2019 EdTech Trends: Here’s What 10 Thought Leaders Think

Check out what edtech trends to look out for in 2019!
Contributed By

Sarah Jaffer

Content at Schoology

2019 EdTech Trends: Here’s What 10 Thought Leaders Think

Posted in Schoology | January 16, 2019

2018 was a year of extreme growth for the edtech world. Educators from all over have taken large strides towards concepts such as data-driven decision making, asynchronous PD, AR/VR and much more. Edtech is growing and transforming… quickly.

So, we thought it would be a good idea to touch base with some of the edtech thought leaders who are always thinking about how to innovate further and what’s next for this community.

From Catlin Tucker to Bill Bass to Steven Anderson, we received opinions and thoughts from a variety of influencers very familiar with the space.

Our hope is that their responses inspire you to take a leap of faith when it comes to the classroom this year, whether it’s with one of the trends mentioned here or another one!

We asked them 2 questions:

1. What was your favorite EdTech trend from 2018? And Why?

2. Which EdTech trend do you think people will be talking about at the end of 2019?

Below, we’ll cover some of the highlights…

Taking A Look At The Past

Thought leaders like Bill Bass (President of the Board of Directors, ISTE) and Steven Anderson (Founder of Web20Classroom) were thrilled about the advancements made in coding and other creative areas.

Catlin Tucker (Educator, Trainer, Speaker, and Author) was particularly excited about the growth made in autonomy and student agency, stating that “We must strive to place students at the center of learning using technology.”

Some of the other favorite trends from 2018 included:

  • AR/VR
  • Podcasts
  • Using video for collaboration
  • Project-based learning and competency-based progression

Another interesting observation made by Mike Karlin, writer of The EdTech Roundup, is that “More edtech companies are shifting away from the idea that technology in and of itself is valuable, and coming to the understanding that edtech is only valuable if it supports the needs of students, teachers, and schools.”

This supports the idea that if educators do not have the knowledge and understanding of technology, their students and school will not see the same benefits from that technology as they would with the right training.

Looking Towards The Future

As we get closer to the end of the first month of the new year, many of you may have already started incorporating new edtech trends and concepts into your teaching. But, there’s still 11 months left, so what else can you try?

Our 10 thought leaders’ responses to our second question include some great ideas that we think you’re going to want to jump on as soon as possible! Catlin Tucker expects personalized professional development to be a hot topic and sees the need for school districts to be “rethinking their traditional one-size-fits-all approach to professional development.”

Another interesting viewpoint was around the idea of student privacy. Scott McLeod, founder of CASTLE, makes a good point emphasizing the fact that as social media and other technology platforms continue to grow, there will most likely be discussions around privacy especially in the education space. This is something to be aware of and look out for in 2019.

Let’s take a better look into the rest of the predictions for 2019.


Catlin Tucker: Educator, Trainer, Coach, Speaker & Author

“In 2019, I expect personalized professional learning to be a hot topic. Educators are grappling with what personalization looks like in their classrooms, but it’s equally important for teachers to access personalized learning opportunities. Educators, like students, have access to limitless information and resources. The challenge for school districts will be rethinking their traditional one-size-fits-all approach to professional development. Instead of crowding all teachers into a room for a day of training that may not meet most of their needs, school leaders must encourage, recognize, and value informal teacher-driven learning. Educators should be setting personalized goals, accessing resources to continue learning, and working with a coach to improve their skills. A personalized approach to professional learning is crucial if teachers are going to keep pace with a rapidly changing learning landscape.”


Bill Bass: Innovation Coordinator, Parkway School District and President Of The Board Of Directors for ISTE

“I see proximity notifications as becoming more useful and talked about in 2019. Beacon technology is not new but it’s becoming more secure and can be used in different ways to push out content and information based on the location of the individual.”



Steven W. Anderson: CEO of Web20Classroom and Digital Learning Evangelist

“I hope our conversations shift away from technology in isolation to more highly effective instructional strategies and pedagogical practices that push deeper learning forward. We have to look beyond the “1000 Tools You Need Right Now in 60 Mins” to more digging into what the research actually says about technology integration. And moreover how we can leverage what actually works and make learning more meaningful through EdTech.”


Richard Byrne: President of Byrne Instructional Media, LLC

“I like to think that we’ll be talking about more opportunities for students to design and build augmented reality and virtual reality applications.”


Will Richardson: Co-Founder of Modern Leaders

“Probably VR, AR, AI and other initials. We have a tendency in education to look for the next new thing without focusing the really important old thing: what learning really is. In that light, what do I hope they’ll be talking about? That EdTech is being reframed as LearnTech. Kids and adults use technology in powerful ways outside of classrooms to learn deeply about the things they care about and have a passion for. We need to make technology use inside the four walls look more like that. We need to see technology as an amplifier of learner agency, not just a more productive way to teach.”


Monica Burns: Author, EdTech and Curriculum Consultant at Class Tech Tips, LLC

“I think that augmented reality will reenter the conversation in EdTech. With an increase in options and lower price points, I’m excited to see what will happen with AR this year.”


Will Deyamport, III, Ed.D: Instructional Technologist at Hattiesburg Public School District

“Podcasting has taken off as a medium for individuals to inform, entertain, and empower others. There is a growing number of educators who are becoming podcasters, and I can see 2019 being the year where students will be doing podcasting in the classroom. What makes podcasting so great is the ability to produce a podcast on a shoestring budget. If you have an iPhone or an iPad, there are a multitude of free apps available to produce and host a podcast. If students have access to a Chromebook or a PC, there are plenty of free sites students can use to produce a podcast.”


Scott McLeod: Associate Professor of Educational Leadership at University of Colorado and Founding Director of CASTLE

“At the end of 2019 I think that people will continue to be talking about student privacy and monetization of student data. As social media and other technology platforms continue to harvest our usage data for marketing and business-to-business resale purposes, we will see more questions asked by parents and policymakers about what limits there are on companies’ behavior. There will be some new laws and policies over the next few years that better protect youth and consumers from the never-ending sale of their private and quasi-private behavior to corporations.”


Mike Karlin: Ph.D. Candidate & Associate Instructor at Indiana University

“I think the issue of student data and privacy will be one of the biggest issues being discussed at the end of next year. While there have been more conversations about this topic, I believe this is something that will eventually need to be central to every single EdTech conversation. While we have begun to address this issue in some circles, I think by and large, student data and privacy is something that is often brought up too late, and too superficially to be beneficial. I think by the end of next year, we will hopefully have provided more space and time to have important and necessary conversations surrounding student data and privacy.”


Tom Vanderark: CEO at Getting Smart

“A year from now people will be talking about competency frameworks after SNHU and LRNG expand access to out of school learning. Platforms will be scrambling to improve interoperability of mixed assessments and integrate badge systems.”

Now What?

We hope that this has fueled your enthusiasm for what’s to come in 2019 for the EdTech world, as well as shown you the progression that was made in 2018. Make sure to download the full eBook to see all of the amazing responses we received from these 10 EdTech professionals.

What edtech trend are you looking forward to in 2019? Tell us on Twitter @Schoology

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