Top 5 education trends for 2015
Friday, January 16, 2015
2015 is going to be an exciting year for learning, across all segments. Experts predict this will primarily be due to the mind-blowing convergence between learning habits and technology use.
Changes and development in technology will define the way we learn in future as the "ed tech" market is steadily growing — it's slated to become a $19 billion industry by 2018. The need to understand how this technology can be used to aid learning and expand it at the same is imperative.
A look at some key trends in the news will perhaps show where we are headed and how we should prepare our students for the future.
1. Blended learning
Blended learning environments have been evolving rapidly in the past few years, with flipped classrooms becoming more of a norm. The innovative idea is aimed at engaging students in and out of the classroom, more so the latter.
Students learn by watching video lectures online, usually at home, while homework is done in class with teachers. It is followed by an interactive discussion between teacher and students and solving questions together.
However, the initial use of this technology has shown that passive learning is not conducive to boosting student achievement. Therefore, 2015 will see more interactive, proactive and competitive online sessions to promote more dynamic, effective and synchronous learning experiences.
There will be massive transformation in coupling technology based-instruction with live instruction, from the older learning management systems (LMS) to futuristic cloud-based solutions. Powerful analytics will be used to measure student responses and their mobile learning capabilities.
2. Mobile learning
Mobile learning apps flooded the market in 2014. This year we will see definite consolidation of the leading apps and their usage, with assimilation and absorption of the new apps as well.
Mobile learning platforms and apps on iOS and Android will enhance learning experiences and outcomes. Individual learners will now connect and collaborate with study groups of interconnected learners easily and broaden their virtual classroom experience.
How will they do this? It will probably be an amalgamation of features like live participation, continuous access to context-aware adaptive and personalized mobile learning systems along with location-aware notification delivery.
All of this functionality has the potential to fuel lifelong learning in an unprecedented way.
3. Wearable tech
"Wearable tech" is going to be the star of all the trends that will mark learning in 2015 and beyond. Also called "wearable e-learning," these emerging apps are being designed to help students not just learn but also aid them in directing mistakes and do better research, even when on the go.
Designed mostly as smart watches, these will include various motion-sensor technologies like gyroscopes, accelerometers, compasses and pressure sensors, along with augmented reality and location-specific activities. These will facilitate interactive, activity-based learning as well as virtual coaching sessions.
Emerging efforts seem to be directed at making these assistive technologies a part of a bring-your-own-device (BYOD) environment.
4. Demographic diversity
The U.S. has been called the melting pot of cultures for many years now, but perhaps never before has diversity been as tested as it is now. For the first time, the numbers of Hispanic, Asian and African-American students has surpassed the number of non-Hispanic whites in K-12 classrooms across the country.
This is time not only to embrace the diversity and differences, but also to use it to the nation's advantage. Educators are working hard to come up with new plans for the future where "student equity plans" will be floated to help all students come to par with the set standards of education.
Equal opportunity is to be made available to disadvantaged populations, disparities will be addressed and worked upon, and different states will start work their respective "Student Success Initiative" to ensure healthier graduation and higher education rates. Only then can we harness the potential within this diversity and progress as the leading nation.
5. Personalized learning
When you look at the where the wind is blowing, it is not hard to understand why personalized blended learning is going to be such a big thing this year and in future. Advancing technology makes learning adjustable to a student's capability and potential. At the same time, it makes it easy to continue across locations, so blended learning is here to stay.
Blended learning also takes in the growing diversity of the nation and paves the way for advanced customization with ed tech tools that will aid in personalized learning. Various learning methods like project-based learning, game-based learning and maker education will be blended to improve learning outcomes.
As a natural progression of this trend, we shall also see native apps blended to open or multiple operating systems to make these programs more sustainable, negating time-consuming device management and compliance issues.
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