, a Finnish nonprofit education organization, recently announced its top 100 K-12 innovations globally. The list includes some incredible and inspiring innovations that are available for free, are impactful and scalable, and are aimed at helping children learn and flourish.

Why is this important? Because we live in the digital age of education and mere access to computers, the internet, and basic educational software will no longer cut it. We need innovative programs so students can get more involved in their classes.

It is, therefore, imperative that education leaders and policymakers work together to foster innovation and clear all hurdles to prepare K-12 students for an increasingly digital future.

The benefits of technology cannot be emphasized enough.

  • Technology provides individualized learning and helps personalize activities to serve diverse student needs.
  • It can help education by supporting playful learning through approaches such as gamification.
  • It allows students to collaborate and engage with peers beyond geographical barriers.
  • It offers platforms for data collection and analysis that lead to improvements in the broader education system.
  • Technology enhances student-teacher interactions and leads to better learning.
  • The interactive and immersive nature of ed-tech also helps reinforce traditional teaching and learning practices by blending with the interactive. Students have the opportunity to evaluate what they have learned and creatively apply it in real life.

More importantly, technology has the power to mitigate digital inequity. Tech can help information reach students in remote areas where access to classrooms and regular educational materials may be scarce. It can also give students with disabilities better access to learning.

A report for 2020 by CoSN delves into these issues, explores solutions, and states how forward-focused educational leaders can utilize accelerators to overcome hurdles.

The report found that innovation ruled in every sphere of education. However, scaling and sustaining the innovation scored big, too. It’s not enough to introduce something new; it is important to integrate that into the very fabric of our learning process.

We hope to see a greater focus on digital equity in 2020. Students from all backgrounds need to have better access to technology to experience the innovations that are poised to change their world.

There also need to be conscious efforts to decrease the gap between technology and pedagogy with ongoing tech advancements. One major hurdle to overcome is teachers’ comfort levels with technology.

The U.S. spends close to $13 billion on ed tech, but the funds are of no use if knowledge isn’t imparted correctly on instructors. A significant percentage needs to allocate for the ongoing professional development of teachers and inculcate the higher-level, in-demand technology skills that they need.