You know the saying “The only constant is change”. Life means change, and every aspect of life is affected by it. Thanks to — or because of — technology change happens at a faster rate than ever before, and education makes no exception. Edtech is always changing.
Edtech trends come and go. While some are worth following or at least worth considering, others fall flat in the abyss of time. How to know which is which? There is no right answer to that, but keeping an eye on the right people can’t hurt. Who are these right people? There is no perfect answer to this question either.
But any of what currently happens in edtech couldn’t be possible without the driving passion for education and technology of people. All the trends and all the advancements in education are based on living breathing people who want to make the world a better place.
They can be educators who are directly involved in the process of knowledge transfer in a classroom, administrators of any kind of educational institution, policymakers, business people, activists, researchers, bloggers, and so on. Some of them are more vocal, others are more shy, but one thing is certain: where there is a burst of passion, good things happen.
Top 10 edtech people to watch in 2018
Without further ado, here is a very subjective list of 10 such people that are active in the education technology landscape and make an impact in it through their work and dedication.
Jennie’s name is almost a synonym for “edventures”. She believes that every classroom can be a place for these educational adventures — or student-centered, passion-based learning experiences — despite the many challenges facing schools today. She is the Chief Program Officer of EdTechTeam and an active supporter of targeted professional development for teachers all over the globe.
As the Executive Director of ICWE, Rebecca Stromeyer has been a champion of e-learning for decades, organizing some of the world’s most popular education events: OEB Global and eLearning Africa. Both these e-learning conferences, along with her other events related to education, gather together thousands of people annually to exchange ideas and make schools across the world a better place for teaching and learning.
A blogger, speaker, author, technology advocate and prominent voice in social media, Rafranz Davis aims to bridge the digital divide in schools. Her entire career is centered around empowering students and teachers to share their voices throughout their communities and the world. She is the winner of ISTE’s Outstanding Leadership Award 2017 and holds many other industry distinctions, including a Microsoft Innovative Education Expert and Global Minecraft Mentor.
A former school principal and teacher, Thomas Murray is passionate about proper digital learning implementation and personalized professional learning. He is the Director of Innovation for Future Ready Schools, which provides implementation strategies for student-centered, personalized learning for K-12 schools. He also co-founded #edtechchat, a weekly educational technology Twitter forum, where hundreds of educators from around the world discuss digital learning.
A famous quote of Albert Einstein goes “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.” Angela Maiers goes on to say “You are a genius… And the world needs your contribution.” Maiers is a firm believer that each and every student matters and this idea is at the core of the Genius Hour movement. She works with teachers and students of all grades and encourages them to recognize their power to impact the world in a positive way.
With more than 20 years of classroom experience, Mark Anderson knows that listening to the student voice when developing digital programs in schools is as important as the technology itself. He knows pedagogy isn’t something to be forgotten in any digital endeavor. Mark writes the ICT Evangelist blog, is a consultant and speaker, and uses his experience as a former school leader to advocate for the meaningful use of edtech in the classroom.
Richard Culatta is the current CEO of International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) and former Director of the Office of Educational Technology for the U.S. Department of Education. He began his career in the classroom as a high school teacher and, across his career, has coached educators and national leaders around the world on using technology as a tool to reimagine learning. His work centers around enabling innovation through education.
Anthony Salcito uses his role as the VP World Wide Education for Microsoft USA to carry out the company's mission to increase technology’s role in the classroom. He aims to transform the way we learn with the support of the best technology to help build critical skills for the modern, global workplace. He also authors the Daily Edventures blog which highlights the inspiring stories of educators, students, education thought leaders and school leaders from around the world.
Phil Hill is Co-Publisher of the e-Literate blog, Co-Producer of e-Literate TV, and Partner at MindWires Consulting. With a knack for analytics, he pinpoints e-learning trends and explains their implications for the online education sector. He uses his experience to help schools, edtech vendors and policy makers as they consider implementation of new initiatives.
Eric Sheninger is an award-winning former principal who is changing the way that schools think about and also use technology. His primary focus is helping schools harness the power of edtech and use it not only to connect with students but also to help them achieve academically. He is a Senior Fellow and Thought Leader on Digital Leadership with the International Center for Leadership in Education (ICLE) and authored the Pillars of Digital Leadership, a framework that identifies specific areas of school culture that can be improved through technology.
And so ends our very subjective list of people to keep an eye on this year if you’re interested in keeping up with the always changing edtech landscape. Who else would you add to it?