With rapid and scaling digitization, the classroom is increasingly a place where technology and traditional education methods collide. Digital knowledge and skills will continue to be critical as Canadian educators incorporate emerging technologies to aid student learning and accessibility, and to engage and inspire a new generation of future leaders. This new landscape is ripe with opportunity, but the challenge remains to better understand the intersection between these developments and evolving student learning experiences.
This study evaluates the increased presence and role of technology in the classroom. Assessing benefits, challenges and future opportunities, this study explores emerging educational technologies, highlights how these digital developments can be leveraged to solve problems, and ultimately how they enhance the student learning experience.
Anchored in a series of insights derived from more than sixteen key informant interviews, this research also showcases the attitudes and insights of educators toward the growing adoption of hardware and software in the K-12 Canadian education system. Accessibility, equity, diversity, connectivity, and teacher training and support were recognized as foundational concepts for largescale implementation of technology in the classroom. Collaboration and partnership between academic institutions and industry, and effective procurement policies for digital tools are pathways for the effective implementation of technology.
Given the challenges and complexities of navigating the Canadian K-12 education system, stakeholder engagement will be crucial to ensuring coordinated efforts. Future efforts must involve policymakers, school districts, educators, parents, Indigenous communities, technology providers, and the general public to address the following issues in emerging education technology:
- training educators in the use of technology
- effectively integrating technology into the classroom
- addressing challenges of insufficient broadband connectivity
- recognizing unique cultural needs for local communities
- managing technology-related distractions
- assessing learning outcomes and new skills development
- ensuring student data privacy protections
Technology is becoming the fabric of our daily lives and the classroom is no exception. New and transformative technologies like artificial intelligence (AI), Augmented Reality/ Virtual Reality (AR/VR), and many others are rapidly changing our economy and providing new opportunities on a global scale. Regardless of the method of administration, the blending of technology and education has been found to help students achieve better educational outcomes while also expanding their interest in subjects such as computer science, interactive digital media, and cultural preservation.
The demand for talent in Canada’s digital economy is expected to reach approximately 305,000 by 2023.1 Critical areas include data science, user experience design, software development and many other technology roles. But the core skills of this demand are agility, teamwork, flexibility, and the need for lifelong learning. Tech-integrated education changes and amplifies student learning by providing the interactions that can shape their future educational journey and encourage new ways of thinking. By developing these foundational concepts from an early age, technology in the classroom is key to equipping students for success in a rapidly expanding digital economy.