Top 5 EdTech Trends to Watch

Usually, top trends lists are published at the beginning of the year. But there’s nothing usual about this year, especially when it comes to evolving trends. COVID-19 has become a catalyst for change, accelerating the adoption of digital technology across all industries. Under challenging conditions, education was completely transformed as schools scrambled to utilize the latest technology. That’s why we’ve decided to pause mid-year to reflect on what innovations in EdTech have recently emerged and what trends will likely stick around. 

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1. Immersive Learning Goes Mainstream

VR technology is an effective way to provide a personalized learning experience, enhance visual learning and save on physical equipment. Anecdotal evidence suggests that VR in the classroom increases students’ ability to retain information by 60-70%. It also allows training for hazardous jobs without exposure to high-risk environments. Furthermore, the mobility of technology ensures accessibility to world-class facilities for remote students without the burden of traveling or relocating.

Look for more institutions to adopt this state-of-the-art EdTech as VR headsets drop in price and immersive technology advances. Vocational education and training provider TAFE SA recently deployed 30 Lenovo Mirage VR headsets to aid education for their Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Servicing Courses. Students have a 1:1 approach with the headsets to explore and experience high-risk areas they would not ordinarily see as apprentices.

2. Distance Learning is Here to Stay

Even as schools reopen for in-person learning, administrators are extending remote learning plans. Sorry kids, if you’re in the New York City public school system, no more snow days spent sledding and building snowmen. Because NYC districts distributed hundreds of thousands of devices during the pandemic, snow days have been canceled and replaced with online learning days.

In addition, schools across the country are adopting a hybrid approach and online learning options to meet the needs of students who thrive academically in a virtual environment. According to a recent Rand Corp. survey, about one in five districts are considering adopting virtual school as part of their portfolio post-pandemic. 

3. 1:1 Goes Global

Sped up by school closures and remote learning requirements, many districts reached their 1:1 device-to-student ratio goals years ahead of schedule. Even if schools worldwide don’t yet have a device in the hands of every student, they have distributed millions more laptops, tablets and Chromebooks than ever before. Acquiring a device for each student has led to another emerging trend—. As students and educators go back to school this fall, their loaner devices will be returning too.

Those districts keeping their 1:1 ratio long-term will need to address how to best store, charge and secure their new devices without burdening school staff. One solution to set up your school for success is to invest in easy-to-cable open-concept charging carts. Pre-pandemic, technology carts helped make a limited number of computers shareable among multiple classrooms. Now, these same resources will take on a new role. Carts enable educators to plug in 30 or 40 devices without worrying about having tons of outlets in each classroom. Students leaving their devices at school overnight can take advantage of the secure storage benefits of tech carts and smart lockers. In addition to security, they offer an easy way to redistribute the devices at the start of the school day.

4. Digital Equity Comes into Focus

Procuring and handing out devices is only one side of the remote learning equation. In the US, 14% of students between the ages of 3-18 can’t connect to the internet at home. Unicef reports that worldwide, over 400 million students have no access to digital or broadcast lessons.

Innovative educators and community partners are hard at work bridging the digital divide to ensure no child misses out on learning. Many new programs have emerged—from Wi-Fi-enabled school buses in California to SIM-enabled internet dongles in Victoria. All aimed at delivering internet connectivity to underserved student households.

Achieving digital equity also relies on preparing for the inevitable. School-issued equipment used at home for remote learning or homework will break, and cables will go missing. District CTOs and CIOs have learned over the past year that they can’t assume students have a backup device. If a device is damaged, most students can’t participate in lessons—which puts them behind until they return to school for a replacement. A better solution is to deploy smart lockers such as LocknCharge FUYL Towers in public places throughout a neighborhood. Ideal locations are open after hours, such as a community resource center, a Boys & Girls Club or a local restaurant. Stocked with replacement devices, smart lockers offer secure storage, no-contact pickup and easy access 24/7. Once a student reports a device requires attention, a staff member can assign that student to a specific locker. Using an admin-defined PIN, the student can swap their broken device for a ready-to-use one. By spreading Towers throughout the district near transit hubs, no family has to travel farther than another, making this a more equitable option that reduces learning loss.

5. More Evidence-Based Procurement Decisions

When faced with stretched budgets, schools are getting smarter with their technology investments. According to ResourcEd, “Schools are much more likely to invest in technology based on evidence that it supports their school’s learning requirements and challenges.” Schools searching for tech that integrates easily within their existing infrastructure are looking for solutions that won’t quickly become obsolete.

Most technology in schools is replaced every 3-5 years. Investing in future-proof technology can have a significant impact on budgets and employees’ time. For example, imagine the costs and time your district could save by not replacing charging solutions every time new devices are rolled out.

The only certainty about the future of education is that it’s uncertain. The trick is to be ready for whatever scenario comes your way—including developing an EdTech plan that empowers students and teachers to focus on the task of learning. Learn how best to navigate educational technology in an ever-changing landscape.

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Edgerton School District Delivers Big Impact through STEM Program

Background
Edgerton, Wisconsin is a small town of just over 5,500 people; with a school system that boasts well rounded and accomplished graduates year after year. A system committed to academics, well-maintained facilities, arts, athletics and, of course, technology.

The district, made up of four schools, not only remains up-to-date with technological developments but also paves the way for students to incorporate tech into their learning. Students are using mobile devices to be introduced to computer coding skills, app development, math strategies, presentation display, and Internet safety.

There are two Elementary STEM Centers in Edgerton – learning spaces for students in grades K-5 to experience Science, Technology, Engineering and Math curriculum. These learning experiences encourage problem-solving and critical thinking and serve children at the universal level – meaning they’ve been carefully developed to give students flexibility, empowerment and ultimately, an equal opportunity to succeed.

One of the teachers leading the charge is Sheila Fox. “We are hoping to encourage children to use mobile devices in a smart and safe way and also to expose them to the advantages that devices can have on their learning environment,” said Fox.

Sphero robots are one of the educational tools Fox and her colleagues are utilizing to give students a variety of learning modes with visual, tactile and auditory applications. 

Challenge
With new technology comes new responsibility and logistics. When the Edgerton School District staff first introduced Sphero robots to their STEM Experiences, charging and safety were their top concerns. They needed to maintain safe, student-friendly learning stations. They also knew they’d need to share and transport the devices between the two Centers and beyond.

Solution
The Sphero Charging Case™ by LocknCharge is tailored precisely to these needs. It accommodates up to six Sphero BOLT or Sphero SPRK+ robots, along with their inductive charging bases, tools and accessories in a compact and neat hand-held container. 

“The Charging Case has been exactly what we were hoping. It has allowed a safe space for storage and is very versatile to move from one classroom space to another learning environment,” said Fox.

The Case prevents unwanted clutter and tripping hazards that exposed cords can create, which is vital in classrooms that are often tight to begin with. Open architecture design lets you see that all devices are in place, which in turn means they’ll be charged and ready to work, learn and play.

Strong aluminum, a keyed lock and a lifetime warranty are matched with a lightweight, compact design easy enough for children to carry around, which helps get them ready to work, learn and play, too.

Learn more about the Sphero Charging Case.

You can download the PDF of the case study here.

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9 Reasons Why Schools & Teachers Love LocknCharge

Too little time, space and funding in your schools? LocknCharge has charging solutions for any budget.

Over the past 20 years, we’ve been listening to the needs of teachers, IT staff members, administration and students. And because of what we’ve learned during these critical conversations, we’ve designed mobile device charging carts and stations that relieve pain points specific to challenges in education. Our products boast features not offered by our competitors: high-quality components, top-loading cart designs, Baskets by LocknCharge, ECO Safe Charge, compact designs, lifetime warranties and much more. After talking to thousands of educators around the world, we’ve jotted down just a few of the reasons why schools using our products love LocknCharge. Check out ’em out:

Time-saving baskets allow teachers and students to quickly, safely and easily distribute devices every day, putting up to two weeks of class time back into the hands of teachers every year.

Compact device charging stationssave valuable real estate in space-strapped classrooms, allowing more room for expanding class sizes.

Our budget-friendly product lines save schools serious money while still offering time-saving features like baskets and top-loading cart designs.

Simple and organized cabling of our products will cut cart setup time in half, easing the burden of a device deployment on your schools’ IT Teams.

Future-proof designs will increase the longevity of your charging investment. Never get stuck with an outdated charging cart or station again.

Ultra-secure locking systems protect mobile devices from theft, breakage and loss, giving teachers peace of mind that their devices are always safe and sound.

Durable products and lifetime warranties mean your charging carts and stations will last well into the future, saving schools serious time and money.

Excellent Customer Support is always here to help with any questions or issues that may arise. You can count on us to be there for you.

We are the experts in mobile device deployments, and our Customer Success Managers are here to help find the solution that’s right for each of your schools’ specific needs.

Click here to get a quote and fall in love with LocknCharge products!

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Rolling out Mobile Devices? Find out how LocknCharge will contribute to your success.

Rolling out mobile devices across your organization? You’ve probably already done a lot of heavy lifting – selecting devices, developing apps, and strategizing the outcomes. You’re ready to launch… right? Would it surprise you to know that 73% of the best-planned programs are missing a critical component? One of the most important steps is deciding how to charge and secure devices when not in use. Uncharged devices will lead to lost productivity and slower adoption of new processes. Lost and broken devices can create substantial budget overruns. Research shows that 41% of data breaches are due to lost or stolen devices—which can lead to crippling fines–bringing the success of your program to a screeching halt.

And that’s where LocknCharge comes in. We are the experts in mobile device deployments. Our charging stations seamlessly integrate into your workflow, so you can forget about charging and security and focus on your goals. Charging Stations provide a centralized point for storage, so staff members always know where to find charged devices. And innovative product features increase your staff’s productivity. All of these factors lead to a successful program that will have a positive impact on your bottom line.

Our expert problem solvers will walk you through the best solution to meet your needs. So be one of the forward-thinking companies who have considered the logistical hurdles ahead.

Click here to contact LocknCharge today.

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Fighting Poverty in Schools

We often see appeals for overseas aid or funding, and requests for donations to charitable organization away from home.  But there are money issues and economic problems in every country, and if you look closely enough in every town.

Last Christmas, a shocking 120,000 children were homeless in the UK*. That’s four children in every school.  In addition, a staggering 4 million children live in persistent and severe poverty. 

For these children from deprived families or poorer neighborhoods, it can be hard to get access to basic necessities in life such as food and clothing.  Let alone digital technology, computers or iPads.

Yet according to a study dating back to 2014 named “At What Cost: Exposing the impact of poverty on school life”, families were found to be on average spending £800 each year per child on additional school costs.   This was despite the free government schooling the children were receiving. (See the full report here.)

Children were also found to be struggling with the cost of the increased requirement to use computers, with a third of children living in the poorest families saying they had fallen behind at school because their family couldn’t afford the computer or internet facilities. The effect of this on a child at an impressionable age is unimaginable, and it is no surprise that this has not only led to some of these children becoming embarrassed but also being bullied.

With tight budgets, it is impossible for every school to supply iPads or tablets free of charge to every child of school age. However, these statistics highlight the importance of ensuring an iPad or tablet usage plan in schools is both managed and rolled out effectively to get the most for all students, not just the affluent ones.

There are various ways in which schools can supply tablets or Chromebooks to students.

  • Rent or lease tablets.
  • Have a specific number of tablets assigned to different groups at different times of the day.
  • Supplement institution-owned devices with a BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) scheme in schools where students are able to bring personal mobile devices to school to be used for educational purposes.

LocknCharge Charging Carts and Baskets can be used to alleviate the financial divide in schools. In instances where there aren’t enough devices to around, our Charging Carts provide mobility to easily share 20-40 devices between classrooms. This allows schools to stretch their device assets further to benefit a greater number of students.

Our Baskets offer even broader device mobility between classrooms that are not as easily accessible with a Cart–such as up a flight of stairs–and allow you to carry 5 devices per basket.

Our CarryOn Charging Station is the perfect solution if devices need to be transported from one school to another. The Station features a secure and durable storage area with a carrying handle, making it easy to store, charge and transport 5 tablet devices safely and easily.

Alternatively, there is the FUYL Tower, which is designed to individually charge, store and secure almost any mobile device – including tablets, laptops, mobile phones and more. Through a simple and easy-to-use secure digital locking system, students can charge and secure their tablets until they need to use them in class. Where the FUYL Tower becomes even more unique is in what it can do ‘behind the scenes’. IT staff have the ability to remotely access an admin portal, where they can see how many locker compartments are occupied or available in real-time. If a student forgets their PIN, the administrator can unlock compartments from a remote location. The FUYL Tower provides schools with a full audit trail and time-stamped events. Schools will know how often the FUYL Tower is used when it is used and more, which makes it ideal if using shared devices.

According to the office for National Statistics in 2017, 90% of households in Great Britain had internet access, an increase from 89% in 2016 and 57% in 2006. Hopefully, things in this regard are improving.  But in instances when tablets do still need to be shared, we have the solution to device management which will help all students make full use of their resources in class time.

For an additional story about LocknCharge products are helping combat poverty in schools, click here.

 

Research:

https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/householdcharacteristics/homeinternetandsocialmediausage/bulletins/internetaccesshouseholdsandindividuals/2017

*According to www.givingworldonline.com

 

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