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Serious Play Expo Panel of Teachers

Teachers from all over the country discuss the benefits and future of technology in classrooms and beyond. 

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Alex Norton

Digital Learning Specialist, John W. Wynn Middle School, Tewksbury, MA Teacher of 8th Grade Computers

What trends do you see in the space of technology in schools currently?

Districts are working hard to increase the number of computers in their schools with the goal of 1:1 access for each student. They are also offering more professional development to help teachers integrate technology to enhance lessons and increase student engagement.

What do you think are the greatest benefits of integrating technology into classrooms?

Technology makes lessons more interactive and can provide students a tailored experience through additional support or extension activities. Short interactive assessments, like Kahoot, are fun, provide a quick check for student understanding and allow the teacher to make necessary adjustments to the lesson.

What do you foresee for the future of technology both in and outside the classroom?

Technology provides better ways for students to work together using tools like collaborative whiteboards, live chats, discussion boards and Google Hangouts. We’ll see more use of flipped classrooms that have students start new units by watching videos or researching online resources for homework. This frees time at school for learning activities to solidify student learning. 

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Tammie Schrader

Computer Science Coordinator, Regional Science Coordinator, Northeast Washington Education Service District 101 Science Coordinator

What trends do you see in the space of technology in schools currently?

I see technology bridging the gap between what we teach and how we teach it. Schools are now using technology to engage students using game-based learning. Schools are finding ways to increase access to computers, robots that teach computer science, and VR equipment that allow students to access different world cultures. 

What do you think are the greatest benefits of integrating technology into classrooms?

I think the greatest benefit of integrating technology in classroom is the opportunity it affords students to meaningfully connect with current methods of teaching. In my experience, technology has the power to engage ALL children and enable them to interact in immersion experiences. Technology makes it possible create situations whereby students can actively, collaboratively and safely interact with one another and learn even more deeply. 

What do you foresee for the future of technology both in and outside the classroom?

I foresee the future of technology giving students more individualized and relevant learning experiences. Educational experiences for students become deeper and more meaningful. Technology makes it possible for both students and teachers to learn important lessons where the focus is on processing information and creative problem solving, via access to instantaneous and pertinent information.   

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David Deeds

Director of Information & Learning Technologies, Schutz American Schoo

What trends do you see in the space of technology in schools currently?

I agree that Makerspaces are the major development now for K-12. Robots are a major factor in this, but I think 3D printers will also increase rapidly as a component.

What do you think are the greatest benefits of integrating technology into classrooms?

Technology integration empowers students to be creators versus consumers of information and media. This enables all the other rewards: active and personalized learning, preparation for college and the workplace, etc.

What do you foresee for the future of technology both in and outside the classroom?

Mixed Reality (MR), a hybrid of Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR), will ultimately be the next big thing both inside and outside the classroom. In the meantime, VR and AR will begin shifting to education (instead of consumer) applications and usage as hardware costs decrease.

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Steve Isaacs

Teacher, Game Design and Development School: William Annin Middle School City

Steve Isaacs, Teacher, Game Design and Development
School: William Annin Middle School
City, State: Basking Ridge, NJ

What trends do you see in the space of technology in schools currently?

There is an emphasis on developing 1:1 tech programs. On a more innovative note, virtual reality and augmented reality are making their way into schools, albeit slowly.

What do you think are the greatest benefits of integrating technology into classrooms?

When integrated properly, technology is a wonderful tool to have available. We are at a point in time where so much information is available and we can shift to learning how to effectively utilize resources to access information. Technology can also empower students to be creative and take ownership over their learning if we provide an environment that encourages it.

What do you foresee for the future of technology both in and outside the classroom?

Virtual reality, augmented reality, and mixed reality certainly represent the future as the tech is still in its infancy but is finally becoming mainstream both in schools and outside of school. The possibilities to create virtual, interactive environments and enjoy immersive experiences are very exciting.

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