Thursday, June 18, 2015

Instructional Design and Technology - Trends

Trends in K-12 Education
In this time of rapid change, of technological advances that often force us to move faster than we feel comfortable, calls for changes in the way we ‘do’ school are ever louder and are reaching critical masses. With this said, let me look at some of the contextual changes of education.
  1. Computing devices are ubiquitous in every facet of our lives.
  2. Millennials (Gen X) and Boomlets (Gen Y) have a different frame of reference of our world than we have.
  3. Millennials and Boomlets are used to being connected. Always.
  4. Advances in technology and the globalization of the world require a different set of skills for the workforce: 21st century skills.
  5. Leaders in business and politics are calling for a change in educational content and practice. P21 (Partnership for 21st Century Skills) is a driving force for educational change.
  6. Virtual and blended learning are driving forces in the way education is delivered.
  7. Policy makers, parents, and students expect personalized instruction and differentiation to address individual students’ needs.
  8. Data-driven decision making makes keeping track of testing data ever more important.
  9. As the quality of education is feared to worsen, the call for national standardization and testing echos.
The instructional design process in education occurs at three levels of development, the systems, product, and classroom level. How will the aforementioned changes impact IDT development at these levels? Let us take a look.
Systems level development refers to learning management systems that provide customers with a learning platform that incorporates needs assessment, monitoring of progress, delivery of instruction, communication, record keeping, and analytics. The continued growth of virtual schools and demand for blended learning solutions, will drive this level. In addition, the need for data in decision making and the call for more standardization to allow for an adequate comparison of performance, will greatly impact the development on this level. Learning management systems will become complex entities that will allow for quick academic and learning analytics and that will easily adapt to different levels of student performance. These systems will likely allow for adaptation and personalization based on institutional preferences and incorporate a number of social media websites.
Product level development creates educational software for specific learning topics. This type of software has been around for many years and sometimes provides more glitz than improved learning. However, used to supplement the work of the teacher, software that has adaptive content, assess frequently, and provides immediate feedback can help with differentiation and self-paced learning while freeing up teachers for individual work with students. As teachers start flipping their classrooms, using computers for instruction and skill building, the demand for pedagogically sound software that addresses 21st century learning skills and the CCSS will be on the rise.
Classroom level development is the integration of technology by individual classroom teachers. It is at this level that 21st century learning skills can actively promoted. Through the use of technology integration models like TPACK, SAMR, and the Triple E framework, teachers will extend and redefine their current classroom practices. This is also where educators have an opportunity to respond to the needs of the Boomlets and teach them within their current connected context. Profound change at this level is imminent as more Millenials make their way into the teaching profession and more universities train new teachers in 21st century methodologies. There will also be a rise BYOD programs to reflect the connectivity of the students. And, hand-in-hand with that, teachers will make more and better use of social media
Another classroom level trend, predominantly in secondary schools, is the call for integrated core curricula, including robotics, coding, and maker spaces. Here, schools may opt for individualized approaches that fit their mission and satisfy stakeholders’ demands. IDT development will likely be localized at the school level by a team of visionary teachers/instructional designers.
Additional Resources:
30 Trends In Education Technology For 2015. (2014). Retrieved June 18, 2015, from
Terry Heick put together a thoughtful review of 10 up-trending, 10 lukewarm, and 10 down-trending educational phenomena. I like the up-trending section because it affords a quick list that can be used for further research.
A Look Inside the Classroom of the Future. Retrieved June 18, 2015, from
Dana Mortenson looks at educational changes from the classroom perspective and points out some key 21st century learning skills that is not merely technology based. Great read for a holistic view of changes.
2015 Instructional Design Trends Compass: Calling IDs to Action - eLearning Industry. (2015, February). Retrieved June 18, 2015, from
eLearning Industry is a website for ID professionals. This is a great resource to keep abreast of changes in the industry. In this article Shauna LeBlanc Vaughan points out 2015 ID trends.
Edutopia, Educational Technology and Mobile Learning, and The Future of K12 Education are blogging sites with frequent updates to educational trends and educational technology news.

Trends in Germany

I am a naturalized US citizen, born and raised in Germany. Having read about the state of IDT in Germany in one of my course readings, I wanted to find out more. My research was guided by the following questions:
  • What is the state of instructional technology in Germany?
  • To what extent are teachers trained in instructional design & technology methods?
  • What trends are likely on the horizon?

The state of instructional technology integration in Germany lags behind other developed countries like the United States and the United Kingdom. Schools cannot afford the technology needed for successful classroom integration, and are, therefore, poorly equipped. But even if students were allowed to bring their own devices to the classroom, unprepared teachers are reluctant to use emergent technology.
Compounding these obstacles, is, due to Germany’s dark history, Germans’ cautiousness and scepticism when it comes to oversight by government agencies or software. Using technology in the classroom requires private accounts, passwords, and, yes, data retention. While digital media are in students’ hands every day, brain researcher Manfred Spitzer warns about “Digital Dementia,” claiming technology is dumbing children down. The discussion stirred up by this claim further makes Germans reluctant to freely allow technology in classrooms.
But, despite these obstacles, some innovators and early adopters are pushing forward, and “...the government’s ministry of education and research (BMBF) has invested €6bn into education and research between 2010-2013 and is currently sponsoring the development, testing and application of new digital media, Web 2.0 and mobile technologies in vocational education with €60m. It is also supporting IT initiatives such as digitalizing and updating libraries and other information centers. In schools and universities the use of tablets and an increased focus on IT in the curriculum has also started to make the rounds” (“Jumpstarting Edtech Innovation in Germany”).
Edtech startups also have contributed the development of learning technologies. And, “it is clear that these edtech startups are beginning to make an impact.”(“Jumpstarting Edtech Innovation in Germany”).
A new interdisciplinary master’s degree program at the Universität des Saarlandes also seems to announce the change of times. And so, I quote edSurge’s article Jumpstarting Edtech Innovation to sum up what may be on the horizon for Germany:
“... Germany’s strong education infrastructure--with free primary schooling and a low-cost higher education system--makes it well-positioned to take advantage of the digital revolution. With the right combination of government support, investor interest and a growing edtech community, the country will maintain its ability to create learners whose ideas and entrepreneurial spirit contribute not just to Germany, but to the world as well.”(“Jumpstarting Edtech Innovation,”n.d.)

For further reading, I suggest the website Intercultural E-Learning which offers scholarly articles on the current state of e-learning in Germany, and the article Instruktionsdesign which was published in Zeitschrift für Lernforschung, a journal for educational research. Sorry, these resources are in German.

"Educational Technology."Saarland University | Master |  Educational Technology. n.p., n.d. Web. 18 June 2015.
"Jumpstarting Edtech Innovation in Germany." Jumpstarting Edtech Innovation in Germany | EdSurge News.EdSurge News n.d. Web. 18 June 2015.
"Microsoft Showcase: Paperless Classroom - Schloss Neubeuern (Germany)." Microsoft Showcase: Paperless Classroom - Schloss Neubeuern (Germany).Microsoft Showcase: Paperless Classroom n.d. Web. 18 June 2015.
Deutsche Welle. "German schools reluctant to go 'digital'." German schools reluctant to go ′digital′ | Technology | DW.DE | 03.05.2013.© 2015 Deutsche Welle | Privacy Policy | Legal notice | Contact n.d. Web. 18 June 2015.

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