Chapter 2..............Understanding Educational Technology Issues and Trends


Key Topics

History and Trends.........

Technology and Teachers..........

Technology and Students.................

Apps for Teaching and Learning.................

TED Talks

3D printed spinosaurus skull
3D printed spinosaurus skull


Screen Shot 2016-04-13 at 3.13.34 PM.pngHistory and Trends


From Apple II to Touchcast, the Evolution of Computers in the Classroom from The Washington Post identifies significant milestones in the development of educational technology (May 19, 2014).

The Evolution of Learning Technologies from Open Colleges traces technology from ancient hieroglyphics to 3D printers.


Top 10 Educational Technologies That Will Be Dead and Gone in the Next Decade, Campus Technology (November 2, 2016)

See Trailer for Screenagers: Growing Up in the Digital Age, a documentary on the impact of screen technology on today's kids.


For more information on Trends, see:
  • Chapter 12 on this wiki for the latest on one-to-one iPad and tablet computer programs in schools and flipped classroom initiatives.

For more information on History, see
Argonne's First Computer, 1953
Argonne's First Computer, 1953



Record Shares of Americans Now Own Smartphones, Have Home Broadband. Pew Research Center, January 12, 2017


NMC/CoSN Horizon Report; 2016 K-12 Edition

  • Short-Term Trends (1 to 2 years)
    • Coding as a Literacy
    • Students as Creators
  • Mid-Term Trends (3 to 5 years)
    • Collaborative Learning
    • Deeper Learning
  • Long-Term Trends (5 years or more)
    • Redesigning Learning Spaces
    • Rethinking How Schools Work


Opportunity for All? Technology and Learning in Lower-Income Families, Joan Ganz Cooney Center, February 2016

Broadband Adoption Rates and Gaps in U.S. Metropolitan Areas, Brookings (December 7, 2015)

One-Third of U.S. Students Use School-Issued Devices (April 8, 2014)
  • For more, see The New Digital Learning Playbook from Project Tomorrow (April 2014).
  • 89 percent of high school students (grades 9–12) and 73 percent of middle school students (grades 6–8) have access to smart phones. Another 66 percent in both groups have access to laptops.
  • Sixty-one percent of middle schoolers and 50 percent of high schoolers have access to tablets.
  • 48 percent of middle schoolers and 39 percent of high schoolers have access to digital readers.
  • Click here for an digital learning infographic

Digital Life in 2025 from Pew Research Center (March 11, 2014).

The Web at 25 in the U.S. from the Pew Research Internet Project (February 27, 2014)

Screen Shot 2016-01-04 at 11.33.19 AM.pngFor an overview of historical trends, see the video, Kevin Kelly Tells Technology's Epic Story at TEDX, Amsterdam, February 2010

Screen Shot 2016-01-04 at 11.30.11 AM.pngHistory, the History of Computers, and the History of Computers in Education is a timeline from Professor Everett Murdock, California State University, Long Beach.

See Social Media Counts, an app that records real-time use of different media including Facebook, Twitter and other sites.

Technology and Teachers


Most U.S. K-12 Teachers Would Not Give Themselves an A in Ed Tech Skills, THE Journal (September 8, 2016)

Are Teachers of Tomorrow Prepared to Use Innovative Tech?

Photo on Wikimedia Commons by David Shankbone.
Photo on Wikimedia Commons by David Shankbone.


Technology Use and Young Children

The Complete Visual Guide to Technology for Children, Edudemic, October 2013.

NAEYC recommends allowing "children to explore digital materials in the context of human interactions, with an adult as mediator and co-player."





Technology Use in Schools

Students, Computers and Learning: Making the Connection, a report from the OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) (September 2015)
  • This OECD worldwide study finds students who use computers frequently in school do worse in learning
    • Same study finds students who use computers moderately do somewhat better in learning
      • Importance of task-oriented browsing as a learning strategy
        • Need for intensive teacher/student interactions to build deep conceptual thinking
          • Cannot use 21st century technologies with 20th century traditional teaching practices

The World in 2013: ICT Facts and Figures from the International Telecommunications Union, a United Nations-sponsored organization.

external image Reports.gifLearn Now, Lecture Later, a 2012 report from CDW-Government found that nearly half (47%) of more than 1000 college and high school teachers are replacing lecture-only instructional methods with more student-centered approaches, particularly those involving technology. Very satisfied students reported that they listen to fewer lectures and use more technology in their classes.

Report: District Use of Social Networks Up 44 Percent Over 2 Yearsaccording to a Digital School Districts Survey from the National School Boards Association (April 2013).

  • Nearly all respondents, at 94 percent, reported that their district allows teachers to use Web 2.0 tools, up from 82 percent two years ago.

Learning in the 21st Century: Digital Experiences and Expectations of Tomorrow's Teachers, from Project Tomorrow (February 2013).

50 Education Technology Tools Every Teacher Should Know About from Edudemic (2012).

In Schools of the Future, Students Learn Best by Doing, Vigorously and Digitally.by Jonathan Martin, Connected Principals Blog, September 2, 2010.

Youth, Privacy and Reputation, a literature review on youth practices online from the Digital Natives Blog of the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University.

Finding the Education in Educational Technology with Early Learners. Lilla Dale-McManis & Susan B. Gunnewig. Young Children, 67(3), 14-24. May 2012. The authors believe that educational technology does produce positive learning impacts for children when three conditions are met:
  • it is developmentally appropriate
  • there are tools to help teachers use the technology successfully
  • technology is integrated into the classroom and curriculum

7 Things You Should Know About . . . Learning Technology Topics from Educause provides a link to several years of briefs about the latest digital tools.

Technology and Students


external image ZSpace_200_with_students.jpg

Everything in Moderation: Moderate Use of Screens Unassociated with Child Behavior Problems, Psychiatric Quarterly (February 2017)

Opportunity for All? Technology and Learning in Lower-Income Families. (February 2016)

Use of Digital Tools Rises, But STEM Gender Gap Persists, Survey Finds (April 2014)

The New Digital Learning Playbook: Understanding the Spectrum of Students' Activities and Aspirations from Project Tomorrow

10 Things to Know About How Teens Use Technology from Pew Internet & American Life Project (July 2013).

Generation Z: A Look at the Technology and Media Habits of Today's Teens (March 18, 2013). Generation Z commonly refers to the group of youngsters born after 2000.

Student Engagement Nosedives in High School, from U.S. News & World Report, January 2013.

Facing the Screen Dilemna: Young Children, Technology and Early Education from the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood (August 2013).
  • On any given day, 64% of babies between 1 and 2 watch TV and videos for an average of slightly over 2 hours.
  • Preschoolers spend on average with screen media range from at least 2.2 hours to as much as 4.6 hours per day.
  • No research showing the benefits of introducing children to new technologies in the first years of life.

Younger Americans' Library Habits and Expectations, June, 25 2013 from the Pew Research Center concludes that those ages 16-29 have "wide-ranging media and technology behaviors that straddle the traditional paper-based world of books and digital access to information"

From Chalkboard to Tablets: The Emergence of the K-12 Digital Learner from Project Tomorrow (June 2013).
  • 73 percent of high school seniors saying they have a laptop, while only 18 percent of the Class of 2013 say they are allowed to use their personal laptop at school
external image CellPhone.png
external image Reports.gifTeens and Technology, 2013 presents the latest trends from the Pew Internet & American Life Project.
  • 95% of teens use the Internet
  • 78% have a cell phone
  • 23% have a tablet computer
  • 93% have computer access at home

external image Reports.gifDo Schools Challenge Our Students? What Student Surveys Tell Us About the State of Education in the United States from the Center for American Progress, July 2012.
  • Many schools are not challenging students and large percentages of students report that their school work is "too easy."
  • Many students are not engaged in rigorous learning activities.
  • Students do not have access to key science and technology learning opportunities.
  • Too many students do not understand their teacher's questions and report they are not learning during class.
  • Students from disadvantaged backgrounds are less likely to have access to more rigorous learning opportunities.

Revisualizing Composition: Mapping the Writing Lives of First-Year College Students, September 2010.

5 Things Students Say They Want from Education, eSchoolNews, July 28, 2011
  • Interactive Technology
  • Teacher Mentors
  • Innovation
  • Choice
  • Real-world application and relevancy

external image Red_apple.jpgClick here for a lesson plan on establishing your Digital DNA (or Digital Footprint)



When Project Tomorrow asked students around the nation in its Speak Up survey (2009), here how they replied:
Communications tools
60 percent
Digital media tools
60 percent
Games and simulations
60 percent
Online textbooks
57 percent
Mobile computer for every student
57 percent
Interactive whiteboards
53 percent
Collaboration tools
51 percent
Digital resources
51 percent
Mobile devices
51 percent
Tools to organize school work
49 percent
Campus-wide Internet
49 percent
Online courses
48 percent


Tech Tool. 2.1 Apps for Teaching and Learning

App is short for “application,” a software program that runs on smartphones and computers.

Apps offer exciting ways to engage students and inform teachers. Apps fit well with classroom or field-based learning activities where teachers and students can be readily connected to online information sources (Educause Learning Initiative, 2010, May). When questions arise in class or in outside of school conversation, answers are available by using one’s phone to access an app for that topic. There free or very inexpensive apps for every academic subject, such as the following wide-ranging topics:
  • How Stuff Works with information about thousands of everyday life topics. Choose a topic, read an article, take a quiz, watch a video, and follow web links to learn more.
  • Poetry from the Poetry Foundation lets a user hit a spin button to access poems written about every topic from happiness and joy to sadness and grief.
  • The FDR Years presents thousands of online, copyright free photographs from the collection of the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library.
  • Molecules gives three-dimensional views of molecules which can also be moved in and out and across the screen using two-finger pinch and swipe gestures.

Apps on iPads and other tablet computers are different from those on phones or laptop machines, offering “visual content that is more interactive . . . while allowing navigation with taps, finger swipes, and pinch zones” (Educause Learning Initiative, 2011, February).

  • Motion Math, an elementary school math app, opens with a bouncing ball that lands on a line that goes across the bottom of the screen. The line is subdivided into different types of fractions. In order to score points, a player must physically move the iPad side-to-side and up-and-down to get the ball to land on the spot on the line that matches the designated fraction. Fraction types are simple to begin, but become more complex as a player advances from level to level.
  • Mathboard for ipad generates multiple choice math questions for students to answer using addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, squares, cubes and square roots. The screen expands so youngsters can use their finger as a pencil to work out the problems as if they were using paper.

Finding the best educational apps can be a challenge.
I Education Apps Review features reviews, written by educators for educators.
APPitic has reviews by Apple Distinguished Educators and the Mac App Store has thousands and thousands of choices.
The New York Times offers a yearly list of its top apps (for both iPad and Android systems) and its “Guide to Mobile Apps” provides a collection of all app coverage that has appeared in the Times.
The blogging community has the Cybil Awards, including Book Apps honoring the best children’s and young adult books in electronic formats.
You can search online for “best educational apps” to find many interesting product reviews for the apps you are thinking about using with students.
Teach with Your iPad is an informative wiki that lists apps for all grade levels and subjects.


TED Talks


external image TED_wordmark.svg


TED Talks offer fascinating and informative presentations on cutting-edge ideas about technology and learning.