EdTech Watch List 2023

Digital innovative technology is on the minds of faculty, students, and higher ed leadership broadly. What’s next and what educational technology trends should you be watching? Digital Learning & Innovation’s Educational Technology team crafted a technology-rich list of trends to have on your radar as you prepare for classes this academic year.


Amod Lele, Manager, Educational Technology

By the end of 2023, the potential uses (and abuses) of ChatGPT in a teaching context had already become well known. What is striking to me is how much the technology was already changed. This spring, when ChatGPT’s technology was based on the GPT-3 technology, it was clear that ChatGPT could produce a passable student paper but not a good student paper. The new version, powered by GPT-4, has shown itself capable of producing essays that can receive an A at Harvard. Snipe about Harvard grade inflation as we may, this is still an indication that as ChatGPT-3 is replaced by ChatGPT-4, we can no longer base our assignments on the assumption that AI-generated papers are mediocre at best.

Virtual Facilitators and Learning Environments

Chihsun Chiu, Educational Technologist

Today education has been used as a means to develop minds capable of expanding and leveraging the knowledge pool, while Artificial Intelligence (AI) provides tools for developing a more accurate and detailed picture of how the human mind works. Since 2019, the pandemic brought the “School-from-Home” scenario that one could have never imagined. Research shows that virtual human guides and facilitators have been successfully used in a variety of educational and therapeutic environments. This means in 2024 that we will continue to see an accelerated rate of digitization and virtualization and more computer-supported learning in education.

OER Case Studies

Dave DeCamp, Educational Technologist

Case studies are known to promote contextualization of course content in a way that allows students to apply knowledge and practice skills. A major advantage of case studies is actively engaging students in problem solving, analytical skills, and the development of discipline specific skills depending on the case and course. Introducing a case study as a group activity allows students the same advantages as previously stated, but adds a component of collaboration, accountability, and further content engagement through discussion (Dunne & Brooks, 2004). Case studies can be created offline for use as worksheets/group activities in class, made in Blackboard for out-of-class work, or available through open-source case study platforms (such as Gala) to facilitate deeper student engagement with course content by linking it to a variety of real-world scenarios and applications.

Creating short case studies that are incorporated into the lecture and allowing students to discuss the case with neighbors in class before responding or providing multiple case study options through Blackboard for students to work in groups of 2-3 and submit as a group, can provide many of the same benefits. Incorporating answers into a Google form or other shared format allows the instructor to show the collective class results in real-time and provide a jumping off point for further class discussion. Inclusion of a Google Doc or other platform for student comments and questions during the discussion can create a sense of community and keep the activity manageable for the instructor. Grading these activities should be based on completion to minimize the grading burden. CTL and Educational Technology are available to assist with guidelines for creating case studies specific to large courses and any technology that may be needed to carry out the activities.

Explorance Blue: Course Evaluation Software

Damon Carlson, Senior Educational Technologist

2023 sees the introduction of Blue, by Explorance.  Blue is the new web-based course evaluation software that will be rolled out beginning in the Fall of 2023.  Blue is completely digital and will allow for the gathering and analysis of student course evaluation data via Blackboard, email, and web-based browsers.  Blue also offers the ability to analyze student response data as well as demographic data, and cross-reference both to influence course offerings, improve teaching, and evaluate programs.  Blue will also be compatible with the new student information system (SIS) once it comes online in 2024-25.

Multimodal AI Models

Maria Afzal, Educational Technologist

In late 2022, we witnessed the rise of Generative AI. The boom began with AI image generators and reached its peak with the release of ChatGPT. As we move forward, we can expect to see multimodal models play an increasingly important role in shaping the future of GenAI. Multimodal AI combines different modalities, such as audio, text, images and videos to achieve improved accuracy and better contextual understanding.  If you need to prepare slides according to a specific style, for example, you could ask the model to “learn” how headlines are normally written based on the data in the slides, then feed it slide data and ask it to write appropriate headlines. Multimodal AI can also be used to combine visual information with other modalities to improve video captioning, video summarization, and video search. New use cases are being tested, and are likely to be developed in the coming months, paving the way for more diverse and personalized learning paths.

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