Teacherbytes on December 31, 2019

Over the past several days there have been many retrospectives of not only the year 2009 but of the 200X decade. There are also predictions of what is the come in 2010 and the next decade. Okay, here is another one for you. Feel free to bookmark this post and bring it up on December 31, 2019 and rub it in my face. How good am I at prognostication? Let’s see, I thought notebooks would be $100 or less by now and the PSP might make a good educational technology tool (I am still holding out on the $100 notebook but Sony has greatly disappointed me). For this exercise I will try to remember how things were in 1999, look at how they are today, and try to see what might pass in the next 10 years.

Classroom Displays

In 1999 Hilton Head Island High School still had chalk boards and I had to breath in chalk dust as I taught Social Studies. If there was any video to be shown it was done on a television with a VCR attached. For me to display anything from a computer it still took a digital to analog signal converter to do it. Not that it mattered, the only thing I could really show was PowerPoint slides. There was not much else to view from the Internet.

Today almost all the classrooms in H.E. McCracken Middle School and in fact, the Beaufort County School District now have either Smart or Promethean Interactive Whiteboards. Each board is connected to the Internet which can now show much more than PowerPoint slides. There are many sources of video and other content to help teachers make learning more meaningful. Students can interact with these boards with classroom response systems.

In 2019 I see classrooms having large thin panel displays similar to OLED Televisions. These displays will have a touch interface much like what has been seen in movies like Minority Reports. Students will also interact with these displays from their seats or homes via handheld slate devices similar to iPhones.

Student materials

In 1999 students loaded up bookbags with heavy textbooks, notebooks, and writing instruments. Maybe they carried calculators or a lucky few had cell phones. The weight of the bookbags are almost a crushing weight. There are fears of potential back problems that may afflict students in later years. Some students may have desktop computers at home and even fewer have access to the Internet.

Today things have not changed too much for students. They still carry heavy bookbags with the same items found in 1999. Almost all students have cellphones but they almost universally banned from schools. They sneak them out in class to interact with each other because their teachers probably don’t let them interact in class and engage in the lesson. These cellphones now have far more computing power than was available on my computer 10 years ago. Students probably now have their own notebook computers but are generally discouraged to bring them to school because of fears of what they may do if allowed to access the Internet or afraid of other liability issues. This equipment almost is never engaged with the classroom interactive displays.

In 2019 students will bring either a powerful handheld device or slate that will have both Internet connectivity and their Math, Literature, and English Language Arts textbooks stored in them. Science and Social Studies textbooks will not be around because students will be researching the information they need for assignments from the Internet. Information is changing so fast teachers and publishers have just about given up publishing textbooks in those two subjects. Their devices will tap into the interactive displays mentioned above for students to display homework or projects or work a problem for other to see while the student is still seated. The teacher can pull up a student’s display onto the main monitor at any time. Audio and maybe video will be recorded for playback and linked to notes students take on their devices.

Media Creation

In 1999 video camcorders were large devices that mostly produced analog images. It was hard and time consuming to edit these videos into anything useful in class. Cameras were mostly film variety but digital was becoming more popular but bulky and what could be done with the pictures? Sometimes they got posted on a posterboard for a project. There was very little space to store both digital video and photographs.

Today, cameras and camcorders are in phones or devices that can fit in the palm of your hand. There are many apps to edit the media created both on a computer or online. Storage is easier thanks to large and cheap hard drives or flash drives. Pictures can be placed into apps such as Photo Story to create entertaining shows. Video can be uploaded to video sharing sites such as YouTube where the content can be embedded into webpages, blogs , or wikis. Teachers can record what they present on their Interactive whiteboards and share it for students to review if they wish.

In 2019, media creation will be blended with computing devices such as cameras and camcorders are with cellphones today. The biggest difference is video will be streamed live. This means students may not have to be physically in a classroom for instruction to go on. There still will be classrooms with teachers and students but students and teachers may be matched up so strengths and weaknesses compliment each other. Media creation may be the most common way assignments are completed both in and out of the classroom.


Okay I am not going to bore you except to say assessments have not changed much in the last 10 years. The only exception is some assessments are completed on a computer so test data can be accessed quicker. However, in 2019 No Child Left Behind will be an ugly memory (one can dream). Assessments will be done by special software which can take portfolios of student work and gauge how the student is doing. These assessments will be ongoing constantly giving students, teachers, administrators, and parents feedback and data they need. Not only will items assessed today be assessed in 2019 but collaboration effort and quality of resources used are judged too since they are critical skills in the 21st Century workplace. Gaming will also be used to assess students in some circumstances.

There you have it in one neat package. My review of the last ten years, how things are today, and my predictions for the next 10 years. Please enter your thoughts or predictions in the comments. I think I will place the URL for this post in Google Calendar set for December 31, 2019 so I can think about and see just how I did. Hopefully, all you will have a happy and prosperous New Year. Also, I might as well wish the same for the coming decade. Let’s make a date to meet back 10 years from today to see how well we did.

Happy New Year!