How are Higher Institutions Helping Students of all Age?

Summer Updates in Tech Education – Coming Soon to Your Kids!


It’s been a busy summer of ed-tech conferences – many of which are back in person!  I was excited to present at CSTA 2022 a few weeks ago and took note of some trends.  Now we’re back on the beat, this month we’ll explore the winners and losers of the summer circuit:


Winner:  Higher Education / Not For Profits

Across the multiple events I’ve attended this summer, High Ed. and other non profits have stepped up their game with free, open source, and researched back options for the classroom. World class institutions and regional engagement centers are running booths, doing flash talks, and really trying to get the word out about some great free tools and opportunities for learners of all ages.


Winner:  Mixed Reality

So many headsets, hardwares, and software solutions. Companies that have been at this for a while are reemerging and there are a host of new virtual kids on the block. As mentioned before, the Metaverse is looming and ed-tech has come to play!


Winner-ish:  Games

You pick a subject matter, there’s bound to be a game about it. Whether it’s analog or digital, there are “gamified” options, engaging ed-tech toys, and transformational games. The “ish” on the tail end of this is the lack of research often associated with these products. Flashy tech doesn’t really mean significant learning opportunities.  


Loser:  Game Engines / Big Tech

Woe is me! Previously charming underdog turned behemoth game engine Unity, while gingerly experimenting with forays into the K-12, has taken significant strides backwards in building up rapport with educators. Amidst laying off employees, the company acquired ironSource, often associated with monetization, distribution, and even malware. Yuck.


Meta has lifted their requirement for a Facebook account for Quest 2, but still requires a Meta account, and have upped the cost for their standalone headset by nearly 25%. All the while they continue to grapple with who they are in the metaverse.  


TLDR; While conferences are back in action, we’re calling out the trends we see as we approach the new academic year. Strong were the non-profit sector including higher-ed and other community-facing initiatives. Tech itself was stuck in the meh-taverse with industry giants floundering over profitability and sensibility when it comes to their practices.  


About the Author:

John Balash was instrumental in Digital Dragon’s launch in 2013 as its first Curriculum Director and is now back in the fold as a consultant on all the latest and greatest in tech education.This is John’s latest contribution to a monthly blog series we’ve launched, Tech News from the Frontier. John is the Director of Educational Engagement at Carnegie Mellon University’s Entertainment Technology Center. John has worked on educationally-focused initiatives with clients ranging from D.A.R.P.A. to Disney. Working from both sides of the desk, you can find John in classrooms and conferences around the world exploring new uses for technologies in learning environments.