2023 Outlook

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Wishes and Worries for 2023: What Ed Tech Leaders Are Thinking About

During the final weeks of 2022, THE Journal asked scores of ed tech leaders about their wishes and worries for 2023. Cybersecurity and teacher resources were the most common topics addressed in the responses — many of which include specific ideas for new policies and practices for K–12 education in the United States. Following are the two questions we posed and the responses.

THE Journal: If you could wish for any single thing to happen in 2023 — policy, funding, law, popular opinion, anything impacting K–12 ed tech providers, users, or outcomes — what would that be, and why?

“Wish list: That all states follow North Dakota’s lead in teaching cybersecurity to students in grades K–12. Wish list item 2: that the Federal Communications Commission E-Rate Program which provides discounts for school internet connections significantly increase network security including but not limited to advanced firewalls as advocated by Microsoft and Cisco.”

— Harris Freier, data privacy attorney and partner, Genova Burns

“If I could wish for one thing to happen in 2023 to improve student privacy, it would be increased funding for dedicated personnel at the state and local levels. In my prior role as the Chief Privacy Officer at the Utah State Board of Education, I saw firsthand the impact funding full-time privacy personnel at the state level can have on providing support to schools and districts in the form of providing model policies and training, monitoring compliance, and investigating complaints.”

— David Sallay, Director of Youth & Education Privacy, Future of Privacy Forum

“I would like to see federal policies put in place to establish guidelines and support for school districts to implement strong digital identity controls, including third-party access controls. … Implementing automated third-party access controls as part of a larger digital identity program in 2023 will be key for reducing strain on already limited school resources.”

— Joel Burleson-Davis, SVP of Worldwide Engineering, Cyber, Imprivata (formerly SecureLink)

“Unfortunately, the cybersecurity issues and needs across the K–12 sector is so multifaceted, that there isn’t a one-silver-bullet wish. I suspect that many would likely ask for the expected: more funding, more training, E-rate consideration, more understanding of the needs by administration and boards. But for me, I think my wish is a cohesive overall national plan, with sustainable solutions. Although tossing temporary funding at K–12 helps in the short-term, there is no long-term sustainable plan for implementation, funding or management. For example, if we put product funding aside, because the ‘wish fairy’ came tonight and gave K–12 all of the current and future products it needed. How would the vast majority of K–12 agencies have the sustainable resources and ability to manage them? We can do better.”

— John Wargo, MS-ISAC Executive Committee Member, Center for Internet Security

"I hope districts finally get the funding and support they need to improve cybersecurity. Many people are advocating for updating the E-rate program to include more advanced and contemporary cybersecurity technologies. The funding vehicle portion of E-rate's cybersecurity is woefully outdated. But I see this E-rate step as a bare minimum. What I'd really like to see is a significant change in policy that takes the education sector seriously as critical infrastructure. The cyber incidents taking place across the country should not be taken so lightly. There is a tendency to view cyber attacks as being contained to the digital world with little to no impact on real lives. But this touches so many facets of our education system, including issues of safety, learning equity, and nutrition. When schools have to close fo ra day or more (due to a cyber incident), when building security systems are being infiltrated, these have real consequences for the physical safety of our children and the people committed to teaching and nurturing them every day."

— Charlie Sander, CEO, ManagedMethods

“The last few years have accelerated the digitization of education. Yet schools’ cybersecurity capabilities are not keeping up with the risks of this digital transformation. I would like to see policy makers modernize some of their language on IT security and provide resources that would help education organizations keep up with risks. In parallel, I think that both industry and governments need to keep investing in Cybersecurity talent programs in high schools and colleges to help address the risks across public and private sectors.”

— Paige Johnson, VP Education Marketing, Microsoft

“At one time my Hulu, Netflix, and Disney+ accounts were all separate platforms with separate login portals. … The proliferation of ed tech resources in the nation’s classrooms has led to just such an issue. With so much ed tech at their fingertips, educators are overwhelmed with them. My wish is that ed tech providers offer educators more “platform solutions” that centrally locate services in one place, improve interoperability, and most importantly, better support teachers and students. Just like having all your favorite entertainment resources available through a single sign-on solution, putting all the things teachers and students need to support instruction in one place helps ensure these resources will provide value and return-on-investment.”

— Scott Kinney, CEO, Discovery Education

“At Google, we believe that no matter the background, everyone deserves access to great learning experiences. And for students, so much of learning comes down to the teacher. In the second installment of our Education Trends Report: Evolving How We Teach and Learn, we delve into the ever-changing role of an educator. Our research suggests that the role of teachers is shifting from “gatekeepers of knowledge” to “choreographers of learning,” and it’s essential that the right structures and supports are in place to ensure teachers can thrive and that the field continues to grow. As we head into 2023, one of our many wishes is that teachers are given the tools, time and respect that they need and deserve, so that they can continue to guide, grow and inspire their students.”

— Jennie Magiera, Global Head of Education Impact, Google for Education

“My wish is that teachers get the classroom-level support they deserve in the year ahead. All eyes are on academic recovery for students, as they should be. But we cannot make progress without ensuring that educators, who know their students best, are at the center of those efforts. Rather than asking educators to “do more,” we have to offer them real support — in the form of trained professionals and better technology. If we value our students, we’ll start with our educators. We need to bring optimism and a growth mindset to the real work ahead and avoid finger-pointing and any agenda not rooted in helping our children maximize their potential.”

— Anthony Salcito, Chief Institution Business Officer at Nerdy, parent company of Varsity Tutors

“Given the number of teacher shortages schools are facing, I think it is important that we utilize our valuable teaching resources in a more centralized way. My wish is for there to be a nationwide policy on teacher certification and reciprocity, so teachers certified in any state could teach (and be considered certified) in any other state. This reciprocity would improve efficiency as certifications in multiple states would no longer be needed, and our teaching pool would be expanded. Now more than ever, our students need equitable access to qualified, certified teachers across a variety of disciplines, and creative solutions that utilize our teaching resources in new ways should be encouraged.”

— Carol DeFuria, President & CEO, VHS Learning

“If I could wave a wand, my first spell would grant teachers the respect that they deserve from the general public. In my experience, most teachers feel an innate passion for helping students develop a love of learning and a commitment to preparing the next generation of productive citizens. Without support from their communities, colleagues, and administrators, this ‘calling’ becomes an uphill battle that benefits no one.”

— Sari Factor, Vice Chair & Chief Strategy Officer, Imagine Learning

“My wish is for education technology to play an essential role in creating a more diverse and representative nationwide teacher pipeline. There are many barriers that prospective teachers face keeping them out of the classroom, with teacher certification exams being a common obstacle. This testing barrier disproportionately affects people of color. ... ed tech companies can address any potential testing bias by building technology to detect culturally biased references in teaching certification exam content so that we can not only just expand a quality teacher workforce but create a diverse one. Or ed tech providers can partner with states and districts to provide tools and resources for aspiring educators.”

— Dana Bryson, SVP of Social Impact, Study.com

“If I could wish for one single thing to happen in 2023 it would be to keep teachers from leaving this remarkable and noble profession. It will take the best minds in our communities to solve this crisis in teaching. Collaboration between businesses and legislators, educators, parents and communities, universities and nonprofits is critical. It’s also time to ask new questions: what can state and federal legislators do to increase funding for teacher salaries beyond the three years of ESSER recovery funds? What can be done to increase the number of qualified people selecting the education field as a career option and how can we streamline the teacher certification process across state lines? If we want the best and the brightest people to choose teaching as a career, then we have to create a new vision for teaching with matching compensation. Teachers have an awesome responsibility. They deserve the best support we can offer them as a wider community of legislators, education leaders, parents, businesses, and nonprofit organizations coming together for a common and critical cause.”

— Nick Gaehde, President, Lexia Learning

“I hope the education industry as a whole can continue to drive added awareness around student mental health and the urgent need for added support. A key component to addressing the worsening student mental health crisis is working to destigmatize mental health issues and the idea of asking for help. This is especially critical for historically marginalized populations, who have higher rates of suicide and are less likely to seek support. In an ideal world, all schools would have adequate numbers of counselors and mental health professionals, but in the meantime, it is my hope that parents, educators, and community members can band together to educate students about symptoms of a mental illness and encourage them to seek help. Students don’t need to suffer in silence.”

— Tracy Clements, K–12 Student Safety Subject Matter Expert, GoGuardian

“My wish for 2023 is a directed, national conversation focused on improving reading outcomes for our nation’s youth. I would like to see thought leaders, policymakers, ed tech innovators, Tim Cook, McKenzie Scott, and anyone with a voice and influence in education to champion the cause of children’s literacy; to identify it as the most important problem we must solve for our students, and to recognize that children’s literacy is the most sustainable investment we can make. If a child can read, they can STEM, they can code, learn and grow. This attention would inspire innovation in the ed tech space, and it would change the lives of generations of learners.”

— Alicia Levi, CEO, Reading Is Fundamental

“My wish is to see more community-based tutoring programs launched around the country. By leveraging community resources, districts’ tutoring programs can do more than close achievement gaps. Districts can bolster their teacher pipelines by partnering with local universities; they can build a comprehensive data system with research partners to gain a full understanding of the effectiveness of their high-impact tutoring program; and can develop a quality training program for tutors, matching their students’ unique strengths and needs to the specific skill sets of the instructors.”

— John Failla, Founder and CEO, Pearl

“I would wish for popular opinion to change around the need for more student-centered learning and progressive pedagogies. So much of the ed tech products and curriculum and PD resources out there are still using pretty traditional, teacher-centered approaches, and this is very hard to change until parents, teachers, schools, and districts start demanding more! If our educational beliefs and teaching models could shift more quickly, this would have an impact on student outcomes, equity, college and career readiness, etc. Education is a complex ecosystem and if all stakeholders could become more aligned on the types of teaching that matter, it would have cascading positive effects.”

— Louisa Rosenheck, Director of Pedagogy, Kahoot

“I wish for the disappearance of (un)conscious bias that is perpetuating the talent shortage. I wish for all kids, regardless of gender identification, to know they are brilliant. I want to ensure they have exposure to all the careers that are out there and aren’t pigeon-holed into a belief that because of their gender or socio-economic background, they are ‘supposed’ to do a certain thing. I want them to choose what they are good at, what their amazing brains will thrive doing, and not take into any consideration what their parents did, what others of their background, their gender, their race ‘usually’ do — that all of those biases disappear, and students pursue a career based on their potential rather than their past.”

— Jeri Larsen, Chief Operating Officer, YouScience

“I hope that 2023 becomes the ‘year of evidence’ in ed tech and that all program providers redouble their commitments to create and publish efficacy studies that measure and validate learning outcomes. The 2022 Nation’s Report Card underscored the pernicious and deeply urgent issue of unfinished learning in this country. Ed tech programs that make the right investments in research and development, and that have the efficacy studies to prove they work for all students, will have a huge advantage in 2023 as educators continue to grapple with achievement gaps. In 2023, as more ESSER funds are deployed, we’ll continue to see school and district administrators rapidly spend those dollars on programs that have the efficacy evidence the government requires to unlock these funds. As a result, my hope for 2023 is that research and evidence become table stakes for success in the ed tech market.”

— Sunil Gunderia, Chief Innovation Officer, Head of Mastery & Adaptive Products, Age of Learning

“My first wish would be for all students, regardless of where they live, to have access to a personal learning device and high speed internet connectivity that allows them to stay connected to a great teacher and high quality instructional materials. If I get a second wish, I would wish for people to move beyond the problems that many educators and students faced with remote learning and education technology during the pandemic so we can embrace what was actually learned about the effective use of technology (because we learned a lot!) and appreciate the opportunities to leverage ed tech to address the persistent challenges in K–12 education. Imagine how much worse things could have been if states and districts had not been making investments in ed tech in the years leading up to the pandemic, and if those tools that connected educators to students and families weren’t available. “

— Julia Fallon, Executive Director, State Education Technology Directors Association (SETDA)

“My hope for 2023 is that ed tech can narrow access barriers that students face. When students have access to the tools and tech that work for them, they can learn not only with technology, but about it, too. Ed tech provides unique opportunities to personalize and democratize learning, and by building tech fluency in all students, we ensure that they are each prepared to be successful in classrooms today, and in the world of tomorrow.”

— Jeff Lowe, Chief Commercial Officer, SMART Technologies

“My one wish for 2023 is that ed tech — especially AI-driven ed tech — get serious about equity. There are a lot of well-meaning conversations around the promise of technology to level the playing field for children. But take a broader view of our sector, and you’ll see it's falling short. Mitigating bias in K–12 education tools requires a diversity-focused, kid-centered approach from the outset. And it requires everyone to collaborate, from developers and product people to executives and investors, to ensure intentionality in how tools are designed and tested.”

— Martyn Farrows, CEO, Soapbox Labs

“I would like to see education leaders rethink their educational priorities and messaging to students and families (related to career and technical education). Contrary to popular belief, the U.S. manufacturing industry is actually growing: Manufacturing output surged to a 37-year high last year. But as manufacturing processes have become more automated, companies today need highly skilled workers who can operate, install, and maintain robots and machines, and also solve problems on the shop floor in real time. By 2030, the U.S. will need an estimated 2.1 million more manufacturing employees. These are skilled, high-paying jobs. Industry 4.0 is rapidly transforming key workforce needs and the skills that are required for success. Educational leaders must recognize these changes and work with local industry partners to redesign CTE curricula to align with these developments and with industry needs more effectively.”

— Graham Celine, Vice President of Business Development and Marketing, Intelitek

“I would love to see 2023 be the year that we see federal guidance and funding for schools to provide mental health counseling for all students. This past year we have recognized the severity of student mental health needs and schools are committed to addressing it, yet the lack of a clear structure has been paralyzing for districts taking the first steps to build necessary programs to meet student needs.”

— Kate Eberle Walker, CEO, Presence 

“If I could wish for any single thing to happen in education for 2023 it would be support for teachers. This support could take the form of increased prep, supplies, classroom assistance, or adequate pay. We will continue to lose teachers if they are not supported and compensated for the high stress role that they have.”

— Michele Dick, education specialist, Wacom

“In 2023, I wish all learners – of any race, gender identity, economic status, physical disability, or sexual orientation – will get access to learning products that they can fully engage in, see themselves within, and that will lead them to the very best learning outcomes.”

— Adam Chace, CTO, Curriculum Associates

"This coming year, I hope that every teacher in every classroom is able to receive high-quality, personalized professional development – whether that is from an in-person coach, technology-driven coaching, or a combination of both. While there is no doubt that district leaders, coaches, and teachers are all stretched thin — and their time will continue to be limited in 2023 — it is important that PD remains a priority."

Adam Geller, founder and CEO, Edthena

“I wish that students rewarded for hands-on learning together becomes a driving force in education – from policymakers to teachers. This will help engage all students and counter learning loss, as well as build civic engagement, which is important coming out of COVID.”

Mike Schloff, CEO, Maplewoodshop

“I hope the time of standardized examination and the learning outcomes measured against this is soon going to end. Acquiring knowledge in the form of theory is not going to make anyone’s life more meaningful, nor does it make any sense with the science of learning. Doing away with this would make way for more experimentation, free teachers from dull duties and make room for an engaging STEAM-supported classroom and home-based learning.”

Karol Górnowicz, CEO, Skriware

“If I had one wish for 2023 it would be for schools to begin focusing more on student production of digital content and resources similar to the days of hands-on practical arts classes. I would wish for schools to leverage the free tools students are already using in their free time to unleash students’ interest and creativity to create, while also providing scaffolding and acceptable boundaries for the students and their creations in the new digital ecosystem. We need to think about what do the students WANT to do, and what do they already know HOW to do, but lack the necessary skills and context with which to truly succeed in the new medium of their digital world.”

Chris Klein, Head of Education, USA, Avantis Education

“I'd wish for more folks to recognize the importance of digital, online solutions for ease of use, accessibility, equity, data security, and privacy, especially when it comes to student records and registration processes. There is a perception that paper-based processes are better or more secure. That perception puts student data at risk and makes district processes less accessible for the students and families who need them the most.”

— Marshall Simmonds, VP of Sales, Scribbles Software

“I would wish for ed tech to be embedded in what we teach as well as the way we teach rather than being seen as a stand-alone approach. I also wish for developers, providers and users to move beyond gamification, and become more creative in solving the world's problems. I am not stating to eliminate gaming, instead I wish for PreK–12 ed techies to step it up and advocate for new products, new ideas, new realms of creativity and opportunity, particularly for our students who speak more than one language. Multiple languages are a gift and should be explored when designing learning activities, games and tools.”

Maria Armstrong, Executive Director, Association of Latino Administrators and Superintendents

:My wish? Simple: That students, teachers, administrators, and parents felt safe to engage in powerful, authentic learning experience through equitable access to the best technologies, guided by the best prepared teachers. We must continue to invest in educational solutions, not just the hardware and software, but also the strategies and methodologies that will promote a high level of adoption leading to meaningful change in our schools.”

Micah Shippee, Director of Education Technology Consulting and Solutions, Samsung

THEJournal: What is one thing you think could happen in 2023 that you hope does NOT happen, and why?

“If the U.S. enters a recession, school districts will slash their cybersecurity budgets leading to disastrous results.”

— Harris Freier, data privacy attorney and partner, Genova Burns

“Testing and assessments are likely to continue to measure progress against a very narrow set of criteria, which as it stands, is widely believed to create a limited snapshot of students’ abilities and potential – neglecting to capture a broader picture of everything they have learned and achieved. It’s our hope (at Google for Education) that teachers, parents, exam boards, and policy-makers come together in an effort to move to new and better forms of assessments that both define and measure “what counts” in society. Getting this right is not just important for education, it's important for everyone.”

— Jennie Magiera, Global Head of Education Impact, Google for Education

“While I hope it does not happen, I think social media’s prevalence will only continue to grow and bring with it additional challenges and anxieties for students. To me, social media is not the problem, but more a symptom of our broken mental health system. Ultimately, if people were healthier, social media would grow to be a healthier and safer place as well. However, as it stands now, social media can be an added stressor for students and schools in general. Whether it is cyberbullying, TikTok challenges that cause disruption and dangerous behavior, or the risk of students interacting with people they shouldn’t be, I think protecting students online will need to be a top priority for everyone in the education industry in 2023.”

— Tracy Clements, K–12 Student Safety Subject Matter Expert, GoGuardian

“I think over-worked, under-resourced classroom teachers, spread thin by the pandemic, teacher shortages, and limited support will rely too much on self-guided technology tools to manage their workload. As we learned from the pandemic, in-class, teacher-directed instruction is invaluable, and especially for literacy skills of all levels. I hope that we find ways to better support our front-line workers in the classroom and allow them to use technology to enhance the learning experience for students — such as finding reading tools and resources on many different platforms — not replace it.”

— Alicia Levi, CEO, Reading Is Fundamental

“Added pressure on ‘what did we achieve with federal dollars’ and snap judgments on whether we ‘fixed’ learning loss or not. We are in the midst of a historic transformation to both extend the boundaries of learning beyond school/classroom and individualize instruction for all students. These are two of the most significant shifts to have ever taken place in formalized education and they come on the heels of tremendous challenges in the wake of learning loss through the pandemic. We need to elevate our focus beyond remediation and short-term gap filling and embrace the opportunity to shift mindset on the opportunity at hand. We need to recognize the failures and successes of the past year with the hope to accelE-rate how we can help meet the unique needs of all learners. I’m hopeful we can evolve from tutoring as a break-fix tool on the edge to embracing the mandate that we now can provide just-in-time support for every student while empowering educators to do more.”

— Anthony Salcito, Chief Institution Business Officer at Nerdy, parent company of Varsity Tutors

“I anticipate we will see legislation at both the federal and state level next year that addresses a lot of issues that are not directly related to student privacy, but could have an impact on it including age-appropriate design, child safety, and parental rights. My concern is if these are written so broadly so as to have unintended consequences on schools or ed tech providers. My hope is that policymakers can consider how these will work together with existing federal and state student privacy laws.”

— David Sallay, Director of Youth & Education Privacy, Future of Privacy Forum

“I think as more people choose the flexibility of working from home over face-to-face careers, we could continue to see classroom teacher shortages. I am hopeful that through the use of technology we can find ways to utilize our existing, prospective, and retired teachers in a more flexible way so that students have the support they need to prepare for college, careers, and beyond.”

— Carol DeFuria, President & CEO, VHS Learning

“I hope that we do not continue to see teachers experience burnout and the desire to leave the profession at the rates that we are now. I hope that schools and systems can implement the tools and supports that teachers need to maintain their own wellness and balance so that they can find joy in the classroom again.”

— Jeff Lowe, Chief Commercial Officer, SMART Technologies

“I hope that districts do not reduce their cybersecurity efforts because they believe they are a ‘cost sink’ rather than a cost saver. Ransomware and other cyberattacks on schools are increasing in frequency contributing to student learning loss and monetary impacts. Failing to ensure effective security positioning will lead to more funding being spent on recovery efforts — in excess of the cost of prevention — and siphoning resources away from student success.”

— Joel Burleson-Davis, SVP of Worldwide Engineering, Cyber, Imprivata (formerly SecureLink)

“I believe that more funding will likely find its way to our K–12 sector, and don’t get me wrong, that’s not a bad thing. However, what I hope doesn’t happen is that these funds are disbursed without any comprehensive national/statewide actionable and sustainable plan(s). Otherwise, I believe we are just putting a Band-Aid on the problem and we’ll continue having this discussion for years to come. Because targeted cyberattacks in K–12 will continue and certainly in the short term will likely increase. Yet, K–12 needs the same tools, resources, plans and solutions that any corporate enterprise has to protect itself. Unfortunately, many in K–12 are trying to fend off the attacks with nothing more than sticks or bows and arrows, while the threat actors have smart weapons. We can’t put the decisions in the hands of many administrators that don’t fully understand the risks. In their defense, many are educators, not CIOs. Compounding that are the overburdened and understaffed technology departments, many of whom are not experts or experienced in cybersecurity. … I believe that we all need focused plans to make a more timely impact on helping secure K–12.”

— John Wargo, MS-ISAC Executive Committee Member, Center for Internet Security

“As we move closer to a new “’normal,’ in schools, I worry that we’ll return to business as usual. We can’t lose focus on the troubling decline in literacy rates across the globe, which began pre-pandemic, and have been exacerbated by school closures. We know that whether a child reads by grade three is one of the biggest indicators of academic success. All eyes must be on this issue in 2023.”

— Martyn Farrows, CEO, Soapbox Labs

“I think one thing that could happen (but I hope it doesn’t) is that we stop investing in modernizing our K–12 school systems. We need to continue investing in professional learning for educators to effectively integrate technology into their instructional practices and into the design of learning experiences for students if we want to have a hope of addressing inequities in K–12 education.”

— Julia Fallon, Executive Director, State Education Technology Directors Association (SETDA)

“What I think could happen in 2023 that I hope does not happen is that we’ll see a sort of whiplash to the education investments we’ve been making over the last few years. Particularly if the economy does slide into a recession, I can see policymakers deciding that schools have been getting enough money, and they’ll pull funding out from under them. We’re seeing some of this already happening in the Child Tax Credit that was expanded during the pandemic. Schools are already so underfunded that any bit they can get through ESSER funding, and the American Rescue Plan was a lifeline. If we reverse course now, there will be broad consequences for our nation’s students. Specifically, from my perspective as a cybersecurity expert, if that were to happen, I see schools going back to using digital tools in unsafe ways, which makes me very nervous given what has happened over recent years. Not only would we see an increase in cyber attacks on school systems, we would also see impacts on students using online tools in unsafe ways.”

— Charlie Sander, CEO of ManagedMethods

“My biggest fear is that schools will go back to teaching in analogue modalities, and the investments made in technology won’t be fully realized for learners.”

— Paige Johnson, VP Education Marketing, Microsoft

“Something I hope does NOT come to pass in 2023 is a return to ‘school as we knew it’ pre-pandemic. The classrooms of 2019 were already nearing obsolescence and weren’t working for so many kids. I’m hopeful that school leaders will recognize the opportunity they have to reinvent their schools and classrooms to become more student-centered, sparking learners’ natural curiosity and providing equity and opportunity for every child.”

— Sari Factor, Vice Chair & Chief Strategy Officer, Imagine Learning

“I hope education stakeholders do not ignore the many lessons of COVID-era education. This period in education history will go down as a time during which we learned many hard lessons about the use of ed tech in classrooms. With the pandemic slowly receding (hopefully), schools are itching to “get back to normal” and revert to pre-pandemic educational practices. However, with the recent NAEP scores pointing to the need for an all-hands on deck approach to closing achievement gaps, I believe we need to look to the ed tech lessons we learned just a few years ago. ed tech’s successes and failures must be mined for proven solutions to this latest educational challenge.”

— Scott Kinney, CEO, Discovery Education

“This year’s NAEP scores were all at once unsurprising and devastating. Unfinished learning is not a new phenomenon, but the persistent learning gaps our country has faced for decades have certainly been exacerbated by the COVID pandemic. In 2023, we cannot afford to lose the collective urgency and national dialogue around achievement gaps that ramped up in 2022. We must keep that momentum going and find new solutions, programs, and models that will help ensure our students get on track – and stay on track – for lifelong success.”

— Sunil Gunderia, Chief Innovation Officer, Head of Mastery & Adaptive Products, Age of Learning

“I hope the teacher shortage doesn’t continue to get worse in the coming year, especially among diverse teachers in school districts. In most parts of the country, the diversity of the student population does not reflect the demographics of teachers. The wages teachers are paid do not reflect the importance of their role in society and if local governments and school boards don't step in to mandate salary changes to the profession, we will continue to see an exodus of qualified teachers of color and a shrinking pipeline. Recently, Rep. Frederica Wilson from Florida introduced the American Teacher Act, a bill that would establish a federal minimum salary of $60,000 for all public school teachers. This is a moment that requires decisive action to strengthen the beleaguered teaching profession.”

— Dana Bryson, SVP of Social Impact, Study.com

“I hope teachers don’t keep leaving the classroom because of the increased challenges of the profession these days. In order to keep that from happening though, lots needs to change in terms of teachers’ workloads, administrative support, and overall respect and appreciation!”

— Louisa Rosenheck, Director of Pedagogy, Kahoot

“We are living in the shadows of a pandemic, and those shadows have darkened the growth of many of us, including our students. That same shadow has catalyzed a complacency around our students — a ‘why bother’ attitude. I can see that complacency spreading and feeding the shadow over us all. I hope it does NOT spread, that students and parents re-engage their faith in the educational process and dive into the CTE and other classes available that will best engage them back into learning. That they will think more about learning than homework, more about curiosity than checking the box, and more about discussion than social media. That they will test theories and show their critical thinking skills in industry-focused projects. But before any of that is possible, there is healing that needs to occur before that complacency can be ignited into passion.”

— Jeri Larsen, Chief Operating Officer, YouScience

“I hope solution providers and their partners don’t become overwhelmed with efficacy. Districts are increasingly turning to the data as they make decisions on what providers to work with and what programs to bring to their schools and students, especially in the wake of ESSER funding requirements. “Research-based” and “proven successes” are essential when it comes to student learning, so providers need to be well-equipped to help districts understand and apply data and help district and school leaders understand how to apply it to practice in their unique context.”

— John Failla, Founder and CEO, Pearl

“Not helping teachers learn the science of reading. With just over one-third of the nation’s children able to read proficiently, helping teachers understand the science of reading and apply it in their classrooms can help with teacher retention. … Literacy is the cornerstone of equity not only in school but also when it comes to lifelong success, active civic participation, informed decision-making, and improved self-esteem. Investing in teachers' professional learning and classroom support can influence their decision to stay because they understand the why of what they're doing. Any present or potential disillusionment goes away, and they will feel empowered to make a difference.”

— Nick Gaehde, President, Lexia Learning

“Educational leaders do not give students a viable alternative to college by raising awareness of manufacturing as a promising career path, we will not fill new education programs in high school and community colleges. With millions of well-paying jobs available in this field over the next decade, students don’t have to choose between going to a four-year college or working in the service industry. Technology training for industrial roles has changed to CTE for Smart Factories and Industry 4.0. Schools and colleges need to process these changes and update their programs to support the transformation.”

— Graham Celine, Vice President of Business Development and Marketing, Intelitek

“The continuation of banning books from curriculum materials, school libraries and teacher classroom libraries is something that should not continue to happen in 2023. This type of censorship prevents us from showing all children that they are cared for and accepted as who they are. We want to have libraries and curriculum resources that are representative and inclusive of the students that we serve.”

Michele Dick, education specialist, Wacom

“One thing I hope does not happen is digital fatigue among students, educators, and parents leading to 'throwing out the baby with the bathwater' when it comes to blending technology and traditional learning for maximum benefit.”

Adam Chace, CTO, Curriculum Associates

“I hope that eLearning does not replace human interaction. The amount of learning online, on tablets, solo has diminished how well students work with each other. We would like to see more human interaction while learning to foster more social skills, as well as the creation of truly engaging ways to learn for all students.”

Mike Schloff, CEO, Maplewoodshop

“I hope teachers will not be perceived as redundant in mass media coverage as the result of the emergence of AI chatbots like GPT-3. There is so much value coming from a motivated educator in the classroom setting that is no match with any AI alternative. At the same time, it’s even more important to invest in teacher professional development and raise awareness about the use of AI starting in elementary education.”

— Karol Górnowicz, CEO, Skriware

“I think in 2023 and beyond, we will see a continued shortage of high-quality teachers and if this does persist, districts will need to be flexible in what they offer employees just as the business market is doing post-Covid. Education will need to look at hybrid models becoming more of a reality. School districts will need to offer employees options such as blended weeks (some in-person, some remote) in order to overcome the shortage of qualified teachers. And they will need to find other ways to leverage skilled professionals instead of closing schools and cutting back instructional time (going to four-day weeks, etc). Education technology can provide the needed tools to help ease this transition by helping to maximize investments that have already been made in infrastructure.”

Chris Klein, Head of Education, USA, Avantis Education

“Now that things are normalizing in terms of the pandemic, I hope districts don't go back to the manual processes that existed before 2020. Moving to digital systems for record-keeping and other operations wasn't a revolution; it just accelerated change that had already been well underway for many districts across the country. But not all schools have made the switch. It would be easy for the districts that haven't made this change to maintain paper-based records or continue to use bingo balls to select students for a lottery program. But right now, districts have a really good opportunity to provide services that are easier, faster, and more secure for staff and students.”

Marshall Simmonds, VP of Sales, Scribbles Software

“Cyberattacks, hacking, and fraud are at an all-time high. I hope in 2023 that we do NOT remain business-as-usual when it comes to safeguarding our assets. I hope there are stop-gap measures taking place, even in the smallest of school districts, and that funding is set aside federally because this is a federal issue. We have been at cyber war for over two decades now, and very little has been done to cease it. Propaganda is the name of this game and there is a reason why criminals recruit the young. So, let's keep our students safe and teach them how to discern danger in any setting. The four C's [Critical Thinking, Creativity, Collaboration and Communication] were a great idea, but seen as '21st century skills' and 'Skills' made it an ed tech initiative, in my humble opinion. Perhaps we need to make it an education initiative and embed them in every aspect of teaching and learning, so that adults and children alike are more astute as to the ramifications of cyberwarfare.”

Maria Armstrong, Executive Director, Association of Latino Administrators and Superintendents

“Cyberattacks do not appear to be slowing down, so we must prepare for the worst and plan for the best. Preventive measures are very important to promote not only a sense of safety but also ensure educational resources are not diverted away from students to pay for ransomware. Students have a right to learn, and their teachers should feel empowered to deliver instruction with the most meaningful tools. Access to these tools while maintaining a high level of security over student data is a judicious process of careful, thoughtful consideration — a big ask for school administration but well worth the effort. Preparing our students for their future is no small effort, it is full of navigating new technologies (both hardware and software) as well as new approaches to the Future of Work that may be completely unrelated to our own past.”

Micah Shippee, Director of Education Technology Consulting and Solutions, Samsung

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