It’s that time again when we put on our magic hats and pull out our crystal balls to make predictions about the important trends coming in the new year. I didn’t want to be left out, so here are what I believe will be the hot topics for 2017.
#1: Collaboration Finally Becomes King
The days of learning in isolation are finally over as free and inexpensive collaboration tools like Flipgrid, Slack, Skype, Today’s Meet, Google Drive, and more become used regularly in all classrooms. Educators have realized for a long time that we learn better and retain more if we work with others while learning. With the plethora of resources to make this happen easily, students and adults alike can now grow together, regardless of their location.
#2: Learning Is More Hands-On
With the huge growth and interest in the maker movement and the push to return to more “real-world” courses like those found in CTE (Career and Technical Education), student learning becomes more hands-on in all subject areas. The evolution of virtual and augmented reality makes this even easier, especially for those complex concepts that have long troubled both teachers and students alike. And the power of robots to teach coding, problem solving, and collaboration add to the hands-on emphasis.
#3: We Stop Talking about BYOD
In 2017, BYOD becomes the norm. Students are not only allowed to bring their own devices to use at school; they are strongly encouraged to. And those who can’t afford a device are provided one by their district. Teachers stop trying to know everything about all technologies and focus again on strong pedagogy and core content knowledge.
#4: Classrooms No Longer Look Like Classrooms from the 1900s
With an increased emphasis on the power of the environment on learning, schools being to rethink the way the regular classroom looks. Gone are desks in rows (and not in rows!). Instead, there is the beginning of flexible furniture that can adapt to student needs. In addition, the concept of the classroom as an assigned square box is being discussed as educators try to decide how to create innovative learning spaces with no new funding.
#5: Computational Thinking and Coding Grow
With the great help from organizations like Code.org, the need to teach all students at least the rudiments of computational thinking and coding is more widely accepted. In 2017, we’ll see a growth in the demand for computer science teachers, as well as in coding initiatives for elementary school students.
#6: Students Take Charge
Personalized learning, flipped learning, gamification, blended learning, and engaging formative and summative assessment tools add up to students being more in control of their learning journey. The content is still critical, but students will have more say in how they master it and how they demonstrate their mastery. (By the way, this rubs off on professional development for educators as they are given more choice in what they need to grow and become better.)
What Are Your Predictions for 2017?
I’d love to hear about your predictions for this brand new year. Please leave them in the Comments section below!