The bygone decade has witnessed major changes in the academic domain. Educational and pedagogic infrastructure has been subjected to a new evolution catalyzed by digital revolution. It is no longer a rarity to find majority of schools and higher education institutions resorting to digital aids during classes.
Future trends in k12 are quite interesting. Through incorporation of technology in k-12 education mode, the learning experience of students is being dramatically improved. The importance of K-12 lies in the fact that learners are motivated to adopt innovative thought process. During the formative period of students’ lives, imbibing the trait of thinking beyond the apparent would improve their analytical and problem solving skills.
To facilitate better intellectual maturity of young minds, the classrooms must be equipped with teaching aids that engage and motivate. Listening to instructors’ lectures alone won’t be enough for excelling in academic pursuits. With digitally powered learning interventions, classroom learning process becomes more meaningful as understanding of the complexities of topics becomes easier.
This blog takes you through top trends in k 12 education that are providing a newer dimension to conventional educational process.
Flipped Classroom Learning Model
This approach flips the concept of traditional learning. Students have to prepare themselves at home with the help of study materials. Assignments would then have to be completed in classrooms. This is an endeavor to break the stereotype where students learn about course from instructors in classrooms and take necessary notes; the homework assigned is completed by them at home.
The flipped model is designed to engage students better to render the learning process more fulfilling. Students become more active during classes and get involved in discussions and tasks that allow them to go deeper to the conceptual level.
Students have the freedom to go through e-learning modules, video podcasts, external website links and other resources at home. However during classes, instructor guide practical learning would be the theme. Students learn by interacting in groups and experimenting.
Flipped approach is designed to increase the engagement level of students during classes. Different teaching aids like interactive eBook, augmented reality, collective assignments, digital quizzing etc. are used by instructors to facilitate smoother learning. Classrooms no longer remain a place for taking notes; instead interactive learning takes center stage. Understanding the validity of concepts learnt and their applicability in real life problem solving scenarios become predominant. Learning from course books or videos happens at home or outside class as classrooms are used for practical learning, experimenting, communicating and collaborating.
Students can now listen to the study materials. Audiobooks are particularly beneficial for learners with reading related challenges. Visually impaired and dyslexic students can now listen to course curriculum with audiobooks. Audiobooks are beneficial for normal learners too. Listening to pronunciations can improve vocabulary and articulation skills significantly. The sensory touch to learning enhances brain’s potential to retain information for longer durations.
Both teachers and learns stand to benefit from dictation software. Students may have sustained physical injuries or are suffering from disabilities that prevent them from writing or typing. This software allows them to spell the lines to the computer vocally through it. Notes can be taken quickly. The spell check feature corrects wrong spellings which also improves vocabulary. The learning experience becomes personalized and computers can be used independently by learners.
Social Media driven learning
Social media has become an inseparable part of our lives. It offers innovative features which can be leveraged to fast-track collaborative learning. The interactive quotient of social media has rendered it relevant for educational domain. It is no longer viewed as an entertainment platform for spending time.
Significant amount of time is spent by students browsing social media posts. This has inspired k-12 institutions to gradually include social media based learning programs in e-courses for collaborative studying. Students can share content they find informative with their mates. Apart from posting content, useful content can be liked and commented which would improve the visibility of social posts.
Each institution can have exclusive social media page. This would motivate learners to interact more frequently and purposefully with their classmates on this online forum. Questions can be posted for doubt clarification. Peers as well as teachers can post answers. The relationship of learners with teachers would also become more positive and support oriented.
Digital Content Library
Another example of innovation in education system is the digital content library. All kinds of study related resources such as educational videos, eBooks, assignment materials, audiobooks etc. are stored in it. The virtual library is interactive in nature that engages learners with refreshing and informative content.
The resources prove useful to teachers also. They can elaborate about the concepts more efficiently and can inspire learners to interact with them frequently. Resources related to all subjects are present in digital libraries. There is no limitation on the quantum of learning material that can be stored in the library. Students can use the resources strategically and holistically to empower themselves intellectually.
To facilitate optimal engagement of learners, learning resources come embedded with multimedia and interactive content. This also helps learners to retain concepts longer in memory. Educational centers can leverage digital content libraries’ potential by incorporating them in e-learning modules of their institutions.
Skill enrichment of learners can be fast-tracked by mapping the online learning materials with the school board approved course curricula. The digital libraries can be customized as per course related needs of educational centers. Content in libraries can be provided in any or multiple languages.
Games of Simulation
Another of the various examples of innovations in education is the simulation game. A digital screen is used for simulating various scenarios and the actions can be controlled by learners. The experience is similar to playing video game. The difference lies in the fact that the simulation games are designed by factoring in the exclusive learning requirements of K-12 participants.
With simulation, a real life condition can be imitated on screen. Learners can grasp the conceptual aspect of things by participating in the process. This expedites learning process and also engages students better. More numbers of schools are including virtual conditions in their course curricula.
The advantage of simulation is that real life scenarios can be reconstructed digitally in safe mode. Take for example the incidents of shooting reported in US schools. To prepare teachers and students for such fatal situations, special simulation games have been developed. The games help participants strategize about the best possible escape route if such a tragic incident happens in future. Feasibility of different possible escape plans can be tested. Since the participant personally is involved in devising strategies, s/he can keep it in mind for longer and apply the same impulsively when situation worsens.
With simulated games, mistakes can be made without having to make amendments for the same. The analytical, critical thinking, decision making, and problem solving skills of learners are reinforced.
K-12 education system is increasingly and effectively using Augmented Reality as a powerful learning aid. CGI or computer generated imagery is overlaid on real world pictures which enhances the reality quotient of such mundane images. As normal images are enhanced, students find it fun to interact with them. This makes learning process immersive and more engaging.
Augmented reality is taken to the next level with virtual reality. Visuals are enhanced and users are given an impression that they are present in another dimension. A digital world substitutes the physical realm in virtual reality. Places of historic or geographic significance are best portrayed by Virtual reality. There is no need to physically visit a place. One just needs to put on a head mounted gear which would offer clear pictures of actual physical location.
The devices used for implementing virtual reality driven learning are somewhat expensive. However, the immersive experience provided to students benefit the process of learning immeasurably. Teachers can talk about the marvelous manmade creations of the past and also discuss about the unique designs and architectural principles of the same without having to venture out of the class. Students participate in the learning process and hence can retain the concepts longer in their minds. The extra-sensory experience can be heightened with the help of 3D multimedia which takes students to another world altogether.
The wearable technology is still in development phase. Its use in the context of learning is being explored aggressively. Those wearables which have been put into use assist learners suffering from disabilities and encourage their participation in study related activities through strategic devices. In K-12 education system, different wearables like watches are being used. The instructor can directly notify learners in classroom environment about their strengths and weaknesses. This makes learners more alert and also provides motivation for good work. Students who cannot openly express themselves before others or feel embarrassed to be pointed out for poor work before the class can benefit the most from the use of wearable technology in learning. However, the cost of using the technology for individual learners in a class is still high.
The trend of migrating to cloud computing and virtualized servers has gained pace. Content can be uploaded and saved in cloud. The same can be edited and shared from any location. There is absolutely no need of making multiple versions of one document. One need not carry pen or removable drive with him/ her with the saved version of the document in it. As the risk of getting pen drive stolen or corrupted is eliminated, the risk associated with loosing important documents has also become a thing of the past.
In K-12 learning environment, robotics has an important place. Robots like Nao, Ozobots, Cubetto etc. are available which can be integrated with learning technology based on affordability quotient of learners. Learners can create their own robots in the long run or can take support of robots already made. To cut down the expenses associated with procuring robots, the robots can be assembled in-house with donated or recon spare parts. The potential of robotics in K-12 system is immense.
STEM or STEAM
This trend is still evolving. The driver of STEM is the desire to prepare students for filling up various jobs in the domain of STEAM. In order to assimilate the benefits of STEM learning optimally, one needs to have problem solving skills that are applicable in other fields also. The STEM category is expansive and includes trends like the maker spaces, graphic designing, 3D printing, coding, engineering etc. In the near future, many more trends are likely to become part of STEM based K-12 education system.
Internet of Things (IoT)
Within the scope of IoT, a large number of digital technologies co-exist. You can use an app for starting the car remotely or can control the temperature of your home over the wi-fi. In K-12 education system, different applications of IoT are used constructively to integrate them with existing learning methods. IoT is facilitating optimum use of course material and eLearning content along with better note taking. School authorities can implement safety features that make classrooms more secure for learners. The exact location of a student can be tracked within the campus which makes it easier to identify learner’s whereabouts during an emergency.
K-12 education system is allowing recent advancements in technological domains to be incorporated in the field of learning also. Efficient leveraging of these technologies is rendering the learning process more immersive, engaging, interactive, personalized, and purposeful and value driven. The concepts taught through innovative technologies would not only add more value to learners’ but also allow them to effectively use them for solving real world challenges. The learning journey becomes more exploratory as students can use different digital resources to gain rich insights on their own. Increasing number of educational centers is embracing the innovative K-12 educational model in their curriculum for enhancing the teaching and learning experiences alike. Learning can be made more meaningful and useful with the help of immersive and engaging digital learning methods. Both students and teachers stand to benefit from K-12 education system.