18 Predictions for Educational Trends in 2012
Something is happening in education. Do you see it? Education is changing. Textbook companies realized they have to change. Everything is going digital. Many online courses are now open and free. Educating children is different than it was a few years ago. But what does that mean for schools and teaching? Learners are different. Learners are demanding to learn when they want to learn wherever they are and in anyway that works for them. They use new tools that are not allowed in most classrooms. They do it anyway. They are dropping out of school or taking classes online. Parents are looking for alternatives. Learning matters!
Maybe you noticed that students are taking responsibility for learning how to do this or that on their own…that is, mostly outside of school. They need to know something so they google it or ask others. The teacher is no longer the only expert in the class. Teachers have less professional development or access to resources so they are trying to figure things out and still teach to the test. That part has to change. Teachers may not want to change because they only know what they were taught — to be the expert in the class. They are being evaluated by test scores so the pressure is on them. But, even with that, teachers are asking other teachers for help in the next classroom, going online or figuring out things on their own. Some teachers are realizing that their students have the expertise they need especially when it comes to technology. As a coach working with teachers I realized that I had to see how and why everything was changing. I cannot assume that professional development, curriculum design, and instruction will be the same so I had to rethink my coaching and how I support teachers and schools.
In doing this, I thought I’d make several predictions on what education could look like and what I’d like to see in 2012:
- Teachers understand how each student learns. They use different methods of assessing how each student learns best and along with each learner keep track of their learning.
- Assessment is ongoing since learning is not a constant. Learners are collecting evidence of their learning and reflecting on their learning.
- Teachers collaborate with teachers that teach the same subject or grade to design or adapt instruction that is individualized. This means instruction is paced to the learning needs of their students so students can pace through the content at different levels based on their learning needs.
- Teachers share content and lessons online and realize that it’s not that important to reinvent the wheel or keep content to themselves anymore.
- Teachers are no longer the hardest working people in the classroom. They are appreciated as a facilitator or “guide on the side” instead of the only content expert. Teachers are more like a coach encouraging students to find their strengths and go with them.
- Learners determine their strengths and weaknesses and share their expertise with other students and teachers.
- More instruction is flipped where teachers and/or students find or create and upload lessons as videos or on websites to the Internet so learners learn the content out of school and then do the real work in the classroom.
- The classroom can be anywhere at anytime. Learning can happen anywhere. Everyone is a learner and a teacher. More learning is mobile and on mobile devices.
- Students have access to what they need when they need it. If a school or district does not have the resources, the learner brings their own device to school. The school represents the real-world and all devices are allowed. Everyone is responsible and trusted.
- Homework is different. Learners watch videos and lessons, learn about content, and learn from each other out of school. They take more control of their learning. No more busywork.
- Forward thinking IT departments allow YouTube Education, Facebook, Twitter, and other social media so students can use real-world tools in school.
- Schools and universities accept prior knowledge, realize that experience matters and students are open to challenge a course or test.
- Assessment is not just about test scores. Learners collect and reflect on evidence of learning. Assessment is ongoing and everyone is part of a feedback loop and supporting each other.
- Teachers are not evaluated by test scores. They have a coach or mentor and are part of a team that supports each other. Teachers collect evidence of learning in their classroom as an ePortfolio.
- Students lead parent conferences with their teachers. They own how they are learning and ask for feedback and help in monitoring their progress.
- Teachers, parents, and other learners are part of each learner’s learning team.
- Professional development involves more collaboration and support for teachers based on their own needs. Coaching teachers and students involves designing assessment strategies, facilitating collaborative planning sessions and redesigning learning environments, guiding student experts who flip the classroom and create websites for the classroom, and helping behind the scenes with ePortfolio design.
- Learning is personalized. Creativity and curiosity is back in the classroom. Learning is passion-driven and joy matters. Learners drive and own their learning.
These predictions may seem like dreams to you, but I really believe they can happen. It is all about our children — right? We need to teach less so everyone can learn more.