EdTech 2015: What’s hot?

Russell Stannard

Russell Stannard is a freelance trainer and conference speaker in ICT and Education. He has won 3 internationally recognized awards for his work in feedback and his www.teachertrainingvideos.com website, which is now visited by more than 350,000 users a year. He was previously a Principal Teaching fellow at the University of Westminster, where he won their ‘Excellence in Teaching and Learning’ award. He now works part-time at the University of Warwick as a Principal Teaching Fellow and is also a NILE associate trainer.

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It is never easy to predict where things are going in the future, but my own attention is really focused on virtual classrooms. These are tools that allow people to present via the internet, and are becoming more and more sophisticated. My current-favourite tool is Adobe Connect. It allows me to present to users all over the world. I can talk through a PowerPoint presentation, play videos, show the participants the screen of my computer, share files with them, set up a chatroom and turn on the webcam so that the participants can see me. It really has a lot of potential. I have noticed that more and more organisations are coming into this territory.

"We can already see that a lot of learning is now shifting online; virtual classrooms are here to stay."

WizIQ is another tool that I believe is destined for big things next year. As the internet gets faster, these resources are going to perform better and better, offering more options. We can already see that a lot of learning is now shifting online, so I really see a huge market for these types of products. There will also be a huge market for anyone that learns to use these tools well and can therefore train other teachers to use them. Virtual classrooms are here to stay, and their potential for delivering live training over the internet to anywhere that has a good internet connection makes them a certainty for the future.

My other recommendation would be to learn all you can about Google Docs (Google Drive and Google Docs work together). I was lucky enough to be down at the Google offices in London not so long ago, and even got a chance to try out Google Glass (and also drink some of their free beer, too!). I was told that Google are really looking to get into the educational market, so it will be interesting to see what that develops into during 2015. It’s going to be an exciting 12 months!

The best of the last 12 months

Technologies can cause a storm! This is good!

Present.me:

  • Allows students or teachers to upload PowerPoint presentations or Google Docs and then add their voice and webcam. 
  • Compressed and ready for access on the internet or embedding.
  • Teachers can record presentations of any description and then share them with their students.
  • It is possible to leave comments below a student’s recording. 
  • Useful for a ‘getting to know you’ activity at the start of the course as you can share presentations with teachers and students. 
  • If teachers are looking to blend more of their lessons, or even flip them, and put the majority of the learning content outside the lesson, then this is a great tool.

Videonotes:

  • Links in with Google docs
  • It allows you to link to any YouTube video and then use Videonotes to take notes on what you hear. 
  • Those notes become clickable, so if you click on a certain line of your notes, the precise part of the video related to those notes will play back. 
  • You do need a Google account to use this feature as Videonotes works with Google Drive and saves all your notes in Google Drive, but it is really easy.

Do you use any of this technology in your classroom? Let us know in the comments.

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