Research Question 4: Significant Challenges Impeding K-12 Technology Adoption

What do you see as the key challenges related to teaching, learning, or creative inquiry that learning-focused institutions will face during the next 5 years?

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NOTE: The Significant Challenges are sorted into three difficulty related categories based on their appearance in previous Horizon Report editions -- solvable challenges are those that we both understand and know how to solve, but seemingly lack the will; difficult challenges are ones that are more or less well-understood but for which solutions remain elusive; wicked challenges, the most difficult, are complex to even define, and thus require additional data and insights before solutions will even be possible. In your responses to the trends below, feel free to explore why or why not the challenge should be in its specific category.

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Challenge Name
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Digital Fluency of Teachers is Too Low
2014 Higher Ed Solvable Challenge: Those that we understand and know how to solve
Teacher training still does not acknowledge the fact that digital media literacy continues its rise in importance as a key skill in every discipline and profession. Despite the widespread agreement on the importance of digital competence, training in the supporting skills and techniques is rare in teacher education and non-existent in the preparation of teachers. As teachers begin to realize that they are limiting their students by not helping them to develop and use digital competence skills across the curriculum, the lack of formal training is being offset through professional development or informal learning, but we are far from seeing digital media literacy as a norm. This challenge is exacerbated by the fact that digital literacy is less about tools and more about thinking, and thus skills and standards based on tools and platforms have proven to be somewhat ephemeral.- ryan.tomaps ryan.tomaps Feb 10, 2014
- davidwdeeds davidwdeeds Jan 28, 2014 Yes! This is what I'm supposed to be doing at the current school...and certainly will be doing at the next. Implementing a Digital Fluency Program (under a different name), that is. We tend to forget that teachers are just hairless apes like all other humans, and B.F. Skinner had it right re: reward or punishment. A mouse presses a lever and gets food, it will repeat the behavior. A mouse presses a lever and gets shocked, it won't. As my experience has proven, you can't just go to teachers with already busy schedules and propose extra work for nebulous payoffs. I want to set up a Geeky Teacher Program (please note I did not use the word "certification") and tie completion with evaluations and especially raises. Of course, if a teacher refuses to participate or otherwise doesn't show progress (and you know who these folks are!), then they're out. We're 14 years into the 21st century and I still have teachers who can't/won't use a computer. Enough is enough. They've gotta get with it or they've gotta go. - mrskeeler mrskeeler Feb 1, 2014 cheers to you David! - Derrel.Fincher Derrel.Fincher Jan 30, 2014Research shows (and I really have citations to back up that assertion) that change in teachers actions come from a change in their beliefs. Teachers who have more constructivist beliefs are likely to to integrate technology in such a way as to engage students rather than as a replacement for paper & pencil work sheets. Teachers who are more apt to be engaged in the profession, as opposed to private practice teachers (those who shut the door to the room) are also more likely to integrate technology in ways that engage students and contribute to learning. Many teachers also need to see demonstrations of effective ways of using technology in the classroom and the update model of professional development just doesn't do that. Some teachers do own some of this - in what other profession is it acceptable that the professionals to not keep up with the changes in their profession? However, the real challenge is not teachers as much as they get blamed in the press - it's the school leadership. I learned early in my career as a teacher that, while principals moaned about how teachers didn't listed to them, I observed that teachers actually did do what principals emphasized by action, not just word. This goes to the superintendent and the school board. Walk into ANY professional development session offered to teachers at a school as part of a planned PD day. How many integrate technology meaningfully? Papers are still passed out and collected, and the highest level of technology evident is the presenter showing a Prezi, while the teachers that have laptops or iPads are checking their email. It's a leadership issue.[user:cristiana.mattos|1391269649]] This reflects my thoughts exactly!!! This has been my experience as well. Change begins with the leadership! And then you have to work on the culture. Another aspect to work on is the teacher education programs. In Brazil, none of them have an edtech course! - davidwdeeds davidwdeeds Feb 1, 2014 Yes, you're absolutely right that this isn't just an issue for teachers, but for administrators as well. One of my favorite examples was a recent APD...teachers call it Allegedly Professional Development...session, during which a headmaster gave a presentation on 21st Century Teaching/Learning. How was it delivered? By reading PowerPoint slide to us for an hour. ;) Leading by example would be a good start. Admins gripe about teachers being out of touch with technology but for most of ours, e-mail is still considered a revolutionary, challenging innovation. ;) One of my pet peeves is the admin expectation that once you pay for hardware/software, it's supposed to be used FOREVER. "We paid for this, and nobody uses it." Well, duh, it's ten years old! Or my personal favorite: "We paid for this, so we have to keep using it." To cite just one example, in one campus' elementary school, we have this ancient, useless software suite that the teachers would love to get rid of so they could move on. But no, we paid big bucks for it, so it's become a proverbial sacred cow. I've mentioned elsewhere that it's usually peoplepower that admins are most stingy about. Lots of moolah for a school information management system, but we can't afford anyone to actually manage it. Can't reasonably expect teachers to take this seriously until they see that admins do. As the saying goes, Put your money where your mouth is! For now, I'd be happy to see a row on the teacher evaluation form re: technology integration. Believe me, the first time a teacher gets a cash bonus for doing this, others will follow suit I teach technology to pre-service teachers at a university. My class is the ONLY class they learn technology in, but they have smooshed it together with how to do lesson planning and a bunch of other curriculum instruction. While I agree in teaching tech in context, this limits the amount of tech they can learn. I do not see my university really embracing and teaching digital literacy and emphasizing it's importance in the credential program anytime in the foreseeable future. We all see impending disaster, yet teacher ed programs and the amount and quality of PD in schools is not making this shift. Teacher digital fluency is going to continue to be a HUGE challenge. - mrskeeler mrskeeler Feb 1, 2014 Yes….AND…design a literacy program that has flexibility for the learner (teacher). Programs such as these are often constructed with the one-design-fits-all students. Keep in mind that that the tools are changing and teachers are not at the same place on the continuum. I'm sure I'm speaking to the choir here. There are many online/mobile courses in place. How do we personalize the instruction? Are there blended models available? In other words, teach this skill AND design the course with greater flexibility…not a workshop/course I must attend because it is part of the faculty meeting. - michael.lambert michael.lambert Feb 3, 2014 Seems to me it would be important to work with University teacher prep programs and start getting media and technical literacy integrated into standard curriculum. I agree with much of the sentiment above. Teachers need to stay current, even if it means dragging them out of their comfort zones. This is why we are ranked 24th in the world. Sadly. - deborah.cooke deborah.cooke Feb 6, 2014 Also pre-service tutors themselves may lack competence and confidence in using technology ; they too need support. - roger.blamire roger.blamire Re: this topic and the student topic below: Can I just give a shout-out to the shortsightedness of school administrators who have decided that everything is on the Internet so they no longer need a qualified school librarian? We now have 54% fewer school librarians than we did 10 years ago and I have a feeling some of the literacy and fluency concerns aired here are related. Good school librarians exert leadership in technology and professional development as well as facilitating digital fluency opportunities for teachers and students. We can't complain about the paucity of teens' digital fluency and then be shocked when they need digital fluency PD a few years later when they're new teachers. Loads of research has shown that PD has to be incremental and ongoing, so a support person must be in place in the building. Let's look at retooling and upskilling our librarians, not exterminating them. - marcia.mardis marcia.mardis Feb 8, 2014 Parents also have a responsibility. Some refuse to give media or internet permission for their students, others question the value of the 'play' they believe they are witnessing. It is important that the school community is informed and engaged together, to be familiar with the new technologies that are rapidly becoming not so new. . - FionaBanjer FionaBanjer Feb 9, 2014 Teachers are afraid of new technology. Being told that the must implement it by the administration will not work. A plan must be put into place. Teachers with student-centered pedagogical beliefs are more likely to succeed in technology integration. Those teachers who are comfortable with technology can be strategically placed as "evangelists" in infiltrating technology usage throughout the school. A one day "in house" PD workshop will not aid teachers in moving forward. It must be an ongoing continual integration in the classroom curriculum. lisagustinelli- lisagustinelli lisagustinelli Feb 9, 2014 There is a clear need for support for educators' digital literacy at both teacher training and registration levels; the key here, though, is that the literacy does not exist out of context. So support and training need to be in the context of supporting learners' digital literacy and within a meaningful curriculum programme design. Recommendations for support in this area were made in a recent NZ Parliamentary select Committee review of digital literacy Support needs to take into account why teachers manage technologies (or not)a s they do and this is inextricably linked to beliefs and attitudes to learning generally. I would hesitate to say that there are genereational issues also in the mix here but it may be true in many schools that this is an issue that is likely to dissipate over time as newer generations of educators emerge.- karen.melhuish.spencer karen.melhuish.spencer Feb 10, 2014- giselle.santos giselle.santos Feb 10, 2014Digital Literacy and citizenship must be addressed in teacher training courses. It is more than just managing devices, in my humble opinion, there is an urgent need to address the subjects of use of images, copyright, access and management of information and data, cell phone etiquette and basic online courtesy. Cyberbullying has become a norm in many schools and it is only through education that we can fight it, and what better place to raise this sort of awareness than our own schools?

Student Media Literacy Levels are Inadequate
2014 EU Solvable Challenge: Those that we understand and know how to solve
Despite a range of regional and global media literacy initiatives, research shows that the levels of media literacy knowledge and skills in children and teenagers are inadequate, especially for the dimensions of critical and participatory literacy. In an age when news often spreads virally through social media, it is critical that young people learn how to analyze and evaluate the authenticity of myriad messages they encounter everyday. According to current research, most young people feel comfortable using technology, and many are savvy enough to produce and share content, but they lack understanding of its impact or how to leverage it for the greater good — especially in the realm of education. - davidwdeeds davidwdeeds Jan 28, 2014 This gets back to the "Good/bad news that anybody can publish on the Internet" concept. A big deal for our school right now is implementing a schoolwide Social Media Policy. I've been fighting to include a "Check/Know Your Sources" component. It's something I do with all my kids before I ask them to do any kind of Internet research. I'm perpetually amazed that even the most tech-savvy kids can be naive about information they find online. There's this perception that if it's published, online or onground, then it can't be a lie or simply gibberish. I've asked my students to come to me if in doubt. "Mr. David, is this true?" "No, that's a bunch of [bovine feces]." We need to prepare students to be their own [bovine feces] detectors.- cristiana.mattos cristiana.mattos Feb 1, 2014Eloquently put David! Now more than ever kids need guidance to use the internet wisely and responsibly! - mrskeeler mrskeeler Feb 1, 2014 You are right on David! Catlin Tucker has a nice form she requires her students to fill out when they use a source. Thanks, David. Well-stated and definitely agree! - michael.lambert michael.lambert Feb 3, 2014- jmorrison jmorrison Feb 4, 2014- giselle.santos giselle.santos Feb 8, 2014Definitely agree!- alex.podchaski alex.podchaski Feb 9, 2014 Absolutely true. Teaching students should be part of a required course on digital literacy. This is a critical thinking skill necessary for all kinds of future endeavors. - deborah.cooke deborah.cooke Feb 6, 2014 The New School Library (NAIS); How Teens Do Research in the Digital World (Pew Internet & American Life Project 2012) “while the Internet enables students to access a wider range of resources than would otherwise be available, 83 percent of teachers surveyed agree that the available amount of online information is overwhelming to most students. Seventy-one percent agree that ‘digital technologies discourage students from using a wide range of sources.’ The surveyed educators also report that the skills needed for seeking quality information ‘need to be taught by all teachers across the curriculum, and that library staff can be a key part of that process.” There is a strong argument for housing other specialists, such as the I.B. Coordinator, technology specialists, and resource specialist in the media center in order to facilitate collaboration and provide additional supervision and resources for students working in large groups, small groups, or individually. Having multiple teachers flowing through this space throughout the day will “maximize the educative value of available and emerging technologies to enhance teaching and learning”. lisagustinelli- lisagustinelli lisagustinelli Feb 9, 2014 The issue here I think is the context in which they are considered to be inadequate. It is about to become a strong focus here in NZ; already our national tool for supporting schools to develop e-capability has been refined to integrate digital (media) literacy into school review/planning. This is linked to the teachers' own literacy levels (see previous point) of course. The challenge is the way in which is is fostered. Adding on modules or tests or skill tick sheets won't work as well as fully integrated curriculum programmes that take into account the digital realm as being a legitimate context for reading/writing, from K-12. - karen.melhuish.spencer karen.melhuish.spencer Feb 10, 2014 This issue - of students being able to judge the veracity or reliability of information - is certainly a fundamentally important one, but I am not sure it is an issue about technology or "media literacy". Isn't it simply one of the basic aims of education? Before the era of the online world students faced the same problem of knowing what to believe about what they read in newspapers or advertising or heard politicians and campaigners or religions say, or even about what their parents told them. There aren't simple answers to these questions which an ed-tech teacher can supply. It's the one of purposes of all subjects, all the academic disciplines, in the school curriculum to help students understand which sources of information can be relied upon and for what reasons. The way to evaluate the claims of a website about, say, a new miracle diet, is to have some knowledge of biology and chemistry, some awareness of the business world and advertising techniques, an understanding of the role of learned bodies and professional associations, and how knowledge is created through universities and research institutions. These are not technology skills, but simply a good education, in science, English and the social sciences. - paul paul Feb 10, 2014 Back to basics (Editor's Note: Moved here and combined from RQ2) A growing trend by its absence is student inabilities to carryout basic technology skills. Formatting a word processing document, using style sheets, delineating between when to use a table, a spreadsheet and/or a database, many skills in databasing/ and spreadsheets and performing a effective search. As we champion the so called digital native, are we forgetting about they came from the digital caveman who discovered 'the Apple Mactinosh' and wanted to know everything about its use and how it reacted. Who explored the depths of its capacity and then dove a little deeper. Many teachers bemoan that students can't present a word processing document formatted or perform an effective search. Many students can't tell you what an asterisk is (now its the 'starry thing'). Students are writing more than ever and that's 'GR8', but do we want a world of sms standards, no typing skills, no salutations on electronic missives. I am starting to question where is the place for old school technology skills that gave birth to the digital natives. - mtaylor mtaylor Feb 5, 2014

School Infrastructures are Under-Resourced
2014 Higher Ed Solvable Challenge: Those that we understand and know how to solve
Critical school infrastructures are under-resourced. Rather than encouraging researchers to build on and extend core resources, leverage shared file systems, and open accessible service APIs, institutions are narrowing their focus to what they perceive as the minimal subset of enterprise services they can afford to sustain. As a result, educators are often trying to design new, innovative learning models that must be integrated with outdated, pre-existing technology and learning management systems. - davidwdeeds davidwdeeds Jan 28, 2014 School infrastructures are under-resourced?? This pretty much sums up The Story of My Life. This is why I think innovations like Google Apps for Educations are such a big deal. Tell administrators hardware/software is free and they're ready to go. What I've found is that it's peoplepower, not necessarily technology itself, that schools are the most stingy about. Happened at the last school, and it's happening here now. Big bucks are spent on a school information management system, e.g., but no consideration is given to the necessity of having someone manage it. The expectation is that some already overloaded teacher and/or administrator is going to handle the job on a part-time basis. This strategy fails, of course, and then the next time an investment in technology is requested, the disaster is cited as a reason not to spend the money. Same thing's happening with our plans to implement an online class program. Getting back to GAFE, even when it's free, there's no perceived need to have anybody in charge. Thus, it's being used haphazardly and this could die on the proverbial vine too.- cristiana.mattos cristiana.mattos Feb 1, 2014I totally agree. The schools are not under-resourced, the resources are poorly used! You can have great projects with very low tech. Today technology has become very affordable. In Sao Paulo, all the schools have leveled out in terms of what tech they can offer. What's pushing us to the leading edge again is how the tech is used! That's where you will make the difference. And for that, the resources have to be used to develop the people using it!- jmorrison jmorrison Feb 4, 2014 Agree agree agree agree. Schools need to be thinking infrastructure and infrastructure way beyond the capacity they think they will need for the next 50 years. - mrskeeler mrskeeler Feb 1, 2014- giselle.santos giselle.santos Feb 10, 2014 US UCAN/Internet2 seem poised to help with this issue from the bandwidth perspective. These groups are actively looking at ways to expand the definition of R&E (research & education) networking to K-12, but thusfar have been stymied by seeing no further than one-off remote instrumentation and informal ed types of uses. However, if we are moving to a nationwide system to personalized learning, online simultaneous testing, and increased pressure for interoperable data systems, then gigabit networking is no longer a luxury--it is a requirement. It may be that demand will affect price, too. - marcia.mardis marcia.mardis Feb 8, 2014 Always a challenge. NZ is rolling out ultra-fast broadband to all schools and is in the process of connecting all schools to a single managed network (fast fibre) as well as supporting the purchase of laptops, wireless upgrades, security filtering etc. There is always a need to ensure that the infrastructure is supported by clear visioning, strategy etc. and that its management and maintenance are in the context of a future-focused system for learning. - karen.melhuish.spencer karen.melhuish.spencer Feb 10, 2014 Whether you agree with the CCSS in the U.S. or not there is value in the build out of school technology infrastructures to support the online assessments. In order for many of the benefits of digital resources to be realized, schools need the infrastructure to support the change. The CCSS is placing a stake in the ground that is pushing some systems forward - ryan.tomaps ryan.tomaps Feb 10, 2014 - troybagwell1 troybagwell1 Feb 10, 2014 I struggle with the infrastructure issue on a daily basis and there is some mud in the water. We see in our mobile environment where we have 1:1 laptops at our high school and 1:1 iPads at out middle school, that the culture is changing that is more accepting of personal mobile devices in addition to school provided devices. You can walk into our classrooms today and see students using the school iPad or their own smart phone. They use the smart phone many times when we have restricted our network too much through content filtering or some other way. I say this because in those cases we are seeing those phones bypassing our network and going to the cellular provider. Future BYOD environments may look very different in the amount of services provided by the institution.

Authentic Learning
2014 EU Difficult Challenge: Those we understand but for which solutions are elusive
Learning that incorporates real life experiences is not occurring enough and is undervalued when it does take place. This challenge is an important one in schools because it can greatly impact the engagement of students who are seeking some connection between the world as they know it exists outside of school, and their experiences in school that are meant to prepare them for that world. Use of project-based learning practices that incorporate real life experiences, technology and tools that are already familiar to students, and mentoring from community members are examples of approaches that can bring the real world into the classroom. Practices such as these may help retain students in school and prepare them for further education, careers, and citizenship in a way that traditional practices are failing to do. - cristiana.mattos cristiana.mattos Feb 1, 2014This is where the MakerSpace movement can come in handy. Teachers do not know how to put learning in a real life context. It is a big ask we are asking of teachers to say apply when they have not had a "real" job where they had to apply it. If we do not collaborate and share projects and authentic learning ideas along with teacher supports this will not get off the ground. - mrskeeler mrskeeler Feb 1, 2014~ Internships, experiences and simulations are just a few models that we/schools need to embrace. The information model is in the hands of everyone. Next step, create learning models that allows the consumer/student to "make" decisions/choices based on the information gained. How do we design learning spaces that are interactive and evolve, not a place where one goes to sit and listen? - michael.lambert michael.lambert Feb 3, 2014 I have seen this happen on a smalll scale and it was amazing. Students honestly took responsibility for their project, and their learning. They took to it like a fish to water. It was most difficult for the teacher to shift from teacher to faciliatator of learning, however once they did make they reveled in the students' success.- jmorrison jmorrison Feb 4, 2014 A thought: Students have spending power and I wonder how many classes they would purchase in our present school environment. We are able to choose our own clothing, foods, transportation, tech devices, etc. How can we create a menu of greater choice and allow for market demand? Businesses must compete for their customers; education, basically, does not. Of course, there are basics to keep in place but how can we create a stronger value for these basic courses? Seems we are 'stuck' in this out-dated model of education. Perplexed. - michael.lambert michael.lambert Feb 4, 2014 Totally agreed that this is necessary especially for the development of critical thinking skills. Again, I'm thinking that University level teacher prep programs should have concepts built into their methods courses. - deborah.cooke deborah.cooke Feb 6, 2014 The Project Based Learning movement is beginning to address the authenticity conundrum. As does the IBMYP which promotes authenticity. Organisations like the Buck Institute help develop more authentic thinking in teachers. It is a little of the 'emperors new clothes' that we should help students relate to the problem/issues/activity using real world references. In class the benefits are massive. An area I am trying to develop in and around me at present. - mtaylor mtaylor Feb 9, 2014 I completely agree that "authentic learning" (there must be a better name for it) is what we want, but the claims by some technology visionaries that ICT has a "disruptive" effect which will necessarily bring about authentic learning in education is difficult to substantiate. In some fields, stock control and bank tellers for example, ICT clearly does have a very disruptive effect and forces fundamental changes, but I don't see that it does in teaching. Digital technology can be used for authentic learning with lots of project work and interesting student-initiated activities, or it can just as easily be used for the most traditional, didactic, oppressive forms of teaching, and probably is in North Korea. I think the value of ICT is that it makes authentic learning (which can be done with or without computers) more enjoyable and stimulating, if teachers choose to teach in that way. What is likely to bring about more authentic learning is pressure on teachers from teacher-educators, education policy-makers, and government to develop skills of creative, collaborative working which appear to be required in "information economies". This suggests it's the disruptive effects of ICT in industry which drive change in the classroom, not the effects of ICT in the classroom. - paul paul Feb 10, 2014

Blending Formal and Informal Learning
2014 EU Difficult Challenge: Those we understand but for which solutions are elusive
Traditional approaches with roots in the 18th century and earlier are still very common in many schools, and often stifle learning as much as they foster it. As the Internet has brought the ability to learn something about almost anything to the palm of one’s hand, there is an increasing interest in the kinds of self-directed, curiosity-based learning that has long been common in museums and science centers. These and other more serendipitous forms of learning fall under the banner of Informal learning, and serve to enhance student engagement by encouraging them to follow their own learning pathways and interests. Many experts believe that a blending of formal and informal methods of teaching and learning can create an environment that fosters experimentation, curiosity, and above all, creativity. - cristiana.mattos cristiana.mattos Feb 1, 2014I'd love to see this happening. We are always seeking partnerships between our school and the different specialists (universities, museums, companies, NGO's and so on). Even though we can offer this blend, we still don't have a way of measuring it. I am not sure this is a major challenge... it is a challenge, but it feels like it is going to be pushed and happen as a result of some of the other initiatives. - mrskeeler mrskeeler Feb 1, 2014 Sometimes I wonder if the "fun" summer programs that different learning environments offer will cause the shift in our present educational landscape. These informal programs offer meaning experiences for students…the travel, the interaction, the non-grade, the authentic space to learn, etc. - michael.lambert michael.lambert Feb 3, 2014
Formal, informal and non formal learning. jmorrison jmorrison Feb 4, 2014 "Just do it." I don't understand why this challenge is listed as difficult with elusive solutions. Again, with professional development availalbe (ISTE for example), teachers can gain the skills and perspectives to try blended learning, flipped classrooms, place-based projects etc. and open the doors of the classroom and the doors to their young learners' minds. - deborah.cooke deborah.cooke Feb 6, 2014- ryan.tomaps ryan.tomaps Feb 10, 2014 Growing advocacy for inclusive models of professional learning position blended methodologies/the use of networks etc within clear methodologies for professional learning and as ways to provide multiple pathways to personalised learning and inquiry into practice. [Research into social networks for blended PD] - karen.melhuish.spencer karen.melhuish.spencer Feb 10, 2014

Competition from New Models of Education
2014 EU Difficult Challenge: Those we understand but for which solutions are elusive
New models of education are bringing unprecedented competition to the traditional models of K-12 education. Across the board, institutions are looking for ways to provide a high quality of service and more learning opportunities. Massive open online courses are at the forefront of these discussions, enabling students to supplement their education and experiences at brick-and-mortar institutions with increasingly rich, and often free, online offerings. At the same time, issues have arisen related to the low completion rates of some MOOCs. As these new platforms emerge, there is a growing need to frankly evaluate the models and determine how to best support collaboration, interaction, and assessment at scale. Simply capitalizing on new technology is not enough; the new models must use these tools and services to engage students on a deeper level. Even the Nova Scotia Sea School could be an example of an experiential education. Creating an environment (container/space) that leads to emergent education so to speak.- jmorrison jmorrison Jan 30, 2014 - cristiana.mattos cristiana.mattos Feb 1, 2014It's hard to know what will work when it doesn't exist yet. That's why we believe in not waiting for this model to come, but building it ourselves, not throwing away all we already know works! If this includes charter schools then I agree, that will be a challenge. How will schools adapt when parents feel their children are not being served in the way they want and they seek out alternatives such as online, charter schools, home schooling, MOOCs, partnerships with universities, etc.... Schools are slow to change. - mrskeeler mrskeeler Feb 1, 2014 Yes…there seems to be a battle between the educational entrepreneur and the traditionalist (I'm taught and you haven't). Both, in my opinion, have value. Again, how do learn to live in the grey. - michael.lambert michael.lambert Feb 3, 2014 Quality measures and professional best practices are one area of MOOC development that have been lacking in recent months and years. Colleagues here at UO will be delivering a talk on this very subject next week at the Educause Connects PDX symposium. - deborah.cooke deborah.cooke Feb 6, 2014

Personalizing Learning
Difficult Challenge: Those that we understand and know how to solve
The demand for personalized learning is not adequately supported by current technology or practices. The increasing demand for education that is customized to each student's unique needs is driving the development of new technologies that provide more learner choice and control and allow for differentiated instruction. It has become clear that one-size-fits-all teaching methods are neither effective nor acceptable for today's diverse students. Technology can and should support individual choices about access to materials and expertise, amount and type of educational content, and methods of teaching. The biggest barrier to personalized learning, however, is that scientific, data-driven approaches to effectively facilitate personalization have only recently begun to emerge; learning analytics, for example, is still evolving and gaining traction within higher education. - cristiana.mattos cristiana.mattos Feb 1, 2014 Learning analytics can be the tool we need for this. We need to get teachers to change their mindset about what their role is. They are no longer deliverers of content, they as educators should be helping each kid explore their potential.
- davidwdeeds davidwdeeds Jan 28, 2014 I've been making progress in this area, but it's been painfully slow. I'm lucky because I have the support of our current principal. Without that backup, I'd be at the mercy of my fellow teachers, who are appalled that I studiously ignore the concept of a predefined syllabus. "Read pages X-Y, do activities 1-10"...just doesn't happen in my classes. This isn't just a matter of preparing teachers and administrators, however. Students need time and especially preparation to adapt. Happens every day. My students have six five, they sit and listen to a teacher lecture...and then they get to mine...and they don't know how how to react. Many students are still simply not ready to be in charge of their own learning process. At the next job, one of the first things I'm going to do is train students as well as teachers. HOW TO implement this is going to be a huge challenge and a lot of egos are going to have to take a beating to make it come to fruition. - mrskeeler mrskeeler Feb 1, 2014 Personalized learning is more than collecting the sutdent data, large scale needs to come to knowing what the data is telling us we need to do for that student, and being able to implement those strategies.- jmorrison jmorrison Feb 4, 2014 YES…and not be held hostage to the data but use it as a tool to change and learn. And we should revaluate the data we are collecting; we can over collect. - michael.lambert michael.lambert Feb 4, 2014 Teachers can use simple tools like Google based products and have the affordances of Google Analytics running in the background that will begin to give a view of what's happening with their individualized learners. Also, paper and pencil learning surveys can be administered at the beginning of the year to learn exactly what a student needs in order to thrive. Then learners can be group according to style and differiented instruction can be designed to meet them. The lack of technology is not necessarily a good argument here. - deborah.cooke deborah.cooke Feb 6, 2014 Vital to position this within a vision for inclusion for all. Strongly affected by teachers' own values and belief systems and the wider climate of schools, particularly in terms of how much agency students have in the school/learning design. - karen.melhuish.spencer karen.melhuish.spencer Feb 10, 2014 Karen makes a good point about inclusion. The ability to customize the teaching and learning environment to meet the academic challenges that every student brings to the classroom is important- ryan.tomaps ryan.tomaps Feb 10, 2014

Scaling Teaching Innovations
2014 Higher Ed Difficult Challenge: Those we understand but for which solutions are elusive
Our organizations are not adept at moving teaching innovations into mainstream practice. Innovation springs from the freedom to connect ideas in new ways. Our schools and universities generally allow us to connect ideas only in prescribed ways — sometimes these lead to new insights, but more likely they lead to rote learning. Current organizational promotion structures rarely reward innovation and improvements in teaching and learning. A pervasive aversion to change limits the diffusion of new ideas, and too often discourages experimentation. "Prescribed ways" is the anchor coupled with the present egg-crate design we have. We like boxes as they are often easy to carry and we can put all of it in one place. Chaos and disruption are not our friends in education. As the Horizon report has suggested, we should have at least 10-20% innovative programs. Even without the success of these programs, the learning from the failure still feeds the core; thus, learning has happened. Yes, this can be costly, but education needs its own R&D program, too. We do a lot of the "R" very little "D." - michael.lambert michael.lambert Feb 3, 2014- jmorrison jmorrison Feb 4, 2014

Balancing our Connected and Unconnected Lives
2014 Higher Ed Wicked Challenge: Those that are complex to even define, much less address
With the abundance of content, technologies, and overall participatory options, learning institutions need to lead the way to facilitating finding a balance between connected and unconnected life. With technology now at the center of many daily activities, it is important that learners understand how to balance their connected life with other developmental needs. Educational institutions should lead the way to ensure learners do not get lost and absorbed by the abundance of information and technology, and encourage mindful use of technology so that students stay aware of their digital footprint. As education aligns closer with technological trends, teachers will have to promote this balance, encouraging students to feel, digest, reflect, touch, and pursue sensorial experiences that are crucial to developing character and integrity. Finding a balance and guiding learners to personal success should be society's compromise with new generations of digital natives. Love this topic and it's critical that we help students learn and we, too, model. Reflection/silence/mindfulness training…frame it as your schools needs to market…but the point is that we need to teach/model this behavior (stillness) as it is becoming extinct. We're over engaged and need to design part of our school day that teaches students how to "think without the gadget." We're living in a world–attention economy–where everyone/thing wants a slice of our time. - michael.lambert michael.lambert Feb 4, 2014
Critical to teach how to balance one's life and mindfully select a varied source of input for well being. - deborah.cooke deborah.cooke Feb 6, 2014 Agree - FionaBanjer FionaBanjer Feb 9, 2014

Complex Thinking and Communication
2014 EU Wicked Challenge: Those we understand but for which solutions are elusive
We live in a world where in order to be successful, one needs to be capable not only of complex, expert thinking, but also adept at communicating complex information in accessible, understandable ways. Today’s young people live in a world that is interconnected in myriad ways, and they begin to engage with social media and networks at a very early age. Institutions have the responsibility of informing learners of how to understand relationships and make decisions in that interconnected world. The semantic web, big data, modelling technologies, and other innovations are creating the experimental conditions that have the potential to train learners in complex and systems thinking to create meaningful learning experiences. There are examples of systems thinking used in K-12 education, Camp Snowball, Creative Learning Exchange. There is a book, "The Social Labs Revolution, a new approach to solving our most complex challenges" by Zaid Hassan. He sets out a model using prototyping to solve complex problems.- jmorrison jmorrison Feb 4, 2014 Very, very important for the work world of the very near tomorrow. This is again, part of a cadre of critical thinking skills that are necessary for student success moving forward. Learning how to use/build infographics, use and design with code and connect globally with data that can be sythesized into a bigger picture are some of the skills I think are important. - deborah.cooke deborah.cooke Feb 6, 2014 Highlights the value of ethics, civics, citizenship as drivers for curriculum design - and for technologies as enablers to democratic conversation, networking for positive collaboration and impact in society; understanding how to make meaningful contribution to shared endeavours. Future-focused scenarios that highlight climate change, generations living longer, competition for resource etc highlight the vital importance of education being abut far more than growing discrete skills sets of completing a series of hop jumping exercises. I recommend the work of Keri Facer in this regard and future-focused NZ reports such as this from Bolstad et al. - karen.melhuish.spencer karen.melhuish.spencer Feb 10, 2014

Keeping Education Relevant
2014 Higher Ed Wicked Challenge: Those that are complex to even define, much less address
Many pundits worry that if education does not adapt to the times, other models of learning (especially other business models) will take its place. While this concern has some merits, it is unlikely that schools as we know them will go away. As online learning and free educational content become more pervasive, institutional stakeholders must address the question of what school can provide that other approaches cannot, and rethink the value of education from a student's perspective. - davidwdeeds davidwdeeds Jan 28, 2014 Schools as we know them today are not going to go away until an entire generation of teachers/adminstrators retires or dies. And this isn't necessarily a bad thing. ;) OK, seriously, there's a lot of concern re: privatization, career tracks, etc. Whenever I tout STEM programs, at least one teacher tells me: "We're not a votech institution." And I can understand the skepticism. I'm suspicious of Common Core, e.g., just as I was with NCLB and all the other initiatives that the gung-ho supporters wind up denying any responsibility for later. ;) But as far as I know, with CC an English teacher, e.g., can still teach Shakespeare. Schools are still, and probably always will be, in the unique position of providing students with a WELL-ROUNDED education. I can put a kid on the IB Career Certificate track, e.g., and although s/he will be preparing for a job (and since when is this NOT what schools are for??) there will also be the liberal arts and other class exposure. The problem, IMHO, is that many teachers and administrators stubbornly persist in preparing students for their pasts instead of the kids' futures. And it's only natural that students and especially their parents will consider alternatives. - cristiana.mattos cristiana.mattosÃgain I think we should work towards an AND model, not EITHER/OR. All models have their merits and their place. Education like many other entrenched institutions in our society are coming under greater and greater pressure to change into models that are sleek, effective, innovative and offer seamless connections to many worthy things outside of the classroom for real-world approaches and authentic learning opportunities. - deborah.cooke deborah.cooke Feb 6, 2014

Managing Knowledge Obsolescence
2014 Higher Ed Wicked Challenge: Those that are complex to even define, much less address
Simply staying organized and current presents a challenge in a world where information, software tools, and devices proliferate at the rate they do today. New developments in technology are exciting and their potential for improving quality of life is enticing, but it can be overwhelming to attempt to keep up with even a few of the many new tools that are released. User-created content is exploding, giving rise to information, ideas, and opinions on all sorts of interesting topics, but following even some of the hundreds of available authorities means sifting through a mountain of information on a weekly or daily basis. There is a greater need than ever for effective tools and filters for finding, interpreting, organizing, and retrieving the data that is important to us. - davidwdeeds davidwdeeds Jan 28, 2014 Every Dilbert fan knows this rule from the corporate world: Be a generalist, not a specialist. I constantly get flak because I resist choosing, e.g., one programming language and beating kids to death with it. Learned this lesson during my higher ed days. Worked at a college that taught students Visual Basic...exclusively. Four years of education...then students graduated...and realized that everyone else has long ago forgotten all about it. The key is to keep the skills separate from the tools. I like the IB style of "reflection." After I finish a certain component of my Computer Workshop, e.g., I always ask my kids what they've learned...but that I don't want to hear about the hardware/software itself. Investigation, designing, managing a project, etc. Then I tell them we're going to do something completely different...and ask how they're going to apply these skills to whatever it is. Isn't this what some pundits call "scaffolding"? I call it common sense...a necessary adaption to the reality of the times. - cristiana.mattos cristiana.mattos Feb 1, 2014It's the like the difference between teaching rules or principles. Principles guide our lives and are more generic, but always valid. Rules are specific and change with circumstance. We have to focus on the bigger picture and skills, and let each learner learn what they need specifically when it is relevant. Yes! Please sign me up when these new and very necessary apps are developed! - deborah.cooke deborah.cooke Feb 6, 2014

New Challenges Added by the Expert Panel:

Changing the Current Credit System in High Schools
We're cemented with a format that is outdated. It's like a company thinking the only way to sell their product is between the hours of 8 to 5. Business is open 24/7/365. Businesses have changed their model. The current high school credit system are tied to an accreditation or university application process. Flexibility and adaptability are not part of the equation. Semester, grade and course syllabus are the determining factors. The student, one's interest and resources available in the community are rarely used to design new courses. We're still traditionalists even if we are creative in our courses. A new credit system that allows the student to create their own courses or build their programs should be considered. I'm not saying a complete change in the structure but at least allow for a 20% shift in the present format. - michael.lambert michael.lambert Feb 8, 2014 Also, unless assessment and accreditation models change, it will continue to be a drag on innovation. - roger.blamire roger.blamire Grades and credits are a challenge to innovation. Grades cause students and parents to focus on the wrong thing. The other thing that needs to change is the funding, in California school funding is based on seat time rather than learning. Makes it challenging to change the current credit system. - mrskeeler mrskeeler Feb 10, 2014

User Support is Focused on the Technology, Not the Person.
A majority of schools still have technology support teams that function primarily in the roles of repair, purchasing and implementation rather than instruction. Although one could argue that it is increasingly easy for teachers and other educators to self-teach new technologies, the incorporation of these technologies into teaching and learning is greatly accelerated by the presence of knowledgable instructional teams that collaborate on the evolution of the traditional classroom model into the more constructivist approaches enabled by modern technologies. These personnel are often seen as non-essential, and can be the first on the chopping block during difficult budget decisions. - rob rob Feb 9, 2014

New Challenges Moved Here from RQ2 and RQ3:

The EdTech Backlash
- davidwdeeds davidwdeeds Jan 28, 2014
(Editor's note: Moved here from RQ3) I've been calling it The EdTech Backlash, but maybe this is just because it's been a frustrating year for me in general. There's certainly a MOOC backlash in progress: The issue supposedly is quality, but the more generic backlash against online learning is, weirdly enough, back to teachers worrying they're going to lose their jobs: I've written elsewhere about the problems I've had getting my current school's online programs going. I'll never forget the first day I was to introduce it at a PD session and my director told me to lead with reassurance that teachers are not going to be replaced. *Sigh* Re: edtech in general, it's not just my paranoia: All this time and effort, and educators are still thinking that technology is being introduced as an end in itself? As we used to say in the Navy, "It's a big [feces] sandwich, and we're all going to have to take a bite." What are we edtech evangelists supposed to do? A public relations campaign? I've already announced my intentions for the next school: I'm going to start with methodologies, new ways of teaching, and then introduce the mechanics, aka the tools. That is good David, I agree there is going to be a backlash because people have been promised that TOOLS and devices will save education and they do not. It always comes back to a caring competent teacher. Hopefully the backlash doesn't lash too harshly to getting rid of tech all together (there are some places that have done that), but to shift to a demand for innovating teaching styles with the tech. - mrskeeler mrskeeler Feb 1, 2014 - deirdre.butler deirdre.butler Feb 8, 2014 - judy.oconnell judy.oconnell Feb 9, 2014
I like this and agree, but it reads more like a challenge to me. - Sam Sam Feb 7, 2014 I wonder if the current enthusiasm for teaching coding to school kids might be a passing fad, at least here in Britain. The government case for it is that we need more computer engineers, and that it develops intellectual rigour. I'm not sure it's any better for developing intellectual rigour than, say, maths or science which are already taught, and I wonder if it is as valuable for all students as maths and science are, although it might more motivating for technology-fascinated children and very useful as an optional or additional school subject. It also looks like an over-simplified view of the connection between the workforce and the school curriculum. You don't solve a shortage of architects or brain surgeons by making architecture or brain surgery a school subject; you make sure everyone learns maths and science. Expecting all children to learn to code, from an early age, which is what the British government now requires, could easily make it a very unpopular subject, often taught by people who don't want to teach it and to children who aren't interested. Perhaps, before long, we'll decide that coding is not a life skill, but only a subject or as a career choice for a small minority of school kids, rather like practical electronics. I think it might be a distraction from the, surely much more important, task of helping kids to use computer technology and understand its social, political and economic implications. - paul paul Feb 10, 2014 As someone tweeted recently along these lines: "Empty promises - 1990s: learn to use Word and get a job; 2014: learn to code and get a job." - roger.blamire roger.blamire The EdTech Backlash! Or at least the MOOC/Online backlash! Another example...remember that it's educators badmouthing online learning: Whoever came up with this challenge, please sign it. It's a good one! Plus I'd love a little elaboration. - Sam Sam Feb 7, 2014 - davidwdeeds davidwdeeds Feb 8, 2014 Sorry, forgot my tildes. ;) I've been ranting and raving about this on other pages. Some people maintain that I'm just paranoid, but I see this as a very real phenomenon. I mentioned elsewhere that at my school, when I introduced our online learning program the first thing I was told to say is that teachers weren't going to be fired because of it. Google "MOOC backlash," then try to tell me this isn't real! Re: technology integration, we've gone from educators saying "I don't understand it" to "I don't understand it, therefore it can't possibly be any good." The most insidious aspect, and what will make it the hardest to fight, is that all this "legitimacy" talk is just smoke. What this is really all about is educators fearing for their jobs. Google "computers replace teachers." We're back to the days of the Luddites. "If a computer can teach, then my job/career is over. But I can't come out and say that, so I'll attack the computers themselves. I'll say they can't do as good a job as we humans can." Robots are to auto workers as computers are to teachers...this is the false analogy...but until these fears are calmed it'll be fellow educators who will be our worst enemies re: edtech integration. It's affecting all edtech integration, but let's focus on online learning in's not just MOOCs. People aren't going to say "I'm afraid that if enough people get their degrees online, I'm no longer going to be needed as a tenured professor at my university." Instead, they're going to attack the pedagogy, the rubrics...whatever...of online learning. Via guilt by association all edtech is painted with the same proverbial brush. A subset of this is: "If online degrees are universally accepted as equal...or even onground degrees...then my claim of...uh...specialness?...because I have a such-and-such degree from such-and-such an institution will no longer guarantee my employability." Go ahead...find a professor at a university that offers online degree who teaches online classes...and ask him/her if an online degree is as good as the one s/he spent years...and a small fortune... on the old-fashioned way. And again the extrapolation: If introducing Technology X "waters down" the educational experience, then so does Y, Z, etc. Overall, it's just another excuse to resist edtech integration, but it's the fact that it's educators leading the battle that will do the most damage to what little progress has been made so far. After all, what's the Average Joe/Jane supposed to think? If educators are against educational technology integration, then why should they be for it?

Increased Public and Policy Concern about Privacy (Editor's note: Moved here from RQ3.)
Theoretically, privacy has always been a concern in K-12 and there have been federal laws on the books since early 1970s. However, privacy concerns exploded to the forefront of the news this year, primarily due to national security breaches. However, K-12 has had it's own "perfect storm" as the parents, the media and policymakers have expressed concern about InBloom's proposed use of data. All of this is having an enormous new focus on cloud computing solutions and how student information is stored and accessed. Privacy is now a key issue and will be a driver for K-12 in the foreseeable future. - keith.krueger keith.krueger Jan 27, 2014Keith Krueger, CoSN 1202470-2782- keith.krueger keith.krueger Jan 27, 2014 - deirdre.butler deirdre.butler Feb 8, 2014. Yes - and as we in NZ move into a single managed network for all our schools, this remains an issue for many - karen.melhuish.spencer karen.melhuish.spencer Feb 10, 2014 - davidwdeeds davidwdeeds Jan 28, 2014 Yes, ever since Snowden, I can't mention concepts like Learning Analytics without people rolling their eyes and muttering "Big Brother." Add to this general uneasiness the realities of life in a country like Mexico (violence, kidnappings, etc.) and you have a real problem not just with data usage in particular, but with anything related to sharing information in general. To cite just one example, we can publish photos of kids, but we can't identify anyone by name. What's the point if you can't share with the outside world - cristiana.mattos cristiana.mattos Feb 1, 2014I second this! I think you really have to consider when and why you want to post student details on the web. After all it is their digital footprint not the teacher's . - deirdre.butler deirdre.butler Feb 8, 2014 - GTDeYoung GTDeYoung Feb 9, 2014
There will unlikely be a fail-safe way to protect data and young student data breaches could have truly dangerous implications to this young population. This is something that really needs to be thought through. This makes me think of why those who designed nuclear power plants didn't fully think through with what to do with the waste. - deborah.cooke deborah.cooke Jan 28, 2014 - deirdre.butler deirdre.butler Feb 8, 2014
Privacy will be a big deal as we put devices in the hands of millions of students this next year. Someone will come up with a system to focus on underage users, there will be a lot of attention directed towards this end. - mrskeeler mrskeeler Feb 1, 2014
- giselle.santos giselle.santos Feb 9, 2014With the adoption of wearable technology, biometric screening, big data and adaptive learning in education, we have accepted the implications of managing, reading and analysyng third party data and for this reason we must conceive policies and intentions to safeguard these findings. The rising interest in personal data has made schools and educational institutions potential victims of cyber attacks and data trafficking. It is high time that schools considered data security and protection just as important as connectivity. - anton.inglese anton.inglese Feb 9, 2014Parents and students will soon demand to see and manage their private data in school systems--as FERPA intended, in the traditional sense. It isn't unreasonable for parents and students to be able to download their data. MyData Button Initiative - People already allow a great deal of information every time they hit "agree" on the update of an app. There are companies that provide data from social networking apps to schools to help with bullying, suicide and security ( There is a need for better legislation, digital literacy, and perhaps software that protects personal information - ryan.tomaps ryan.tomaps Feb 10, 2014 Agree - digitalroberto digitalroberto Feb 10, 2014 Throughout section 1 I placed comments about data privacy concerns. This is going to be one area of great interest in the next few years fro the education community. The collection of data is incredibly powerful if we can control who has the data and how it's used. Integrating data collection within services we can offer educators within our districts could dramatically impact and improve education; however the current method of an individual teacher agreeing for students to use an app and that app collecting data for the company which is not integrated into district services is of greater concern than ever. - digitalroberto digitalroberto Feb 10, 2014 "Big Data" Makes Folks Nervous... (Editor's Note: Great points were made here, and this fits with the Challenge David D. proposed about Concerns over Privacy, so I am combining the two here.)
Depending on how we talk about the ability to personalize instruction will determine if parents and policymakers will support. All too often, the opportunity of using vast array of data is termed "Big Data". When it is, a strong opposition is formed by those who oppose "Big Government" and therefore they oppose having data held by school systems. Conversely, if you ask parents and policymakers if they support making education more personalized and enable deeper and more individualized learning, they generally support the concept. The 2013 K-12 report talked about "data analytics" which may be a more neutral way to lead this sort of conversation. - keith.krueger keith.krueger Jan 27, 2014Keith Krueger 1202470-2782- keith.krueger keith.krueger Jan 27, 2014 Next to cost, this is the #1 challenge in my book -- and one with will both grow and become more acute in the near future. - mtrucano mtrucano Feb 6, 2014 Agreed!- cristiana.mattos cristiana.mattos Feb 1, 2014 Big data isn't big data when it's talking about one student at a time. - deborah.cooke deborah.cooke Feb 6, 2014 A major problem is that even if the public concerns about student privacy die down (IMO, not very likely...look what's happened to the inBloom project), it's still aspirational--using big data to determine patterns in learning involves the articulation of numerous legacy systems that were never designed to interoperate. The timeline is longer than policymakers would like it to be. - marcia.mardis marcia.mardis Feb 8, 2014 Schools have always had significant responsibility of protecting student data. - deirdre.butler deirdre.butler Feb 8, 2014 FERPA (Family Education Rights & Privacy Act) and COPPA (Children's Online Privacy & Protection Act) are hardly new, but the issue of student data privacy has become the most hotly discussed topic in ed-tech in may thanks to inBloom and those who oppose the collection and analysis of longitudinal student data. Cloud-based data and computing services and mobile apps have made the challenge of protecting the privacy of student data even more difficult. When in the cloud, "ownership" of the data becomes a more difficult question to answer than one might assume. - deirdre.butler deirdre.butler Feb 8, 2014 And with ownership comes very serious FERPA obligations. Many teachers are quick to sign-up their stduents for a variety of online services, such as Instagram and Dropbox, but if those kids are under the age of 13, they can easily violate COPPA by not following the proper procedures. Mobile apps are notorious for sharing usage data with other apps and thus, commercial entities. More privacy concerns. Their are a large number of organization working on data privacy. The Berkman Center for Internet & Society (, CoSN (, iKeepSafe (, Data Quality Campaign (, Common Sense Media, and the list goes on. I agree with the above. Student data privacy is the greatest challenge we currently face and far too few administrators or district leaders are aware of the issue, willing to tackle it, or concerned with it. How little districts know about how data is collected and used by both mobile apps and cloud services is frightening. These services desperately need to be more forthcoming with how the data is utilized. - digitalroberto digitalroberto Feb 10, 2014Privacy is moving to the forefront and demands to manage privacy will soon emerge.- anton.inglese anton.inglese Feb 9, 2014 This is really the fallout of a combination of items on our list - Digital Identity Social Network, Learning Analytics, and other "big data" topics. This is a huge policy concern that can be mitigated by coordination of tools and activities when we stop worrying about just putting a device in everyone's hands and worry about what they will be doing once a device is available. Coordination between teachers and tech departments is essential to creating the learning infrastructure needed to make devices work. This is a key area, but is also a part of many different initiatives.- alex.podchaski alex.podchaski Feb 9, 2014- GTDeYoung GTDeYoung Feb 9, 2014

There is an Ever-Present Digital Divide (Editor's Note: Moved here from RQ2)
I know this is an old topic, but it is critical that we just don't assume that "everyone is connected." According to “Teens and Technology 2013” only 37% of US teens have smartphones. Less than one fourth has a tablet computer and for those that have access to a laptop/desktop computer, 7 in 10 say they share the computer with other family members. (Pew Research Center & Berkman Center for Internet & Society of Harvard). Even if we have access in schools, students are not as nearly connected at home as we think. Data shows a high percentage of homes with "broadband" access, but does that include "4G" type broadband, which could be misleading, as that doesn't necessarily extend to all devices and their maybe high costs associated with large data usage over 4G. I really feel that an underlying theme for this report needs to be that in spite of the tremendous promise for technology, we still have a very wide and deep digtial divide. - davidwdeeds davidwdeeds Feb 5, 2014 Yes, the Digital Divide! You´ll love this story. Some time back, I got a call from one of our vendors. Big sale on interactive whiteboards! Our elementary school still uses them, middle and high school long ago switched to eBeams: Anyway, I was curious why they were suddenly such a bargain. Seems the government of Mexico bought thousands to distribute to poor schools. The problem? Many of the schools they wanted to give them to don´t have ELECTRICITY! So now there´s a warehouse full of them. The point is that when it comes to bridging the Digital Divide, you´ve got to set some priorities. Progress is being made. As I´ve mentioned elsewhere, one of my favorites is the Kennari tablet: On the software side, there´s Open Source: I think the digital divide is a bigger problem than is often recognised, because surely it's not enough for some of the kids, or even most of the kids in the class to be allowed to bring their own device - every single child would need to be able to bring their own and the teacher would even then need some spares for those pupils who had forgotten theirs that day? The reason is that any student who didn't have a device could complain, entirely reasonably, that they were being disadvantaged. You can imagine the fuss that parents who couldn't afford to equip their children with smartphones would make. If the devices are useful (and why allow students to bring them otherwise?) then those without them are disadvantaged and the school could scarcely defend that situation. Even if the school provides a device to those students who don't own one, those students are likely to be stigmatised as the poor kids. This suggests to me that BYOD will be very difficult to achieve until digital devices (smartphones and portable computers) are as cheap and ubiquitous as pens and pencils are today, because pens and pencils are the only devices which schools, in the developed world, can reasonably expect all students to own and bring with them (and even that's quite difficult sometimes). I think the way forward is for the school to provide the devices. After all, we are always being told that teachers fail to make sufficient use of the technology they've got - that's perhaps what we should concentrate on, not bringing in still more technology to be underused. - paul paul Feb 10, 2014