No, we don’t really have a crystal ball.. yet… but we are pretty good at seeing emerging themes and based on what we have seen, heard and had a hand in, these are our best guesses for the year ahead.
1. Blended learning opportunities will increase - The flip will not flop, it will fly. We think that blended learning including the flipped classroom model, will take off this year. Funding cuts and increased demand for choice will raise awareness and the adoption of blended learning will hit the tipping point. And related to this,
2. New technologies will integrate learning regardless of the learners location - In school and out we will see more integration and cross platform use. Apple will release a universal translator app that will allow us to connect any device to a network Networked tablets will rule the more privileged classrooms. Mobile learning will be expected and video will be used even more than it is now. The blending or transmedia use of technology will blossom. See this amazing New York Times post for an example of what will become the norm.
I have to digress on this a bit. First, they should just build the tablets into the tables and be done with it.. maybe in two years ;-D Second, I got Apple TV for Christmas – ‘cos my kids love me and know me too well – Apple TV is a piece of tech slightly larger than a deck of cards. With it I have connected our TV, desktop computer, iPhone, and iPad to the internet in a way that keeps them connected across all my devices. We can now all watch TedTalks on the big screen and with Air Play I can display what’s on my iPhone or iPad on the TV. Yes, even the Thoughtstream iPhone app displays there. Everything is at my fingertips and it’s always up to date. It’s simple and brilliant and changed my behaviour within seconds of hooking it up. Scary? Maybe.
3. Curriculum will improve - With more and more educators connecting and sharing resources and their own learning and with big data informing analytics educators have more choices and are able to make better sense of those choices in their instructional design. The shift in instructional design to just-in-time, personalization and differentiation will change the way curriculum is designed. Curriculum will become more agile and responsive and as a result curriculum that doesn’t work will be changed quicker. Ok, this may take a bit more than a year, but it is coming.
4. Increased engagement between community, parents, educators, students - The education system as we know it is like an ocean liner. It just can’t turn on a dime. Schools on the other hand are more agile, more manoeuvrable. Principals and teachers are taking on the role of engagement specialists and leading from the middle. We see grassroots movements going mainstream with the likes of TEDxEducation, EdCamps and SXSWEdu leading the way. The hope is that this doesn’t lead to rampant commodification. Time will tell.
Not all engagement this year will be pleasant. We have seen lots of stress and strife in the education system over all, including strikes and job action. There are gaps between where we are and where we want to be. Gaps produce tension, at best creative tension that motivates and at worst the kind of tension that polarizes groups.
5. Social and emotional learning and the importance of attachment takes hold – We will see, are already seeing, a more unified and comprehensive approach to social/emotional learning. School boards and districts are beginning to talk seriously about self-regulation, applied empathy, and empathy re-boot projects. The idea that schools are a Village of Attachment is a clear steps toward the ”paradigm shift from a behavioral approach to a relational one” throughout our educational systems. Sean Grainer on Learning Circle University writes:
The culture of any learning environment is created in a prominent way through the feelings of those immersed within it. Learning is as much, or perhaps more so, an attitude as it is a skill. When we are impacted emotionally, the attitudes we develop can represent deep engagement, or in the case of negative emotions, deep disengagement. Teachers who are disengaged likely will not encourage much positive engagement in their students.
Are we just hoping for this or is this the way the education system is moving? As I said, we really don’t have a crystal ball so these are just guesses, educated guesses that are perhaps a little biased by our genuine hope for the future of education.
What are your best guesses, hopes or visions for the future of education?
Also see part one of this post – 2012 – A Look Back at the Year in Education