One of the best things about serving in a communications role at a company with people passionate about learning and technology, is that you get to be part of some amazing conversations about how we improve learning, and watch that talent produce learning software that can help every student learn. Every day our innovative, talented and really smart people are looking forward and sharing ideas about improving education. So we decided to ask one of our vice presidents and industry veteran, Ann Henson, to share some predictions on what will be going on at the school-level this year. These predictions piggy-back on Arthur VanderVeen’s broad predictions for education back in January – they were spot-on.
According to Ann, this school year will see several trends that will have a real impact on schools across the country, especially as Common Core State Standards become more concrete. Here are highlights of her top five predictions for the 2012/2013 school year, and what she recommends teachers monitor as the school year unfolds.
Common Core State Standards Will Dominate Conversations: Common Core will be the number one topic discussed in education circles as states that have adopted Common Core prepare for the transition. Teachers, in particular, will contemplate how to modify and shift teaching styles to bridge the transition between current state standards and Common Core State Standards, as well as the shift from summative to formative assessments.
To College or Not to College, That is the Question: While college readiness has long been a crucial component of K–12 education, career readiness is emerging as a major area of focus. Based on numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 31.7 percent of high school students who graduated in 2011 did not attend college, so ensuring those students are prepared for the workforce is critical. One dilemma that will emerge is if and when kids are made to pick between the college path and the career path.
The Use of Social and Mobile Tools in Education is too Big to Ignore: Mobile is becoming a bigger and bigger phenomenon; according to Pew Research, 75 percent of kids between the ages of 12 and 17 own a cell phone, making anytime, anywhere access to information and content ubiquitous. Based on data from The Wireless Association, there are 331 million mobile devices in the United States (greater than the population of the U.S.). The opportunity and the challenge will be defining content that is both instructional and manageable. Software will be extended to a new platform that accounts for the unique properties of the devices and user engagement versus simply moving software from one platform to another. The opening of the Internet in schools, and access to resources online are inevitable, but need to be managed in a way that benefits both students and educators.
The Quality of Open Educational Resources will be More Closely Scrutinized: With the advent of social tools, mobile and the opening of the Internet, open education resources (OER) will play a vital role in expanding education – but quality control will play a very vital role. Tagging of resources will become critically important to ensure the right content is connected with the right curriculum and the appropriate students.
The Shift from Grade-Based to Competency-Based Learning will Accelerate: Learning will be less and less about quizzes and test scores, and more about, “Was the objective learned or not?” Students will have greater visibility into what they have mastered and what they haven’t and work within those parameters to gain competency versus simply taking a test. Grade configurations (3rd, 4th, 5th grade, etc.) will start to go away as we move to competency-based
So there you have it. This school year should prove to be a very exciting one as the innovation and the ongoing move to personalized learning models continues to take hold. The schools and districts that embrace change and innovation will be the ones that see the most student success. You can learn more from Ann in her own words through her teachers’ lounge chat on YouTube.
Do you have additional K-12 sector predictions to add to Ann’s list? If so, we want to hear them! Please leave your ideas in the comment section.
Tad serves as director of marketing and communications at Compass Learning. As a father of three, and son of a high school teacher and kindergarten teacher, education has been part of his life since day one. Besides his parents, he remembers vividly the lessons of teachers like Mr. Watson, Mr. Armstrong, Coach Sanagorski and others that inspired him to make learning a lifetime passion.