Schools are supposed to prepare students for the future. But what if your school is trapped in the past? Every year, education trends shift and evolve as schools attempt to provide a better learning experience for students. Your own school has two choices here: to evolve or be left in the past! Wondering what the latest trends in K-12 education technology are? Keep reading to discover the answer!
Virtual and Augmented Reality
For many teachers, the goal of a good lesson is to take students far beyond the classroom. In years past, teachers were content to transport students to faraway places with engaging stories and thrilling lessons. Now, they are taking things to the next level with immersive technology.
That’s why Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) are becoming more popular. With these resources in place, teachers can do things like conduct virtual “field trips” in VR or bring lessons to life in unexpected ways with AR.
The best part about this immersive technology is that the sky is the limit. Whatever you can dream up can be programmed into an immersive experience. And just like that, your classroom allows students to travel far beyond your four walls with the press of a button.
You don’t always have to go very far to discover the latest education trends. In fact, you don’t even need to leave your house!
Talking technology (such as Amazon’s Alexa or Apple’s Siri) has become a regular part of daily life for many people. And now, tech-savvy teachers are finding ways to incorporate this kind of technology into the classroom.
These devices are very affordable, making this a technological solution favored by cash-strapped districts. And these tools make for perfect “teacher’s assistants” because the instructor or student can ask the device almost anything.
Obviously, there is a bit of a learning curve at first when you teach students how to get the most out of these devices. But that provides an opportunity to promote digital literacy, making it a win for teachers and students alike.
The Rise of Integrated Learning
How does your own school district approach teaching and technology? Historically, many districts have made the mistake of thinking this is a binary choice. For example, thinking that the classroom must either be fully traditional or completely transformed by technology.
In reality, most districts don’t have the time or resources to wait for a complete digital transformation. And that is why integrated learning is more important than ever.
“Integrated learning” refers to any methods that introduce digital elements into an otherwise traditional classroom. It might be as simple as using digital supplements from textbook publishers or something more ambitious (like incorporating a Learning Management System into the classroom).
Integrated learning represents an opportunity to build a bridge from your current classroom into a more digitized future.
The Necessity of Blended Learning
Many schools experimented with blended learning in recent years. However, the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020 made blended learning a focus for schools throughout the nation.
Like integrated learning, “blended learning” is an umbrella term. In this case, the term refers to any and all of the ways that you have incorporated online learning into the existing curriculum.
For some schools, this may be a smaller measure to help students catch up on missing work. For other schools, having the ability to move instruction fully online in the event of an emergency is very important.
Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, many schools experimented with blended learning for the first time. And this form of learning has enough potential that it is poised to become a regular part of the average school curriculum.
In some cases, these “modern” trends have been years in the making. And that’s the case with the trend of digital books and digital backpacks.
Many schools have experimented with distributing digital textbooks that can be read on desktop computers or mobile devices. These digital editions are typically cheaper than printed textbooks, making this option tempting for schools with a tight budget.
And if you aren’t on a tight budget, the fact that digital texts are cheaper means that the school can afford to update texts more often. This ensures students are receiving a cutting-edge education instead of settling for old, out-of-date printed texts.
As an added bonus, plenty of students prefer a digital backpack full of these texts rather than carrying a real backpack full of heavy textbooks all over the place!
Teaching Technological and Entrepreneurial Skills
Every year, teachers get hit with that annoying question: “When are we going to need these skills in the real world?”
It’s an unfair question that usually comes from a disgruntled student. But now, the “real world” is becoming part of the curriculum in the form of technology and entrepreneurship.
Part of this is a carryover of Common Core philosophy: rather than assuming all students are eventually collegebound, schools must also ensure graduating students can enter into the job field. And that means preparing them to use the kinds of devices and platforms they will use in their “real world” jobs.
This also extends to teaching children entrepreneurial skills from a young age. That may sound like an odd part of the curriculum, but most world-changing start-ups are led by young people with a vision. These lessons provide the skills to eventually transform that vision into a reality.
Educational Technology and Your Curriculum
Not all education trends are easy to understand. Some are very subtle, including the increasing role that educational technology companies have in shaping your curriculum.
We tend to think of educational tech as reactive: companies respond to teacher needs and make it easier to solve common problems. But these same companies are constantly exploring and launching new innovations based solely on their vision for the future of education. These innovations ultimately change the way we teach instead of simply helping us deliver traditional lessons.
Throw in the increasing privatization within education, and the future is clear: the way we will teach in five years will be based largely on current developments in educational technology.
Education Trends: What Comes Next?
Now you know what the top education trends are. But, do you know how you can stay ahead of the curve on future developments?
We help schools and districts across the country make the most of educational technology. To see what we can do for your school, come join GG4L as a free member today!