched the largest revolution in education since the introduction of the chalkboard hundreds of years ago, changing the way students learn and interact with each other and instructors. These new tools will continue to be adopted within learning environments and reshape learning in and outside of the classroom.
  • The interactive classroom will replace traditional sedentary learning. Learning through doing will be adopted into more and more classrooms as mobile technologies are used as educational devices. Games, interactive play and digital content creation have been proven to more effectively teach digitally native students and enhance their learning and knowledge retention. As younger students get more access to such devices, we can expect students of all abilities to improve cognition by blending traditional classroom lessons with learning apps and games.
  • New use of individual student data will reshape one-to-one education. Educators can now use student data to reshape their teaching strategies on an individual basis. Logging test scores alone as a performance indicator will be enhanced by daily and weekly cataloging of a student’s ability to solve problems, arming teachers will the ability to see in real time how individuals are absorbing material and allowing them to adjust instruction techniques to meet classroom and student needs.
  • Social media policies aren’t just for employees. The prevalence of social media as the new water cooler extends to student populations, with a growing need for students to understand the importance of etiquette, safety and prevention of cyber-bullying in online spaces. From personal branding, to understanding the long term effects of sharing personal information and photos online, teachers and administrators are following leadership from the Department of Education and NYC Schools in developing practical policies that work for their districts.

While the use of mobile technology is fairly new within the education space, we can expect the future classroom will be a completely different experience than that of past generations. Now, with more access to learning tools and instruction strategies proven to be effective, educators must adapt their classrooms to best engage students and enhance their overall learning experience.

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