5 Tech Driven K-12 Trends

Futurists fascinate me, especially when it concerns my passion of K-12 education and student success. I am driven by my strong belief that every child should have access to a high quality education. Education changes lives. No child should be denied the transformative power of great teaching and learning. Technology is the game changer in education evolution. A recent Hanover Research article about future trends in education demonstrates:

  1. Schools will flow and evolve with the continued development and adoption of educational technologies. Technology rules! Pedagogy and classroom design, along with increased availability of student and personnel data will drive public school transformation!
  2. Collaboration will be a #1 priority. Classroom spaces and a wider range of technology will promote student, teacher, and community collaboration. When a teacher needs information or advice about how to do their job more effectively, they go to other teachers. Teachers turn far less frequently to the experts and are even less likely to talk to their principal. Further, when the relationships among teachers in a school are characterized by high trust and frequent interaction—that is, when social capital and culture is strong—student achievement is more likely to be strong.
  3. Personalized feedback will be essential and instantly available for continuous  improvement of content  delivery.  An important (and arguably the primary) function of assessment is helping students to learn. A mark or a grade tells students something about the effectiveness of their learning, but not very much. They will know that they have succeeded or failed by the assessor’s standards, but often will have little idea of why. If they are to recover from failure, or deepen their understanding, students must have clear explanations, suggestions for improvement and immediate personalized feedback.
  4. Learning analytics will be central to  improving student outcomes. Undoubtedly, with the growing adoption of technology in education and with better data gathering and analysis tools available, analytics will play a significant role in improving administration, research, teaching and learning, and resource provisions in education. However, technology cannot act alone to radically disrupt and transform education and learning. Educators need to have the knowledge, skills and tools for using analytics in practice to make informed decisions and take action. Analytics poses a new challenge and provides opportunities for educators and technologists to work together to explore new tools and techniques to use data effectively, to bring real changes in teaching and learning and to transform the accountability, efficiency and relevance of education.
  5. Cloud based technology will be the norm.Opportunities for school  districts  to reduce costs is a “no-brainer”. The future is about access, anywhere learning and collaboration, both locally and globally. Teaching and learning is going to be social. Schools of the future could have a traditional cohort of students, as well as online only students who live across the country or even the world. Things are already starting to move this way with the emergence of massive open online courses (MOOCs) and chromebooks. Technology can often be a barrier to teaching and learning. The cloud will go a long way to removing this barrier. Why? By removing the number of things that can go wrong. Schools will not need software installed, servers or local file storage. Schools will need a fast robust internet connection. Infrastructure is paramount.

What are your thoughts about schools of the future?



The Art of Teaching

Students learn by gathering pieces of information and compiling them together to form understanding. New information must then be linked to something we already know. Effective teaching introduces skills, and concepts for learners to contextualize. This context allows students to link and understand information to prior understanding.

It’s why a scripted curriculum, worksheet or a standardized pedagogy is rarely as effective.

Effective pedagogy demands that context be taken into account with not only what we teach, but how we teach. Policies that demand greater standardization without allowing teachers the freedom to contextualize and personalize learning are doing learning (specifically students) a serious disservice.

Finland allows its teachers some of the greatest degree of autonomy of many OECD countries? It is no coincidence that many of the world’s leading education reformers are doing the same.

Maybe Rita Pierson is being a little too simplistic in stating, “Kids don’t learn from people they don’t like,” but the premise is correct. Teachers must know their students, their environment, their likes and dislikes, their interests, and their issues. Being liked by students is a bonus: what is key is knowing your students well enough so you can craft the teaching. And in this environment, the skill of the teacher comes to the forefront. Teaching is not—as too many of our policymakers seem to think—merely about transferring content knowledge.

The skill of teaching is knowing your students and adapting your teaching to best meet their needs. It is done by introducing new information that is linked to prior information, scaffolded by students’ experiences and environment, and making contextually relevant.

 Caring relationships with teachers helps students build resilience. By fostering these relationships, we learn about students’ interests and goals, which are fuel for motivation.

How do teachers plan for this? They form relationships with their students, develop a personalized approach to teaching, and enhance learning. That’s the art of teaching.

Please comment…..I’d love to hear your reflections on the art of teaching.