Big Changes are Around the Corner
According to the NHC/CoSN Horizon Report 2016 K-12 Edition, there are many changes coming around the corner that will change the education system as generations have known it, and many of these changes are fueled, if not caused, by technology integrating into the classroom. The researchers talked to a panel of experts from around the world to decide on what trends are affecting schools everywhere. While the report hits on a wide array of important subjects, this blog will be focusing on most but not all. If you would like to read the full report (we think it’s great), here is a link.
Rethinking How Schools Work
The big theme among the trends is rethinking how schools work. This involves several parts including:
- Making more authentic learning experiences
- Having students drive their own learning
- Teaching coding throughout every level of school
- Deeper learning approaches
- Collaborative learning
Some of these are coming later than others. Technology can make these themes more accessible, such as using social media to connect with authors, scientists, or other students around the world. These experiences will give students a first hand, active lesson that they will remember longer. There are also educational courses being produced that give students virtual access to some of the best professional resources which empower them to learn at a deeper level than what was possible before.
With Change Comes Challenge
There are some difficult challenges are coming up for K-12. These challenges focus on three big themes as technology becomes more integrated in schools:
In the short term, changing how learning is experienced
As things progress, making the technology accessible to all students everywhere
Long term, using technology give all students a quality, personalized education
A short term problem is teachers’ roles need to evolve. Before, they needed to provide expert level knowledge, but now, their job demands they construct learning environments where students gain 21st-century skills. This is difficult because this is something they were never expected or taught to do before. Another challenge, the Digital Divide, is that many impoverished students around the United States do not have sufficient access to high-speed broadband internet at home. This makes it even harder for these students to do homework and succeed in school. One of the “wicked” challenges coming in the long term is personalized education. It also allows the material to go more in depth on the student’s strength and curiosity while letting teachers understand their weaknesses.
The Tools to Make it Happen
The developments in education technology (edtech) are becoming so intertwined with K-12 developments that it is one of the three sections of the report. Some of the technology developments we will see in school are:
- Online learning
- Virtual reality
- Artificial intelligence
- Wearable technology
This evolution creates the possibilities for all of these themes and challenges. For instance, makerspaces are adopting in the next year, and these are places where people are empowered to create their own ideas by giving them the resources, such as tools and experts, which is a theme mentioned above, Deeper Learning Approaches. These makerspaces usually contain STEM technology and other hands-on subjects that give students a more in-depth learning experience.
Forward Edge is Already on It
Forward Edge is the area’s largest and most knowledgeable education focused Technology Solutions Provider. Through our deep understanding of technology in education, we have become a trusted partner to K-12 schools across Ohio, working heavily in the greater Cincinnati region, Dayton, and Columbus, as well as Kentucky and Indiana. In serving these schools, we have consistently delivered innovative and sustainable solutions for Managed Services, Classroom Technology Integration, Wireless LAN, Security, and Staff Augmentation, and we grow with the changing environments of schools.
Our Curriculum and Technology Integration department is our best way to help schools with this changing tide. We connect our professionals with teachers in a number of ways. Everyone on the team has had formal education training, previous teaching experience, and has come to Forward Edge from the education world. Many schools are turning to our department to fill the role of an on-site technology coach for their buildings. Other places use our team to consult on a particular implementation project, such as a new Learning Management System (LMS), switching to Google Apps for Education, and more. We also partner closely with our schools to provide Professional Development (PD) on district PD days, conferences, leadership teams and many other opportunities!