Thursday, May 7, 2015

Trends and challenges

Following on from a previous post, I do find the trends and challenges sections of the Horizon Reports to be really interesting and useful.  Here, then, is my summary of these trends and challenges that appear in the preview of this year's Horizon Report.

Long-Term Trends
  • Rethinking how schools work.  Keeping schools relevant is something we talk a lot about at ASB and the Horizon Report highlights the movement to reinvent the traditional classroom paradigm and rearrange the whole school experience though student-centred approaches like project- and challenge-based learning where students move fluidly from one learning activity to another instead of working on traditional subjects.  This will also impact on schedules, which will need to become more flexible.  Learning should become more personalized and authentic.
  • A shift to deeper learning - deeper rather than broader seems to be the main idea here, with students being given opportunities to apply their learning.  This brings more real-world application of the curriculum, and often involves devices such as smartphones and tablets.  This trend will see students brainstorming and implementing solutions to both local and global problems, as students immerse themselves deeper into learning that connects with their own lives.
Mid-Term Trends
  • Collaborative learning - among both teachers and students.  Teamwork leads to greater engagement and better performance.  For teachers the trend is towards more collaborative PD, sharing best practices and learning from each other.
  • A shift towards students as creators.  Increasingly students are learning through active hands-on activities that encourage making and creating rather than from the consumption of content.
Short-Term Trends
  • Increasing use of hybrid/blended learning.  Blended learning is on the rise and perceptions of online learning are shifting so it becomes a viable alternative to face-to-face.  Online learning will become more popular still with rapid developments in learning analytics and adaptive learning.
  • STEAM - a growing number of educators are arguing for integrating the humanities and arts into STEM classes.
Solvable Challenges
  • Authentic learning that brings real-life experiences into the classroom is still uncommon in schools.  
  • Teacher education still does not focus on the rising importance of digital media literacy as a key skill in every discipline and profession.
Difficult Challenges
  • Personalized learning and adaptive learning are still seen as being some way from being adopted widely in schools.
  • Rethinking the roles of teachers.  The integration of technology into everyday life is causing many to argue that schools should be providing ways for students to continue to learn beyond the school day.   Teacher PD is changing too - and now involves social media and online tools and resources.
Wicked Challenges
  • Scaling teacher innovations to get them into mainstream practice.  Innovation is rarely rewarded in schools with an aversion to change, and teachers are often discouraged from experimentation.
  • Teaching complex thinking that takes on-board artificial intelligence, big data, modelling technologies and the semantic web at the same time that students are learning communication skills to apply the complex thinking effectively.
Photo Credit: Rantz via Compfight cc

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