When looking toward the future of any topic, it’s a good idea to identify key trends that will play a role in shaping that new reality. We’ve updated a few trends from an exponential guide written last year. There are surely more than six trends across learning, but we’ll focus on the following for the sake of this post.
Even before the pandemic, the idea of Micro-schooling or creating ‘Home-school’ Pods were gaining in popularity. Although there is no standard definition covering all micro-schools, the universal theme appears to be providing students with personalized learning and access to teachers to emphasize individual student growth. Pandemic pods are small groups of about three to five students who complete their virtual schooling together for socialization and in-home instruction support.
Sources: Horn, M. B. (2015). The rise of AltSchool and other micro-schools. Education Next, 15(3).
2. Adding creativity back to the classroom
Classrooms focused on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) have worked well over the past decades, but creative people are needed now more than ever. Educators have found that creativity is vital to our learning process and the way we express ourselves as humans. Learning about the creative arts is gaining popularity, and so now is back in some curricula. Many companies have begun to give credit to creativity, even going so far as to list it as a desired trait in their recruiting efforts.
Some education experts predict that classrooms of the past century will soon go by the wayside in favor of more individualized learning. With the freedom that comes from not being locked down by device, location, or time of day, people can learn at their own pace. Self-paced learning not only gives fast learners an edge, but can also highlight learning challenges more quickly. Programs and courses that cater to specific learning challenges like ADHD and Dyslexia are providing learners with the tools they need to learn on par with others in their age range.
4. Changing teaching methods
Leaders in education have started to reach children through new ways of teaching, such as simulated learning, educational games, and even edutainment (educational entertainment). Simulated learning experiences put the student inside the learning. For example, RoomQuake scales a regular classroom into an earthquake simulation. Educational games and edutainment learning methods offer students the chance to get out of the book and into an experience, opening up opportunities for valuable teaching moments. Additionally, this approach gives learners ample opportunity to develop real-world skills, such as working collaboratively and essential time and task management skills.
5. Emerging technologies
From a bird’s-eye view, emerging technologies in education can appear volatile, but this exploration and discovery can close important gaps in access to and quality of education. Leading educators have taken the first steps toward teaching with the help of artificial intelligence (AI) and blockchain in order to guide students’ educational journeys. Other educational innovators have focused on making education more engaging and appealing through virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR). And some leaders are exploring the use of the Internet of Things (IoT) to offer more streamlined communications to students and parents in real-time.
6. Virtual learning
Although online/virtual education has been available via the internet for decades, the current pandemic has thrust most traditional education online. Virtual/online education has not been as widely accepted in K-12 schools as it is in most universities and colleges. Virtual learning does require additional thought and training to create lessons that fulfill curriculum requirements while also keeping students’ attention. As more and more people come online, virtual/online learning can create opportunities for a quality education that didn’t exist before.
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