2020 brought drastic changes to all fields of life, including education, due to the global macroeconomic downfall by pandemics.
The year 2020 will go down in history as the year in which the covid-19 pandemic paralyzed the world. Of course it also paralyzed education as we knew it. Suddenly gone were the days of physical attendance in face-to-face classrooms. This fact has had a great global impact on redefining the concept of education. We realized that schools can also develop knowledge at a distance, and from this realization several educational trends were born.
If technology is going to continue to contribute positively to education in 2021, schools and educators need to do their part and learn how to implement it correctly in the classroom, with the most appropriate teaching methodologies.
Despite some difficulties, technology seems to be making its way in the area of education, increasing the digitization of the sector. They are versatile, interconnected, and here to stay. Here are the 9 educational trends that are the future of digital education:
Technological trends in teaching and learning
The explosion of technology over the past two decades has not left the education sector behind. Computers and the internet have changed how students can not only access information but even classes themselves. By the fall of 2017, there were over 6.5 million students enrolled in some distance learning opportunity at a degree-granting postsecondary institution.
The growth of technological capabilities means that a variety of media and learning-support tools now exist to help students receive a high-quality education through the Internet.
This trend presents a number of benefits and drawbacks for teachers and institutions who want to continue to offer their students the rigorous education they need to thrive.
Technology, for example, may not encourage students to learn soft skills. They might not have the built-in opportunities to engage with their fellow students, the way they might in traditional-style classrooms. For example, opportunities for leadership on group projects will not occur as organically as they once did.
The online platform may also force teachers to change how they teach. They might find it challenging to change how they approach lesson plans to ensure that the students remain engaged even while they cannot see the instructor in person.
Fortunately, the advent of the online classroom and technology-infused instruction also offers a wealth of opportunities for instructors and their institutions. Many teachers notice immediately the greater flexibility they can offer in their learning schedule. Platforms may offer opportunities for students to watch lectures live or recorded versions later. Teachers can appreciate this benefit for students.
The online nature of these courses may also enhance the ability of teachers to offer accommodations for different styles of learning. Advanced students may receive additional learning resources and challenges to encourage them to go deeper into the material without interrupting the flow of the rest of the class.
Learning management systems can also make it easier for teachers to track how their students progress through the course. They can see how their students have engaged with the broadcast and recorded classes, therefore, they have a more efficient tracking system that allows them to provide more timely coaching as needed.
Hybrid Learning has kicked into high gear to meet the demands of public health precautions, and the trend will likely continue in 2021.
What is hybrid learning? It is an instructional delivery model that combines in-person and online learning. The concept of hybrid learning has existed for years, but it was not practiced as widely before schools transitioned to hybrid learning out of logistical necessity, rather than pedagogical goals.
In some hybrid learning models, teachers simultaneously instruct some students in-person and others remotely, meaning they must monitor their physical and virtual classrooms at the same time. In others, the in-person and online synchronous lessons occur at different times.
Online group lessons allow not only for direct instruction but also for helping remote students feel a sense of community, which is especially important right now.
Hybrid learning is often confused with blended learning as they are very similar. The key difference is that the online activities of blended learning supplement and extend the content covered during face-to-face instruction time. In hybrid learning, on the other hand, online activities actually replace some instructions that would have occurred during class time.
Virtual Reality Learning
Virtual reality is one of the most amazing and engaging trends in education 2021. It produces either an unreal or real world through the virtual tool on the eyes of the learner.
The learner can see the world, move here and there in it, and intermingle with things. There are many benefits of virtual reality learning in the coming years, like:
⦁ The students can visualize places and things they cannot get access to in the conventional study learning
⦁ It is so much interesting that everybody wants to wear the virtual learning tool at least once in a life
⦁ It lets the learners enjoy learning for hours
⦁ VR has removed the concept of language as a learning obstacle
⦁ The education field has come up with quality content in different subjects.
Artificial Intelligence is the power of machines to think and respond in many forms like a robot.
It means that machines can reason and perform tasks like human beings. AI is not a new thing for the students of the coming years. It has already influenced the learning system in the USA to a great extent.
With the addition of new features like smart content and virtual global conferences, artificial intelligence has become more impactful.
It is going to emerge as one of the current trends in educational technology for 2021, mainly because:
⦁ It lets the learners get more personalized in learning
⦁ It is a quicker way of teaching and learning
⦁ AI supports the teachers to spot learning incapacities
⦁ It has globalized the world in terms of education systems
⦁ The students get learning matter in a more understandable form
⦁ Educators get more knowledge to become a source of knowledge for others
⦁ And, Students can submit technologically written feedback.
Teaching and learning from home have taken their toll on teachers, students, and parents, and stress levels have increased significantly. We could all use a little attention to our social-emotional health in 2021.
Texas State Teachers Association President Noel Candelaria compared educator self-care to the boarding directions for airline passengers to “secure their own oxygen mask before helping others.”
Students’ social-emotional well-being will continue to be top of mind as well. Kids are resilient, but toxic stress impacts focus, memory, and overall learning.
When I was in the classroom, I would start the morning with my students sharing how we were feeling and what was or wasn’t going well. It helped all of us take a deep breath, release what was bothering us, and then move on with our day in a better frame of mind.
These moments of social-emotional learning are well worth the time spent, as they made for a better start to the day and possibly prevented later meltdowns.
Student trend: decreasing attention spans
As the prevalence of technology has grown, attention spans have also changed for students. A study conducted by Microsoft looked at the attention spans overall between 2000, which was the dawn of the mobile revolution, and 2015. They found that attention spans decreased by an incredible 4 seconds– from 12 seconds to 8. This drop has largely been blamed on the nature of technology and the constant stimulation it offers viewers.
The changes in attention span can also be used as an excellent way to differentiate between the different generations. Millennials, for example, who have largely grown up with this technology at their fingertips, have distinct characteristics from the Gen X and Boomers who came before them.
Most notably, Millennials report that when content is highly engaging, they have the potential to pay attention for longer periods than past generations. However, when that content does not engage them, they become among the first to tune out the speaker.
To keep the attention of Millennials, the content presented to them must have excellent visuals and dialogue along with an interesting storyline that will hold their attention. This younger group cares more about the narrative and the visual nature of the content that interests them than other age groups.
This difference in attention can also be seen in the behavior of Millennials compared to other age groups. Among young adults, 77 percent report that they will reach for a phone when they have nothing else to occupy their attention. For those over the age of 65, however, only 10 percent report the same.
This change in attention trends also has a tremendous impact on how instructors adjust their classes and keep students engaged with the material. Teachers need to find ways to design classes that will catch the attention of their students, many of whom will fall into this Millennial generation, and adapt the course delivery method and pace. Their course design will need to remember the importance of a strong narrative and visuals.
However, do not forget that when students have material in front of them that is highly visual and engaging, they have excellent potential to pay attention. These modern students want to be challenged, and they value interaction. For teachers who learn how to engage with these students, they can present rewarding opportunities for classroom growth.
Genius Hour aka Passion Project
An intriguing new trend called Genius Hour or Passion Project allows students to work on a project of their choosing for an hour each week. Prompt ideas include “build a city,” “write a song or play,” or “learn about your dream job.”
As students set their own goals and pace, they develop independent thinking skills, creativity, and, ideally, a genuine love for learning.
Genius Hour includes three “musts” for students:
- Must start with an essential question that cannot be answered with a simple Google search.
- Must research the question using reputable websites, interviews, and/or print resources.
- Must create something. Their product may be digital, physical, or service-oriented.
- Need some inspiration to get started? Watch Daniel Pink’s TED Talk, The Puzzle of Motivation.
Gamification has appeared as one of the most predictably popular educational technology trends.
It simply means learning through fun and gaming to improve results. The educators who follow this learning tactic convert their classroom into a gaming zone unlocking students’ active creativity.
Consequently, the learners purposefully experiment with their creative power. They also understand the value of collaboration and teamwork. Subsequently, the play and fun lead them to grow their aptitude and knowledge on the related subject.
Different educational levels have different types of games for an enjoyable learning environment for the students. Not only junior classes but also senior classes get closer to their subject matter through this popular educational trend.
Gamification has another plus point of bringing students out of uniformity and seek mastery over the subject through fun. Although it is a powerful learning practice for school and college classrooms, they are more inclined toward online gamification.
The online gamification has additional features, advanced tools, and multiple options unavailable in classroom fun learning. As WWW seems to have increased value for the coming generation, online gamification can prove more popular for students in 2021.
However, you must not forget that fun and play, even purposeful, can distract you from your studies. Particularly, the students who get involved in games more than anything can forget about important assignments of other subjects.
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Facilitating learning versus teaching
As technology has grown, it has also changed how teachers relate to their students and their classrooms. With a wealth of information at their fingertips, students today have the tools they need to uncover a tremendous amount of facts and knowledge independently. In this environment, many students value less of a top-down delivery method. Instead, teachers now function more in a facilitative role. Their job has slowly evolved into a position where they help students understand how to learn, to love learning, and how to uncover and understand the information they find.
This can present some challenges for teachers, who must work on their own soft skills of leadership and problem-solving. They must learn how to foster conversations and create an environment that values team-work.
The best teachers will be those who can help students take ownership of their learning.
As teachers become more involved in the students’ learning process, they will also find themselves in a position to receive immediate feedback on their teaching effectiveness. Their ability to nurture and facilitate these skills in their classroom will become obvious quickly as the class moves through the material.
Teachers who want to focus more on student development rather than simply knowledge delivery will find this new model to be intensely rewarding.
At last, 2021 is going to open miraculous ways of learning for the students who know nothing but modernity. Both teachers and students will get the advantages of a revolutionized approach to education.
The new educational means will be quicker, more technological, and promising. The coming generation is going to learn through advanced, engaging, and tech-based, global educational schemes.