trends in education

2000 – NOW

Academic Redshirting
The practice of holding school-aged children back one grade-level from what they are eligible to help offset the ratcheting up of standards in the third grade and above to improve students’ performance on standardized tests.  2002 study by the National Institute for Early Education found that, on average, older children do not academically outperform their younger peers. The average of redshirted children in schools is about 7%.

Student-Led Parent-Teacher Conferences
Instead of inviting parents to that oft-hurried, sit-down meeting at the teacher’s desk, teachers are switching to longer, student-led conferences, where students explain their own learning. An Iowa State University (ISU) study surveyed 1,500 schools across the nation in 2001 and found that 24 percent of fifth-graders were leading conferences. In a more recent study of 98 “highly successful middle schools,” it was found that nearly 40 percent had turned to student-led conferences. Student-led conferences have generally been taking place in the spring, with many teachers still favoring a traditional parent-teacher conference in the fall. Trend has started in early 2000 and continues to grow.

K-8 Schools Replacing Middle Schools
Many educators believe that combining the middle and elementary grades in one school makes the transition easier for students. However, since the schools have much smaller groups of sixth- through eighth-graders, they usually don’t offer the wide range of electives typically found at a middle school. Some also worry that the transition to high school is much more jarring for students who have been “sheltered” at the same elementary school for nine years. The National Middle School Association (NMSA) does not see this as a quick fix to middle-school problems of curriculum and instruction that have been blamed for many students’ lack of achievement.

Laptops in the Classroom
By the fall of 2003, nearly 100 percent of U.S. public schools had Internet access. In the 2003-2004 school year, 13.3 percent of instructional computers were laptops. Among private schools, many have started using laptops in the classroom, typically from about fifth grade on. The catch? Most often, students must pay for their own computers.
The idea is that you don’t learn “computers” but you “use” computers to learn something else – the way you use any other tool. Following this line of reasoning many schools have moved away from teaching computers as a specialty in computer labs and introduced them into classrooms for everyday activities.

Lengthening the School Day
Some schools in California are on year-round schedule, some have extended school years of 195 years to increase academic performance and help at-risk kids. In other areas of the country, classes run longer each weekday except Friday, when schools are actually closed for the day. Rural-area school districts in at least 12 states are experimenting with the shorter week to save money on things like transportation and heating. “My instinct is that it’s a trend in the wrong direction,” says Ted Sizer, former dean of education at the Harvard University School of Education. “Kids need a lot of attention in schools and to reduce the days they have per week doesn’t make an awful lot of sense.”
Massachusetts is renewing its push to lengthen the school day, from adding more charter schools to appealing for federal grant money that could bring longer hours to more traditional public schools.
The AP reports that the Obama administration is proposing a longer school year and longer school days.  Children in other nations, says Obama and the Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, spend up to 30% more time in school. America needs to align itself with the international norm.

Project-Based Learning (PBL)
Project learning, also known as project-based learning, is a dynamic approach to teaching in which students explore real-world problems and challenges, simultaneously developing cross-curriculum skills while working in small collaborative groups. It inspires students to obtain a deeper knowledge of the subjects they’re studying and is also an effective way to integrate technology into the curriculum. In short, PBL is a systematic teaching method that engages students in learning knowledge and skills through an extended inquiry process structured around complex, authentic questions and carefully designed products and tasks.


Blended Learning & Learning Distribution & Online Learning
Blended learning is the combination of different training “media”: technologies, activities, and types of events to create an optimum training program for a specific audience. Blended learning programs use many different forms of e-learning, perhaps complemented with instructor-led training and other live formats. 2010 is going to see increased experimentation with these models; the concept of lifelong learners is creating vast opportunities for increased utilization of the mobile infrastructure.
Both learning and learning content are moving away from traditional centripetal models, in which everything happens at set locations and is controlled at the institutional/publisher level(top-down), and moving toward centrifugal models that are learner-focused (bottom-up) and in which learning happens wherever a student happens to be. This means new platform models for learning (post-LMS), greater mobile access, more flexible e-commerce models, and a renewed explosion in generic online learning.
Topics: social lerning portals, mobile learning, augmented reality, experiential learning

Education as Enabler for Regeneration and Economic Recovery

How can technology assist societies to recover and regenerate after economic change, demographic disruption and conflict? Raising educational standards, improving employability and encouraging lifelong learning for individuals can be a key foundation of regeneration. We know that technology can support education. It can also help the wider community to address the challenges of economic and social disadvantage. But how do we maximise its potential?


Content Subscription & Digital Textbooks
Historically, content in education has been packaged as a premium (for sale) product and has been acquired on a purchase model. A user buys a piece of content and keeps it or returns it for resale after a term of use. As has happened in other media industries, however, the notion of access vs. purchase, and of subscription models in particular, is taking hold. This model is particularly suited for education because most students only use the content for a brief and defined period of time. The subscription model will gain significant traction in 2010, and will challenge publishers’ notion of the value of e-books, production costs, and how they sell to their customers.
Topics: e-books, e-textbooks

Containerless Education & Metaversity
Today, learning content is still consumed mostly in container formats — books, courses, LMS platforms, classes, and institutions. Increasingly, however, the notion of content is shifting to smaller, autonomous pieces that can be acquired and reconfigured by the end user in ways that are necessarily independent of traditional educational containers. Just as songs have been disaggregated form albums in the music world, educational content in general will be increasingly disaggregated from its containers in the coming year.
Metaversity was suggested by the former MIT president in 2006: meta-university would be “a transcendent, accessible, empowering, dynamic, communally constructed framework of open materials and platforms on which much of higher education worldwide can be constructed or enhanced.”
Topics: social learning, social networking & media, learning communities

We will see professors and students finally gain access to cohesive suites of tools that enable them to produce and distribute their own content on par with that of major publishers (in terms of production quality — for electric and print materials). Moreover, the marketplaces for sharing this content will also be available so that intrepid end users can become direct, unassisted competitors with multi-billion dollar content providers.

Public Cloud Services Go Private – a.k.a. A Private Cloud
Universities as well as K-12 school systems are embracing a hybrid architecture for storage and computing that combines on-campus resources, private cloud services for others, and open public cloud resources for other kinds of applications.

Going Green & Teaching Sustainability
IT infrastructure on campuses produces perhaps as much as 20 percent of the total carbon footprint of the campus, leading to further virtualization and cloud computing. Green schools.

Serious Gaming
Gaming software is now more readily accepted pedagogical tool for a wider cross section of disciplines including science, history, sociology, business, economics, communication studies, engineering, foreign languages and a wide range of health sciences. Serious games are used in emergency services training, in military training, in corporate education, in health care, and in many other sectors of society. They can also be found at every level of education, at all kinds of schools and universities around the world.

Breaking Out of Technology Isolation
Touch-enabled whiteboards: using precision positioning technology, the wall-mounted boards allow for unprecedented participation and collaboration among students.

4:1 Computing
College students are using more devices and technology applications than ever before, and universities are scrambling to keep up with those tech-savvy students. The traditional 1:1, standardized computing is too rigid in today’s educational environment, where students are tapping into multiple technologies and switching gears quickly between them.

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