What will 2017 hold for education? We’re hitting that time of year when there will be no shortage of articles and reports with predictions describing what to expect for the coming year. So, we decided to get a jumpstart on it.
Of course, it’s tempting to be dismissive—scanning the headlines knowing that predictions (or polls!) are far from a sure bet. Yet for educators, considering trends across industries in conjunction with current developments in education is constructive, strategic, and provides an edge. It gives us insight, helps us prepare and be proactive, and makes sure that whatever we choose, it needs to help our students be college and career ready—and able to compete on a global level.
In this post, we share our thoughts on current trends and developments within K-12 education and outline a few downward trending ideas for 2017. We hope you’ll share your thoughts in the comments section below!
- ESSA – Every Student Succeeds Act: This will drive a majority of district and school decisions in the coming year. It was signed into law in December 2015, but it’s only just now hitting its stride. ESSA includes provisions that will help to ensure success for students and schools—below are just a few of them. This new law:
- Holds all students to high academic standards
- Prepares all students for college and career success
- Provides more children access to access to high-quality preschool
- Guarantees steps are taken to help students—and their schools—improve
- Reduces the burden of testing while maintaining information for parents and students
- Encourages local innovation and promotes what works
Check out this link for a helpful FAQ: http://www2.ed.gov/policy/elsec/leg/essa/faq/essa-faqs.pdf
- The latest teaching models and learning spaces: The traditional education model has been rapidly transforming in response to digital technology over the past few years, and it won’t slow down anytime soon. This metamorphosis has spawned a variety of new models—some aim to adapt to the changing culture and improve a system that is not serving students adequately, others make accessibility to hardware and online learning more equitable, while some districts are reinventing their learning spaces with a more subtle approach to changing the traditional learning model. Examples of new models include Sal Khan’s Lab School, designed to “investigate and explore new methods of learning and teaching,” and Mark Zuckerberg’s The Primary School, geared to low-income children where health care and education are combined under one roof. Kevin Ryan—Director of 21st Century Learning, Curriculum, and Instruction at Kildeer Countryside School District 96 in Illinois—began to redesign his classrooms to fit the learning needs of 21st century students, and shared what he learned in an article in the June 2016 issue of Tech & Learning magazine.
- AR and VR: With school budgets tight and parents often complaining that children spend too much time playing video games, why are educators pushing students to use a relatively little-understood—but visually powerful—technology? Augmented or virtual reality experiences are a growth area in eLearning. Learners can be placed in a replica of their workspace, or a modeled 3D environment, with content pop-ups and features superimposed. It’s the ultimate in taking the practical! More and more school districts and classroom teachers are finding that virtual reality can be just what they need when classes can’t afford to take a field trip across town, much less to another state or overseas. And that’s just the beginning of the possibilities that VR offers. Long considered a novelty for gamers, VR is making the transition to the classroom for two key reasons: affordability and available content. Inexpensive equipment, offered most notably by Google Cardboard, is helping VR with the affordability issue, while an increasing number of apps aimed at education are helping make content accessible.
- Gamification: It’s been around a while, but it’s just warming up. Gamification makes learning motivating, engaging, and (dare we say it?) cool. Gamification in eLearning follows exciting technologies and innovations within the gaming industry; think even more realistic learning experience potential using virtual and augmented reality. Expect to see more simulation, animations, and narrative-driven games in 2017.
- Personalized learning: Personalized learning is one of the top buzzwords in education now, and it won’t be going away anytime soon. It suggests a host of different learning methods that are typically institution-driven, but more and more educators believe that personalized learning is—and will continue to be—learner-driven. Learners will take control and become not just consumers of content, but active creators of content. Learners will also start building knowledge through collaboration and connectivity using apps like Boxlight’s MimioMobile app, products such as the Deskboard Interactive Table with Projector, and platforms like itslearning’s learning management systems. Now students will be in control not only of when they learn, but will also demand that they contribute to their learning through discussions and collaboration, creating content while doing so. This student-driven phenomenon suggests that schools and higher education institutions will need to respond by creating learning programs that acknowledge that the learner is seeking this kind of personalized experience.
In a Facebook post, Zuckerberg highlighted that personalized learning “helps students reach their full potential” and that it “empowered them to become self-directed learners and connect their daily actions to their long term goals.” He also wrote, “In a personalized learning classroom, technology frees up time for teachers to do what they do best: teach students in small groups and customize instruction.” We couldn’t agree more.
So, what’s trending down?
- So long PARCC?: Last year, the PARCC testing consortium—developed to create Common Core-aligned tests—took a popularity nosedive as a number of states and districts nationwide bailed on the assessment. With only eight states remaining, we think it’s likely headed to the junkyard of gone-by-the-wayside ideas.
- Mass education publishers: Content is king; but content resources are now everywhere we live, work, and play.
- Flash drives, hard drives, CDs, and emailing files: Cloud-based rules. Period.
- “21st century learning” as a single idea or phrase: Ok, it’s almost 2017—this phrase and idea has been dropped into every conversation and used to encompass everything associated with current effective approaches to teaching and learning.
Many have attempted to identify the skills important for a learner today in this era, including:
- Critical thinking and problem-solving
- Collaboration across networks and leading by influence
- Agility and adaptability
- Initiative and entrepreneurship
- Effective oral and written communication
- Accessing and analyzing information
- Curiosity and imagination
But let’s not forget these skills and attributes that will serve learners of all ages in this era:
- Hope and optimism
- Empathy and global stewardship
We are living in what is probably the most complex and chaotic era of human existence. As such, schools must continue to serve their students by helping them become creative, innovative, resilient, empathetic human beings as opposed labeling these all-encompassing skills as solely tied to the 21st century.
- Honest-to-goodness free apps: Remember what your mom or dad said: You get what you pay for. Many “free” apps require additional purchases to access the best content, so you can’t always be sure that these are a great deal.
Are you ready for 2017? Stay up to date on all the latest educational and educational technology trends by subscribing to our Mimio Educator blog!