What’s Big in the K-12 Classroom?
What’s new in the typical K-12 classroom? We take a look at the latest digital trends in schools and districts.
Although the education sector may arguably have been somewhat slow to adapt to technology, we are now really beginning to see technology’s impact on learning strategies worldwide; from the introduction of personalized learning solutions to gaining data-driven insights into students’ learning procedures. We’re taking a look at K-12 education, in particular, identifying trends which, today, are shaping the learning strategies of schools and districts.
The Use of Technology Continues to Increase
The last few years have seen a significant increase in the use of technology in classrooms. This trend is set to continue to grow even more in the years to come. It was reported that the largest area of expansion in the upcoming year will be in hardware, with 46% of school districts allocating more budget towards this. Inevitably, with the introduction of new hardware, challenges arise for teachers who may be unfamiliar with these new technologies. This is simultaneously set to drive the budget for teacher training up by 38%.
Another area of eLearning which has been growing in popularity among school districts in recent years is online assessments. The number of school districts which are administering the majority of their core subject summative assessments online grew by 54% in 2015. The value of online assessments is becoming more recognized, with its numerous advantages to both educators and students.
With the introduction of the assessment consortia in the US, the popularity of technology-enhanced items – questions that incorporate technology beyond simple option selection as the student’s method of response – has increased substantially. PARCC and Smarter Balanced, the assessment consortia, have heavily influenced the development of educational assessments in the US which, now, generally incorporate TEIs as a method of assessing. TEIs provide students with a more interactive, engaging learning experience, whilst simultaneously improving the experiences of teachers, through deeper student insights and actionable reports.
Adaptive learning, whereby assessment items are dynamically selected one by one depending on the responses prior to each item, is becoming an extremely sought-after learning approach. The difficulty of each assessment items is adapted to the estimated ability of the student in real time, offering learners a more personalized experience. Adaptive testing is said to increase student motivation. As the assessment items are tailored towards the ability of the student, students generally don’t fall out of their depth, thus maintaining interest throughout the assessment. On the other side of the spectrum, these adaptive assessment items can improve the test experience for high-achieving students who, traditionally, may have been disengaged by items which were too easy for them. More challenging items, appropriate to their knowledge level, are selected for these learners, increasing their motivation and interest levels.
Personalized learning tailors learning experiences so that students’ strengths, learning style, and learning requirements are addressed. The concept of personalized learning is rapidly evolving, with student-driven learning at the heart of many learning strategic decisions and processes. The rise in popularity is evident with the increase in companies, such as Fishtree (personalized curriculum & content), CogBooks and LearnBop (personalized Math solutions), offering personalized learning solutions to K-12 institutes.
Big Data & Analytics
The concept of data-driven instruction is set to be huge in the future. Educational institutes are now realizing the numerous advantages of “big data”, acknowledging the positive influence it can have on the academic performance of students. “Big data” is essentially the collection and analysis of data sets which are then used to identify patterns, similarities, and traits that occur around particular human behaviors. With each and every movement students make online, they contribute to a trail of data which has the potential to provide educators with deep and meaningful insights which subsequently influences the tweaking of lesson plans, providing valuable recommendations to students, and even preventing drop-outs.
Interested in learning more about data in education? Check out our blog post “Is Big Data delivering on its Promise for Education?“