Ed Tech Trends
13 Predictions for K–12 and Technology in 2022
THE Journal reached out to district technology and IT leaders, school leaders and teachers to find out what they expect to see in the new year.
- By Dian Schaffhauser
Ask people working
in education what they expect will happen in the new year, and the
outlook is (mostly) hopeful. A few common themes emerge for these
expectations: a pronounced focus on staff and student wellness; a
continued exploitation of new technology; placing greater emphasis on
professional development; a blossoming of student creativity and
ownership of learning. Here we present a baker's dozen of predictions
from teachers, school leaders, and district technology and IT
Investments in Skill-Building and Support
Am I allowed to say
that my prediction was just swiped by the Surgeon
General's Advisory on Youth Mental Health? The good
news is, his voice carried more than mine could — predicting that
the lingering effects of the pandemic would cause anxiety, depression
and lost motivation to skyrocket. With an abundance of hope for 2022,
I predict that schools and families will invest in proven programs
that can make a lasting difference for kids and teenagers. Teaching
evidence-based skills and providing expert support to young people
will change the trajectory of this crisis, as well as our families,
communities and nation.
Kelly Curtis is
an elementary school counselor, recipient of the 2021 Wisconsin
Equity in Action Award and EmpowerU coach.
Rise to the Occasion
The spring semester
is fast approaching and it has been a wild ride. Getting students
acclimated into the school setting again has been the priority of
this fall semester. I feel the students are now ready and in the
mentality of learning again. The fall semester was used primarily to
address the social and emotional needs as well as digest what it was
that we were going in to. Now that we have analyzed and put
additional systems into place for learning gaps and behavior
intervention, the expectations on the student end will be increasing.
Students have shown
that they know how to navigate technology to help learn, so I am
thinking we will continue to move down this route. I also feel that
going in and knowing what to expect is going to allow teachers to
plan and implement the second half of the year more accurately. The
students have shown that they are willing and capable of rising to
the occasion. I am very much looking forward to starting the spring
semester with a new game plan.
is the science department chair, teacher of AP Chemistry and Advanced
Chemistry, and Esports and senior class sponsor at Seguin
High School in Texas.
Wellness Will Come to the Forefront
While students were
remote as the pandemic started, and through a good portion of the
year, school districts will continue to adapt and provide additional
support for students to make up for learning loss.
Staff have become
burned out. Shortages of teachers and bus drivers continues to be a
concern. School districts will have to become creative to hire
teachers. Programs for mental health and wellness for both students
and staff will be at the forefront.
The CARES and ESSER
Grants have provided funding for technology to support digital tools,
staffing and facilities improvements. The Emergency Connectivity Fund
has provided access for students at home. These funds will continue
to be used strategically to help our students.
was recently appointed as the chairman of the Federal Communications
Commission. She will continue to be a staunch supporter to provide
adequate funding for technology for school districts.
Bockwoldt is the chief information officer for Hinsdale
High School District 86 in Illinois.
Support and Training will Ramp Up
The COVID disruption
taught K-12 that "digital" — digital infrastructure,
digital pedagogy, digital curricula — needs to be an essential, not
just a supplemental, component of school. Delivering packets of paper
curricula simply is not sustainable. And, the Alpha Generation, who
will increasingly dominate classrooms and who are the "digital-first"
generation, are expecting "digital."
We believe that K-12
has learned from COVID, and thus we believe the following will
professional learning experiences for teachers and administrators,
an absolute key to the transition from supplemental to essential,
will be ramped up significantly; and
investments will be made to significantly bolster schools'
infrastructure, e.g., devices and networking; but also, personnel,
to support instruction, will be added.
"analog-first" teachers and administrators to being
"digital-first" is not an option: it is essential if we are
going to meet the needs of the children coming to populate our K-12
Cathie Norris is
a professor in the Department of Learning Technologies in the College
of Information at the University
of North Texas.
Elliot Soloway is
a professor of electrical engineering and computer science in the
College of Engineering, professor of education in the School of
Education, and professor of Information in the School of Information
at the University
run the Intergalactic
Mobile Learning Center, which focuses on
collaborative learning and 1-to-1 learning.
Creativity Will (Once Again) Reach a Wider Audience
2022 will mark a
resurgence in student-created media and provide students with
opportunities to publish their stories, ideas and art for a wider
audience. In order for our students to be creative communicators,
they must have the ability to explore and experiment with a variety
of different types of media and express themselves using those tools.
During the last two years many of the projects where we ask students
to create using multimedia have taken a back seat. But we are
figuring out how to manage the uncertainty of our everyday classroom
lives and will begin to incorporate those techniques back into our
instruction more intentionally and regularly.
Bill Bass is the
past president of the ISTE board of directors and innovation
coordinator for the Parkway
School District in St. Louis.
More Education on Climate Change
On in-person versus
remote learning, so far this year, I have taken the entirety of my
classes in person. While the transition back into all-day socializing
has been difficult at times, I definitely prefer it this way. If all
goes well, I am planning to continue attending school in person for
the rest of the year.
Regarding what I'm
learning, I am currently taking a climate
justice course through Portland
Public Schools and in partnership with Portland
General Electric. This is offered as a year-long
elective course, but the curriculum covers many different topics
which are necessary for being an informed and equitable climate
advocate. Some of the projects we've gotten to do this year include a
model UN Summit of island nations impacted by climate change,
analysis of the PPS Climate Crisis Response Policy, and lessons on
atmospheric accumulation of greenhouse gases.
From my experience,
climate change is not sufficiently or accurately presented to
elementary and middle school students. The way that I was first
taught about climate change was with videos of melting glaciers,
emaciated polar bears and hurricanes. I was only shown the disastrous
and depressing consequences of fossil fuel consumption without
knowing that's what was causing it. I think that a lot of young
people, even more than those who show up to the strikes or bring
signs to city hall, care deeply about climate change. But if we are
still being taught from a young age that the only cause and solution
to climate change is to make better personal choices then the spark
that many students, like me, must have felt when watching those
videos seems pointless to pursue.
Some people may
argue that climate change is too intense or intimidating for young
people to learn the truth about, and to some extent that's true, the
realities of climate change can be intense and intimidating. But
that's exactly why when we teach this subject, we must also teach
emotional resilience and collective responsibility.
Grace Gaddy is a junior at Leodis
V. McDaniel (formerly known as Madison) High School
in Portland, OR, where she was born and raised. They are a writer and
editor for their school's newspaper, which they use as an outlet to
express their passion for social and climate justice. She is
currently a co-leader of the McDaniel Eco Club and a member of the
Youth Conservation Crew with Portland Parks & Rec.
Enhancement Deserves Attention
I think one of the
most important things we learned during this pandemic in K-12
Education classroom technology, is how important sound enhancement
equipment is. We know that for both the hybrid and in-person
environment, hearing was impeded by the teacher and students wearing
masks. Sound enhancement equipment solved the hearing issue. In fact,
we have always known that the students seated in the back of the
classroom would struggle to hear the teacher and would not learn as
well as the students in the front of the classroom. When funding
became available to assist our K-12 district with instruction, we
knew that we needed to finish the expansion of sound enhancement
equipment to ALL classrooms. I am happy to report that by the end of
December, roughly 98% of all classrooms in this district will have
sound enhancement equipment installed and operational.
Converse is the AV program manager in the Technology office at Anne
Arundel County Public Schools in Maryland.
Take What Worked
and Create New Practices
My prediction and my
hope is that as school system leaders we will build intentional time
to reflect upon our experiences. We need to remember the urgency of
remote learning that illuminated conversations around digital equity
and access. We need to not forget how teachers and school and
district leaders literally overnight transformed their work so that
learning would not be lost. Finally, we need to remember the
tremendous impact upon our students as their education experience was
so dramatically affected.
The past two years
were challenging but, in that struggle, new practices were born.
Rather than trying to get back to a version of what was, 2022 needs
to be the year where we take what worked and create new practices
that better serve students, families and staff. This should be the
time where we apply all we have learned from this experience.
Steve Langford is
the chief information officer for the Beaverton
School District, serving 40,000 students and
their families. Steve serves on the Board of Directors for the
for School Networking (CoSN) and is currently
board chair. Steve additionally serves on the board for the
for Computer Professionals in Education (ACPE)
Less Focus on
Content, More on Critical Thinking and Curation
I predict that as
more students use more technology in schools, they'll need less
content delivery from teachers. Instead, the classroom instruction
will turn from content "regurgitation" into deeper, more
critical thinking about what content is valid, necessary and
meaningful to the future of our students' lives. Information and
media literacy will need to be taught in earlier grades so that time
with the teacher in the classroom is more about information analysis,
thoughtful discussion, problem solving and understanding of biases.
The interpersonal skills of collaboration and empathy will play a
significantly larger role in classroom activities. Agility and the
ability to make decisions with less information due to unexpected
changes in the world will also be pertinent for students to develop
Lisa DeLapo is
the director of Information & Instructional Technology for Union
School District in San Jose, CA. She also
serves on the boards of CUE
Take More Ownership of Learning
learning that fosters collaboration, creativity and real-world
problem solving will become more and more the norm as technological
advances continue to blur the boundaries of when and where learning
can occur. Personalized learning will expand, with teachers guiding
and empowering students to take ownership over their individual
A December 2020
survey from Education
Week found that 87% of teachers reported that their
ability to use technology grew by "a lot" or "a
little" during the pandemic. "Necessity is the mother of
invention," and educators who were able to leverage technology
to personalize instruction saw the value in terms of higher student
I am convinced that
a holistic, learner-centered approach to education will continue to
unfold through a combination of educator vision and innovative
technology tools that help us to honor the wholeness of our students;
nurture their unique skills and talents; and connect them to each
other, their local communities and the larger world.
Cathy Collins is
a technology teacher at Sharon
Middle School in Massachusetts and serves on
the board of the
International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE).
Listen to Teachers
In 2022, I project
that schools will invest more in technology. Many districts across
the country address the digital inequities by providing all students
with laptop devices. My district provided all students with laptop
devices so that the school could continue for students. Communities
and districts will need to continue to address these inequities by
doing more for our marginalized students. Districts will need to
continue investing in technology to keep students current with the
trends. They will need to invest in the right tools to help bridge
the COVID learning loss. Technology will be instrumental in providing
intervention and interesting/fascinating learning experiences to
students. Therefore, schools, districts and states will need to
listen to teachers to reimagine education to make suitable
continue to meet the needs of our non-traditional learners. Teachers,
families and students will continue to learn how to implement
technology and resources in the classroom and create new options that
did not exist before the pandemic.
Districts will need
to lean on teachers for advice to address the learning loss.
Districts must listen to teachers. Students will continue to be
assessed to identify the learning gaps. Unfortunately, the
assessments will only measure what has been traditionally taught in
classrooms. What students achieve will not show up on the
assessments. For instance, students have developed technical skills
during COVID-19 and learned to persevere through challenging
circumstances. Students are also readily using technology!
impacted many students, because they have experienced losses and
couldn't socialize or have their emotional needs met, schools will
need to invest more heavily in social-emotional learning, to address
students' trauma brought about by the pandemic.
Collins, who teaches second grade for John
P. Freeman Optional School in Memphis, has won
numerous education awards. She was inducted into the National
Teachers Hall of Fame in 2020.
Students Will Learn to Filter What's Useful from the Noise
What does the future
hold? Having been pushed into using various digital platforms for
teaching, learning and communication during 2020, I predict that 2022
will see the continued use of these platforms, post-COVID and
post-lockdowns. Having been inundated with many resources and
opinions on social media, learning to filter what is noise from what
is useful within a specific context is going to be a skill that both
teachers and pupils will need to learn. Traveling miles for
face-to-face meetings will be a thing of the past. I hope that during
2022 teachers will learn that they are not on call 24/7 365 days a
Jenny Woolway is
the deputy principal for Bracken
High School in South Africa. She also teaches
grade 11 and 12 Life Sciences.
More Readily Accept New Forms of Evidence of Learning
education will emerge across K–12. After the pandemic, schools will
need to find a way to measure where their students are academically,
developmentally and socially, to make their best efforts to remediate
learning loss of all kinds.
will be tailored to support through-course assessment. Rather than an
end-of-year, single, high-stakes test, conversations are picking up
around scaffolding the high-stakes testing model, whereby students
take pieces of exams as they progress. And, those exams — as the
learner progresses — will include questions from previous
assessments to ensure information is being retained. Technology will
be better equipped to evaluate threads across time as well as single
assessment will gain in its share of the spotlight. With every living
room, bedroom or community center becoming a classroom during the
pandemic, the education arena became more open to accepting new kinds
of evidence of student learning. This has helped to break down
barriers to the perception that there is only one way to prove what a
student knows and is ready to learn how to do next.
will be simplification of the teachers' technology toolkit. Districts
drowned in apps during the pandemic in an effort to quickly assemble
a virtual learning strategy. In 2022, institutions will start to
commit to specific programs (Zoom versus Microsoft Teams) or buy into
a comprehensive learning management ecosystem. Schools will pull in
the reins on what was the proverbial "Wild West" of
technology experienced over the past few years.
will emerge to support simultaneous synchronous and asynchronous
instruction. The technology to support the delivery of live in-person
teaching with online instruction remains clunky (sound, small groups,
camera tracking, whiteboards, etc.) Someone will see the opportunity
in filling the need to improve these systems.
Keith Look and
Terry Schrader served long careers as district and site education
leaders. Now, they're with education technology company Territorium,
as vice president of equity and innovation and vice president of K-12