2021 Innovations In Education
Reviewed by Jon Konen, District Superintendent
What to Watch for In K-12 Education Trends
When it comes to early childhood education as well as that of students going on
through the 12th grade these days, many educators at different levels are looking to find innovative ways to deliver learning content. The goal is to maximize their students’ potential as well as their productivity.
The need for more innovations in education has another tone to it, as well; one that speaks to what the United States needs in terms of education preparation for oncoming shifts in the global workforce and what is needed remain competitive against other nations around the globe. To help you understand what is changing in the education landscape, we’ve compiled a few noteworthy news items for educators.
Below, you will find a few trends that have begun to be implemented more in
different schools around the country.
Awareness Of Data And Student Privacy
Schools around the U.S. are beginning to see the value of collecting data, not only
from their education professionals, but also from their students. This has led to an increase of data collection initiatives with an eye towards boosting student attendance and subsequent achievement.
For example, one report conducted by an educational research institute in June of last year gave a fully detailed look at school teacher absences for the prior year with breakdowns by weekdays and other factors. While gaining this information has been beneficial, there is also the concern about crossing the lines when it comes to the privacy of students going forward. With the involvement of parents, many schools and their administrative staff are taking those concerns into account and putting measures into place such as the Data and Privacy Dashboard by the Alliance for Excellent Education. These initiatives have shown an increase in the response students have to the information, leading to more personalized learning experiences.
The Decrease of Paper Textbooks
There are more and more schools who are embracing one of the future trends in education each year, namely the use of tablets and laptops in the classroom. This is mainly due to the features that allow educators to engage students with their lessons and gain rapid feedback. As a result, this has led to a decrease in the amount of paper textbooks being printed. While it’s not an overly drastic decline that’s taking place because of the costs involved with tablets coupled with changing school system budgets, the effect is being felt in that section of the publishing industry. To that end, there are companies which are now beginning to revamp themselves to craft digital education materials to be used in the classroom. This has led to some schools making more use of a digital curriculum in the OER (Open Educational Resources) network with these materials on hand, reinforcing another of the current trends in K-12 education. Digital education, as an industry, is on the rise due to the use of those materials and the willingness of school system administrators to pay fees for support services to the companies creating digital learning materials.
Makerspaces and VR As STEM Pathways
STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) learning saw a sharp rise in the acceptance and implementation of its program last year thanks in part to the efforts of various entities. These include AP and their College Board program that focuses on computer science, as well as local educational entities. These programs are often enacted to attract more girls into STEM programs at an earlier age to better track them into collegiate options with engaging elements in the curriculum. Another example of this innovation in education is virtual reality. Some educators are beginning to see the value in using VR that’s easily accessible like Google Cardboard in conjunction with smartphones to gain a better understanding of the 360-degree environments they create. These students also gain knowledge through the sharing of these worlds with others via hotspots that allow for even more information to be accessed.
Lastly, makerspaces are being touted more and more by educators as a means to use emotive and tactile aspects of learning to encourage a great deal more innovation among K-12 students as well as to build stronger critical thinking skills and more confidence.
If you are looking to stay on top of the latest trends affecting the education landscape in the U.S., you can’t go wrong by learning more about the programs above. If you have other ideas or innovations that you’ve seen implemented in your own workplace, or would like to see…
Let us know about it! Drop us a line and let’s educate one another!