Tuesday, June 4, 2013

What's on the horizon - (part 4 - trends and challenges)

This is my final post in the series based on the 2013 K-12 Horizon Report.  In this post I'm simply highlighting the trends that I have noticed and that I feel are most important in international education.

The internet is challenging us to revisit our roles as educators.  As Ian Jukes would say, we need less of TTWWADI ("that's the way we've always done it"), less of doing old things in new ways, and a willingness to change.  I wrote a little bit about this earlier this year following the ASB Un-Plugged Brain Research Institute.  We have the option of flight, fight or freeze and certainly some educators and administrators can be seen to have taken these options - or we have the chance to transform what we are doing to embrace the changes and prepare students for the world in which they will live.

The falling price of technology allows schools to revise and open up their access policies - for example BYOD and BYOM.  Many educators are changing their attitudes as they come to better understand the capabilities of mobile devices to improve learning.

Schools are becoming more interested in personalizing learning - students and teachers who have their own devices are able to customize the settings and the apps, giving them more control over their learning.  Teachers are enabled to set expectations that students will be actively engaged in designing and supporting their own learning.

Online, hybrid and collaborative learning are on the increase - online learning can increase opportunities for collaboration and give students stronger digital skills.

Assessments are more focused on what you can do and less on what you know - the emphasis is moving to students applying their understanding and in particular designing solutions to real-world problems.

Openness is becoming more valued - Hallelujah!

People expect to be able to work anywhere and at anytime - traditional homework is changing and flipping the classroom can free up valuable teacher time in class.  Just-in-time learning is becoming more common.

Schools are moving away from textbooks and towards web based resources and eBooks - these resources can be easily revised.  Open educational resources such as the Khan Academy are becoming more popular.

Social media is changing the way we interact, present ideas and information and communicate.

Learning is becoming more challenging, active and incorporates more real-life issues.

There is a gap between the vision of personalized learning and the tools needed to achieve it - technology should allow more student voice and choice.

Teacher training is still inadequate - digital media literacy is rising in importance yet training in the skills and techniques necessary to teach this is rare in teacher training programmes.  To some extent this is being offset by PD or informal learning.  The real challenge highlighted by the Horizon report is that "digital literacy is less about tools and more about thinking".

New models of learning are now competing with traditional methods - MOOCs enable students to have rich, free, online education.

Ongoing PD needs to be valued and integrated into the culture of schools - many new technologies are underutilized because of a lack of training, or are simply used for substitution, to do new thing in old ways.

Digital media could be better used for formative assessment - in particular there is the need to be able to assess 21st century skills.

Photo:  Agonda Beach in Goa

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