The four K–12 education tech trends emerging in 2017.

Meghan Bogardus Cortez outlined her top four K-12 education trends for 2017. Meghan is an associate editor with EdTech: Focus on K–12. She enjoys following all the ways technology is constantly changing our world.

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K–12 Google Chromebook sales surpassing 51 percent. President Obama declaring that computer science is for all. An explosion of augmented reality and virtual reality. In 2016, teachers, administrators and students truly were on the front lines of incredible tech innovation.

The good news is that all of this new technology didn’t deter educators from dabbling and experimenting with it. For example, last year teachers said they were more comfortable using technology than ever before. Twenty-four percent of teachers surveyed by Education Week even said they considered themselves to be “risk takers” in terms of tech use.

Here are four education technology issues that took center stage in 2016 and are sure to be trending in 2017:

1. Creating Future-Ready Networks for Future-Ready Students

Preparing students for the tech-based workforce proved to be an ongoing impetus for the future of K–12 education. However, this requires an influx of technology, such as the massive one-to-one Chromebook deployment for example.

A robust infrastructure — including strong wireless networks — is a requirement for supporting and sustaining any updates to education technology. Building a strong, scalable network is the first step to establishing a future-ready school. But schools should always be ready to change both their thinking and their networks for whatever the future brings.

Conversations schools are having now can not only impact the ‘now,’ but also are part of the future.

Another component of getting students ready for the future is making sure they are using tech as they might in the real world. GK thinks this is a huge reason to create a ubiquitous network. However, this can also be done with a shifting of the curriculum.

With Common Core Standards requiring that students employ technology and use devices with tremendous computing power, K–12 schools are getting even closer to recreating the working environments of the real world.

2. Embracing Computer Science Education for All Students

President Obama began 2016 by declaring computer science education to be a huge priority for U.S. schools looking to prepare students for the digital economy.

“In the coming years, we should build on that progress, by … offering every student the hands-on computer science and math classes that make them job-ready on day one,” the president said in his 2016 State of the Union address.

This program began as a means to address the lack of diversity in many tech fields.

Less than 10 percent of computer scientists are African-American or Hispanic, and only 18 percent of women major in computer science at colleges and universities, the National Science Foundation reveals.

Some educators have embraced computational thinking — thinking like a computer and using concepts of computer science to solve problems — with and without technology in order to demystify the topic for the youngest of students. Tech tools like the Minecraft: Education Edition have also given students the benefit of learning engineering skills through play.

The concept of computational thinking was also embraced by The College Board when they created AP Computer Science Principles, a high school course designed make the topic accessible for more students than ever before. The course, which launched last fall, experienced the largest AP course launch ever, with over 25,000 students participating.

3. The Power of Personalized Learning Through Tech

Technology has also allowed more teachers to provide a personalized learning experience for their students, something that New Media Consortium identified as a growing factor in embracing ed tech.

GK’s Jigsaw virtual learning platform is similar the the one used at Arlington Public Schools in suburban Washington, D.C., The platform offers the ability to collect data and get live feedback from students and teachers has fueled more engagement because students are able to choose how they learn.

The platform is the perfect tool to allow each student to take charge of his or her learning experience. Additionally, more accountability has provided better learning outcomes. Technology allows teachers to be in multiple places at a time.

4. The Virtual Future of Immersive Education

Thanks to the explosion in popularity of Pokémon Go last summer, augmented reality and virtual reality have been huge buzzwords in the education world this year.

A survey found that an overwhelming 85 percent of teachers think VR is beneficial for their classrooms, but only 2 percent are currently using it. Inroads are being made as more tools come out — and make VR application a real possibility. GK is creating its first VR music book and curriculum this year.

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Interactive In-Cinema Advertising: Part 1

Japan cinema going is becoming more and more popular. You may not know but some of the most frightening films originated in Japan; The Ring, The Grudge, One Missed Call.
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Cinema actually is the oldest mass audio-visual medium. But it is also as passive as media consumption gets.The imaginative application of digital technology by Sairis and Activate may change this in Japan.

An innovative proprietary technology combines mobile and social-networking applications to interact with consumers in Japanese movie theaters.

“In-cinema advertising gives us an opportunity to create a dialogue with the audience who is there, present and ready to be entertained,” said Ty Giuliani director of Activate.

Theater advertising is one of the fastest growing in paid media. Overall, cinema ad revenues saw a double-digit increase last year, jumping nearly 19 percent.

Advertisers are poised to take advantage of the full movie going experience, from theater lobbies to concession stands, producing a sizeable growth in integrated campaigns. “This can, literally, double or triple the impact a brand can make on the movie-goer,” said Tim Smith of Sairis group.

One goal is to keep consumers engaged long after the final credits roll. “What you start to do is you raise the engagement level of your movie-goer,” said Takeshi Abe of Japan’s Media Box”

Media Box is testing Audience Game, The intent is to create a “well-planned, well-calculated interactive component that enhances the experience, is a lot of fun and doesn’t get in the way of the [bigger] picture –no pun intended.

“We believe that interactivity will enhance the movie-going experience, offer brands an interesting way to engage consumers and create a fun atmosphere in the cinemas,” said Abe, “We are hopeful that it will bring incremental media dollars to the medium too.”
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“I think it will definitely drive ad sales. I could imagine it changing the pricing models with a premium for interactive campaigns. The cinemas that support this functionality would have higher rates and the demand for available inventory would become extremely competitive.”

Apple’s 3G Instruction Video an Advertisement?

One of the most talked-about aspects of the Apple iPhone 3G is an approximately half-hour instructional video on Apple.com that lovingly details each new feature and function. But if you really think about it, it’s a 30-minute advertisement, said Charles Golvin, principal analyst at Forrester Research.
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“Even though it’s educational and you’re giving people an experience, it’s this really sort of deep immersion in Apple’s brand and approach and there’s huge value in that. How often do you get more than a minute of customers’ undivided attention?” Golvin asked.

The educational strategy is not the first time the company has done this, but it’s the longest tutorial to date for Apple.

The biggest takeaway may be in how effective it is at building interaction and engagement with customers who are either preparing to buy or are thinking about it.

“Anytime you have advanced technology it’s important to help consumers understand how to use it and the benefits you get from it. And I think this will be an important tool moving forward,” said Josh Martin, senior analyst within the media and entertainment unit at The Yankee Group.

Mobile Telephony in Japan

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The mobile telephony landscape in Japan is very sophisticated and changes more rapidly than in any other country in the world.

New technologies have been introduced so that customers can use the phone almost with the same functionality of a credit card and certainly vendors have made mobile phones as functional as cash earning the nickname “e-wallet.”

A case in point the extensive train system throughout the country now allows its riders to board the train and pay for his or her fare at the seat. Scanning devices are above each seat next to the reading lamps.
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Even the common Coca-Cola vending machines accept the e-wallet that can be embedded in every mobile handset in Japan. There are over 1.5 million of these type vending machines.

The “Smart” pumps at Exxon Mobile stations, toll-booths on the freeway, theater tickets and so on are all mobile phone payment accessible. Clients cannot afford not to explore this opportunity before their competitors embark on a faster track to potential consumers.

Toward that end it is extremely important that brands deliver a snapshot of the relevant mobile or m-commerce and securities technologies and how they could impact the future development of their businesses.

Craig Courter, COO of Baker McKenzie, said, “We live in an ideas jungle…. the most important skill a project manager can bring to bear is the ability to sort, categorize and prioritize all of the ideas…only then can you implement a change that truly advances your strategy.” In the mobile telephony industry there is truly a jungle of new ideas.