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The current state of education tech investment is booming, with a 55 percent jump in funding last year and a global market reaching $107 billion this year. There’s never been a more exciting time to be a part of the ed tech space.

But what does all this exciting new investment in ed tech mean for teachers? We at Labster took some time to sort through all of the action and show you the five biggest trends coming your way. This way you can get in early and be ready for the tech your students will be asking for.

1. Adaptive learning software

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Companies like Civitas Learning are working to increase one of our biggest problems in education–student engagement–with adaptive learning software. From the data they collect from students they are able to produce analytics that enable teachers to provide personalized, effective lessons planning that wouldn’t be possible otherwise.

Adaptive learning software can predict which students are most likely to fall of track and also can tell what students are ready to move on to higher level concepts to stave off boredom.

2. Alternative learning styles

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With the world going digital, teachers no longer are limited to the textbook and chalkboard style of teaching we all grew up with. Today there are new teaching tools launching every month that enable teachers to more effectively engage their students.

For example, the in-browser coding curriculum Code School has students watch a short video and then practice what they’ve just learned through a series of coding challenges. All of this is done in the browser and there’s also a mobile that let’s students watch the teaching videos at home or on the go.

3. Classroom flipping technology.

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We at Labster agree with Information Week that the flipped classroom remains one of the biggest trends in ed tech. A “flipped classroom” simply has students watching lectures or doing reading assignments at home and then doing homework or labs in class with their teacher.

The long-time industry leader in this space, Khan Academy, continues to carry the torch for flipped classrooms. However, look for more innovation in this space in 2016 with better analytics for adaptive learning and more interactivity which will lead to higher student engagement.

4. Increasing global access to digital ed tech resources.

Photo Credit: BBC

With hi-speed internet access spreading across the world as a result of initiative’s like Google’s Project Loon, digital education resources are following.

For example, in Cape Town, South Africa, an NGO called Breadline Africa has been able to convert old shipping containers into digital classrooms for community use. Each container has been fitted with 15 tablets that include the latest ed tech software and digital textbooks.

Michael Goodman, a content manager with Via Afrika, the education company that is spearheading the project recently told the BBC, “I visited one school last week in Limpopo and to see how the kids have responded so positively in working with brand new media has been remarkable. It’s going to be interesting for us to see what the impact will be in a small rural school.”

5. Virtual reality enters the classroom.

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Oculus was acquired last year by Facebook for $2 billion, legitimizing the company in the face of skepticism about what it could bring to the world with its innovative virtual reality technology.

Indeed, just last year the founder of Oculus, Palmer Luckey, said in a White House Google Hangout about the possibilities of virtual reality in the classroom, “It’s going to be really important for [science, technology, engineering, and mathematics] education. Because kids don’t learn best from reading a book or looking at a chalk board.”

Just this summer, we’ve been demoing our Gear VR labs, which utilizes the latest virtual reality technology to create fully immersive lab experiences for students. With VR technology becoming more accessible, look for immersive VR learning solutions to become part of the classroom experience in 2016. If you’re interested in joining the collaboration, sign up for our monthly newsletter and check out our virtual labs.

 

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