The 10 Terms You Should Know in 2016

Why EdTech is for Everyone, Not Just Academics

If you’ve never heard of “EdTech,” you’re late to the party. What was once a catch-all term for any technology that helps you learn is now an increasingly-popular moniker to describe the way devices and applications are developing in the 21st century, as well as the industry that’s building them. And while the importance of leveraging technology for education has been recognized for decades, 2016 is shaping up to be a pivotal year for this once-niche community.

Takeaways from the recent ASU GSV Summit, the largest annual gathering of EdTech influencers, reflect this tight-knit community’s pivot from a specialty market to the larger tech industry. EdTech changes the way we think about and use technology. Mobile devices are now more collaborative, personalized and intuitive; developers are meeting users where they are.

After raising $51.5 million in March 2016 alone, EdTech companies are expanding their reach. Buzzwords of the community aren’t just for academics anymore. Media workers, tech innovators and digital creatives of all kinds will need to brush up on industry terms if they are to keep pace with demand. Don’t know what to make of all their vocabulary? Not to worry. We’ve put together a guide of terms that everyone should be familiar with in 2016.

  1. 1:1 Technology: When an academic institution provides every student with a laptop or digital device for learning, it’s said to have 1:1 technology. Benefits include: teaching students with learning disabilities, assisting English-language learners, and reaching students long distance.
  2. Adaptive Learning: Also referred to as personalized learning, this is a process in which teaching materials and methods adapt to the user’s pace and knowledge. The more you know, the more you grow (within the platform that is). Check out Knewton to see how it works.
  3. Early Warning Systems: A process in which data is used to determine which students are at risk of dropping out based on benchmark indicators collected over a student’s educational career. UC San Diego uses the Time-to-Degree Early Warning System to detect at-risk students and address behaviors that hinder academic success.
  4. EdTech: What exactly is “EdTech”? A short-hand version of education technology, this term is used to refer to any technology that facilitates improved learning by creating, using and managing technological resources and processes. Think TeachBoost, a skill-building platform for teachers and students.
  5. Flipped Model: An interactive form of learning where teachers assign video lectures or instructional content as homework and use in-class time to practice or review. This process encourages students to be active learners, not slump in their desk as they pretend to listen to their professors.
  6. Gamification: The process of using game design and mechanics to drive motivation and increase engagement. Imagine learning new skills with the effort it takes to scroll through your news feed. Now you can learn a new language during your commute with apps like DuoLingo.
  7. MakerSpaces: Sometimes referred to as hackerspaces, these are collaborative spaces where people can gather to create, invent and learn from fellow creators. It’s similar to a digital hangout, but instead of passing time trolling the internet, you create something productive. Of all EdTech crossover terms, keep your eye on this one. It’s a design, development and prototyping favorite across multiple fields and sectors.
  8. Massive Open Online Course (MOOC): These are online courses that include video lectures, reading materials, problem sets and a student community. This type of platform is meant to facilitate global learning despite barriers or lack of resources. MIT uses The Analytics Edge to give students a digital edge over their peers.
  9. Open Educational Resources (OER):  These are digital tools or materials freely accessible and openly licensed for public consumption. Platforms like Khan Academy are meant to promote the open facilitation and exchange of information for interested learners across the globe.
  10. Synchronous Online Learning: A real-time, virtual learning environment in which immediate, two-way communication between instructor and participant is possible. Now you can use Skype to boost your brain power, not just catch up with your parents.

If you want to keep up with the latest developments in EdTech, read more about the issues innovators are facing. If networking is more your thing, get connected with educators, leaders and experts. And if you’re ready to jump in, find events, jobs or test your product.