The Horizon Report 2015 – K-12

Although the release date for the Horizon Report 2015, K-12, is not for two more weeks, some of the core findings are leaking out through various blogs.  The Horizon Report by NMC and ELI is looked at as a comprehensive time line of educational technologies.  Put in a five-year time frame, this report is used as a predictor of which technologies are expected to become more prevalent in K-12 schools.  There is also a post secondary report that was released in February, 2015 also predicting upcoming technologies in the college and university setting.

This report’s predictions for the five year time frame include some new technologies.  I see Drones on the list for the first time.  The report will specify their use withing the K-12 environment and I am hoping for something more than keeping individuals from cheating.

Visual Data Analysis is also mentioned in the five year prediction.  With so much data posted on the web, it only seems logical that students know how to interpret this data.  Data Visualization is harder to learn as you get older so an introduction to it as part of literacy training would move students towards reading of data and illustrating data throughout their formative years.  Through two workshops I have attended about Data Visualization, I particularly noticed that there are students (these ones were in grade 3) and adults who pick up this concept quickly and there are others (like me) who marvel at their perception.

Information Visualization is cited in the two to three year outlook.  Again, Google has made the amount and quality of information available to students seemingly endless.  The learning comes from taming information to understand concepts and apply them in other learning to deepen a student’s understanding.  Not an easy task, but certainly a skill that is transferable across curriculum.

Adaptive Learning Technologies are being used more often but the personalizing of learning that can be gained from new technologies will be applied to many types of K-12 instruction. A variety of these technologies can facilitate many types of learning and engage a variety of students.

And, in the one year forecast, my passion – maker spaces.  We are looking to engaged, collaborative, STEM learning and this innovation ticks off all of the boxes.  Imagine having students engaged in various types of design, inventing, re-design, prototyping – all during the school day.  Imagine stretching curriculum to challenge students to answer real world questions through their own design.  A huge leap forward for many students who shut down in the passive, note-taking, teacher-led, classroom.  A further challenge for teachers, who must assess during the process of learning rather than mark answers in the evening.  I see this innovative learning as a more realistic preparation for students to work through problems and understand their surroundings so much more.  Students will acquire skills that they will continue to use throughout their education and their life journey. Maker spaces seem like a wonderful opportunity to challenge students in a progressive school setting.

Stay tuned for the results of the Horizon Report’s predictions.  Hopefully some changes will be coming to a school near you.

Librarians on the Road – Part II – University of Alberta

We all felt a little envious of the Technologies in Education – Support and Solutions space at the University of Alberta.  Containing about 50 staff members including peer mentors, this space has many techie treats to experiment with and learn how to use.

Red Chair Sessions are held to give students quick ways to use various websites, apps, and Web 2.0 tools in their classrooms.  Instruction is given by peers and lasts a manageable 30 minutes in between classes.

Maker ideas are tried out and the results displayed to challenge students to try out maker strategies in their classrooms.

This staff wants students to learn about the latest technologies and try them out in this risk-free environment. The space and staff were both very welcoming.

Coutts Library at the University of Alberta  also offered some library spaces we could explore and learn from.  They have a wonderful puppet collection and encourage students to use it for their field experiences.

It is good to get out and see some other education spaces and how they use technology in the classroom to help undergraduate teaching students grow into tech-savvy teachers.

Osmo and ipad to try out!

Osmo and ipad to try out!

Librarians on the Road – Part I – Edmonton Public Library

Although the Doucette Library serves the students of the Werklund School of Education, we librarians realize that there is a big world out there.  Recently, three of us hopped in the car and drove up to Edmonton to see some unique educational spaces.

We started our tour at the Edmonton Public Library, Downtown Branch, where a significant makerspace has been installed on the main floor.  This space is largely dedicated to the digital aspects of making, although there are plans for a large re-model and expansion of the space.

Dedicated gaming areas are comfortable and almost silent due to the plastic cone enclosures for the speaker system.  Gamers do not have to wear headphones and the noise is directed at the player.  All the stations were being used when we were there on a Monday afternoon.

Not one, but three, 3D printers are situated by the staff desk.  Staff members are familiar with trouble-shooting all three printers.  The printers are produced by a company in Edmonton so further trouble-shooting is only a phone call away.  PC and Mac computers contain design software and staff can help clients with their creations.

Two sound rooms provide a location for podcasts, music recording, and practice.  They are small but equipped to provide maximum sound proofing.

The Espresso Book Machine was producing a single volume work by a local author.  In a matter of minutes, a copy complete with cover and glued binding is ready for the client to look at.

There is a green screen space that is often used by schools, photographers and filmmakers to produce excellent quality work.

Clients could be seen converting photographic slides from the ‘70’s to digital media that would not degrade as the slides were doing.  Conversions can be done from VHS, CDs, photographs and slides.

This space is very well used.  Staff is accommodating and very busy.  School trips are booked solid for the foreseeable future and it is a popular drop in for all ages. Oh, and all the power outlets hung from the ceiling offering maximum power to everyone.

This is one well-used educational makerspace.  And the fact that they will provide smaller maker areas for every branch in Edmonton means that Edmonton Public Library knows that making is the way of the present and the future.  Go and visit sometime and see what possibilities are already in place.

IMG_1231 IMG_1219