Education is being reshaped for students and teachers alike through new, innovative teaching methods, advancements in technology, and programs designed to make that technology available to as many schools as possible.
In the last five years, education has been changing in so many ways so quickly that it can be difficult to tell what all this upheaval will lead to. But in a broad sense, it is not hard to see that all these changes are pointing in one direction: increasing educational opportunities for all students.
Much of this can be accomplished through individualized learning, where each student’s needs, learning style, and interests are combined to create a sort of personal curriculum. If this result seems far away, consider how the following trends are making this idea closer to reality everyday.
The biggest change has been the increasing power, portability, and lower price for computers. From smartphones to tablets to Chromebooks to notebooks, more computers are in more students’ hands than even before. Some schools are buying the machines while others are allowing students to bring in their own devices. Add to that the push to bring broadband into every school, via President Obama’s ConnectED proposal, and it’s obvious that each of the above devices will be constantly connected to the Internet.
On the curricula side, the Common Core State Standards are calling for deeper understanding of key concepts and pushing schools to make sure students can apply these concepts to real-life work. Accomplishing this ensures that each student is either college- or career-ready by the end of 12th grade.
Class styles are changing, too. Less frequently, teachers are giving whole-class instruction where they parcel out information to students. More classes are now online or blended, which is a mix of online and face-to-face. Classes are also being “flipped,” where teachers assign a video lecture for homework, and students use the class time to work collaboratively and apply the knowledge to various problems. Add in brain research that explains exactly how students learn and the data explosion that can tell teachers specifically which students understood her lesson before it’s over, and the trend is more obvious.