As 2019 comes to a close, we’re reflecting on a wonderful year — and decade — brimming with advancements in educational technology. Our industry has made leaps and bounds forward over the last ten years. At the end of 2009, it would have been next to impossible to imagine the world of education as it exists today — and that makes it all the more exciting to consider what the 2020s have in store. 

While we’re anticipating another decade of rapid advancements, we can’t get too far ahead of ourselves. Right now, we’re focused on everything on the horizon for 2020. From projects here at Honorlock to overarching trends in educational technology, we have so much to consider. This list is just some of what we’re looking forward to as we head into the next year. 

Security and Privacy

Security is a growing concern in every sector of technology. From fingerprint identification to passwords to public Wi-Fi, the modern world seems fraught with opportunities for personal information to be compromised. Privacy is especially top of mind for faculty, administrators, and students in educational settings. As new technology provides more flexible learning than ever before, boundaries are needed to ensure rigor and these boundaries can carry some concerns. 

For instance, in online proctoring, monitoring is necessary to protect academic integrity, but students want to know that they can still maintain privacy. This is why transparency will continue to be a key factor for educational technology companies. 

From information about how personal data is stored (or not) to insight into how online proctors can prevent cheating without accessing a student’s browsing history or the activity of other devices on their network, students and faculty want to be sure that they can maintain their online security. We’re proud to offer high-quality security to our students today, and we look forward to continued developments as the year progresses. 

Accessibility

Pairing education with technology has already done so much to allow students with disabilities to access more course materials than ever before — including providing the flexibility to learn from home. From screen readers to text-to-talk features to auto-generated captions on video and audio materials, students have better access to educational resources than they ever have, but accessibility continues to be a major concern for most institutions. 

As much as technology has improved accessibility, it also often relies on a single mode of content delivery — typically visual or auditory. It’s vital to provide the same quality of education across all levels of ability, however, and tech advances in the next year (and beyond) will likely move us in that direction. From making sure that online exams work for students with visual impairments to providing accurate transcripts of online lectures for students who are hearing-impaired, these moves forward will help schools make sure that all students have access to educational opportunities.  

Artificial Intelligence

Anywhere you turn, someone is talking about AI. It’s integrated itself into our daily lives at home and on the go in our smartphones and smart home devices. It makes day-to-day life better, and it has huge potential to continue improving things for all of us — especially in educational technology fields. 

The possibilities for AI in education are virtually unlimited. We’re already using it to provide a hybrid between live proctoring and record-and-review exams, and other platforms are using it too. It can help relieve pressure on faculty and administration by reducing the need for human involvement in tasks like proctoring, and it can also help make the student experience more integrated and personal. 

Right now, we can only imagine how this field will expand — not just in the next year, but also in the next decade. As AI  technology continues advancing, more and more will become possible — making life easier for faculty, staff, and students. 

Mobile Learning

Technology that moves us toward more mobile learning opportunities is another hot topic in education right now. Like the rest of the world, there’s a strong push for mobility — most of us can already do most of what we need to do on a daily basis using our smartphones and tablets, so why should learning be any different? 

While the effectiveness of mobile learning is still a bit controversial — as are most technological advances — moves in this direction are an important way to provide better educational opportunities to more people. This is a vital learning tool for working adults. It allows them to tune into a lecture or take a quiz over lunch, fitting their learning around their already-busy lives. 

Many systems have already started moving toward mobility by providing access to LMS dashboards and online exams via a tablet. More development is needed to make this a reliable vehicle for teaching and learning, but 2020 is sure to continue moving us in this direction, allowing institutions to continue reaching more diverse learners. 

To 2020 — and Beyond! 

As we think back on how far education has come, we can’t help but get excited about everything 2020 has to bring. It looks to be an exciting year (not to mention decade) on the educational tech front — and there’s so much we didn’t have room to touch on here. From personalized learning to virtual reality to developments we can’t even begin to imagine, technology will continue to shape the ways we learn and communicate. 

We can’t wait to see what this year has to bring and to share some of the new tech we’ve been working on here at Honorlock. It’s been a great decade for online education, and we’re only getting started. We’ll see you in the new year!