Education has evolved dramatically in the last several years, from COVID-19 making classrooms virtual to new technologies affecting how kids to study and professors educate. The future of education must keep up with the fast-paced nature of the twenty-first century.
Because of project-based learning, the future of education is bright for young inventors and innovators. Project-based learning is a teaching style that allows students to gain information and skills by completing exciting projects. Working on a project over a lengthy period to examine and react to an issue, problem, or challenge is common. It entails active learning and deeper involvement, better training students to be creative and inventive in a project-based environment.
Immersive spaces in schools are one-way schools are incorporating project-based learning into their curriculum. For example, in collaboration with Inventionland Education, the recently built Berkshire School in Ohio created innovation zones such as a treehouse for third and fourth graders, a pirate ship for fifth and sixth graders, and a robot space for seventh and eighth graders. In an immersive learning environment, the environments encourage creativity and cooperation.
As Berkshire Local Schools Superintendent John Stoddard said in a recent Ohio newspaper story,
“The idea of our maker spaces and Innovation Labs complements our project-based learning approach well.” Instead of just remembering and repeating information, we want our students to comprehend how the concepts we teach operate. It’s a considerably more integrated, complete approach to integrating many disciplines, much like the actual world.”
From the chalkboard to the whiteboard to the SMARTboard, cutting-edge technology has always played a role in the classroom. This is still true in today’s fast-paced technological environment. Many schools around the world provide students with their own technology devices, and class assignments are increasingly posted on Cloud computing applications such as Blackboard, Google Classroom, and Microsoft Office 365 Education.
Even more exciting is the future of educational technology. With Augmented Reality, students can immerse themselves in whatever subject or unit they are studying (AR). For example, the app Elements 4D allows students to interact with the elements without performing experiments, and Arloon Plant AR allows students to explore the life cycle of plants using augmented reality.
3D printing technology will also be used more in the classroom. These printers enable students to test engineering design principles using mini-models, making complex concepts easier to grasp and visualize. For the 2022-2023 school year, the Calcasieu Parish School Board in Texas invested in 200 MakerBot SKETCH classroom sets, totaling 400 SKETCH 3D printers to be dispersed around the district. “Technology is always developing,” said the district’s Chief Technology Officer Kim Leblanc, “so we need to provide all of our student’s equal opportunity to achieve.”
Weeks of four days
As nations such as Belgium and Iceland transition to a four-day work week, several schools are considering establishing four-day school weeks as well. The approach often entails extending the remaining four school days and providing additional student learning assistance to ensure that kids do not fall behind.
Over 660 schools in 24 states will be using four-day weeks by 2020, with additional districts revealing intentions to do so shortly. To recruit and keep teachers amid the present teacher crisis, some schools are even switching to four-day weeks. For example, in the past two years, the number of school districts in Missouri that have adopted the four-day week has nearly doubled, likely surpassing 140 in the upcoming school year. As Mallory McGowin, a spokeswoman for the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, said to Education Week, “More and more now, the option is used as a teacher recruitment and retention tool.”
Many schools around the world are taking part in flipped classrooms. This is a type of blended learning where teachers record structured content for students to watch at home; once in the classroom, teachers answer questions and work through problems. This is the reverse of the common practice of teaching new content at school and assigning homework for students to complete at home.
The flipped classroom system allows students to review course materials at their own pace, researching further and rewatching content as needed. Its goal is to increase student engagement in school by utilizing class time for active learning, problem-solving, and discussions. Flipped classrooms were found to improve student learning in a meta-analysis of 114 studies.
Industry-based learning is a method of teaching in which subjects are taught in the context of industrial applications and commercial experiences. It aims to provide students with opportunities for personal development as well as technical and interpersonal skills development. Field trips to job sites, interviews with industry experts, conducting realistic experiments, completing internships, and other activities can all be part of industry-based learning.
Inventionland Education, for example, incorporates industry-based learning into its student-directed innovation curriculum. Students brainstorm ideas for new products or ways to improve existing ones in small groups before developing a working model and delivering a business pitch. Throughout the course, Inventionland Education connects students with industry experts who can provide advice and feedback on their projects. This allows students to learn the ins and outs of running a business and developing a product, as well as explore careers they might not have considered otherwise.
“We have found great success in joining industry leaders with young learners because it opens students’ knowledge to all of these different professions,” Nathan Field, Executive Director of Inventionland Education, told us at Tomorrow’s World Today. We’ve had several students return and tell us that our course has changed their life or career path.”
Virtual Learning Environments
Some school districts are taking flipped classrooms a step further by completely virtualizing some of their classes or entire schools. After seeing what virtual learning looked like during the COVID-19 regulations, hundreds of the United States 13,000 school districts established virtual schools in the 2021-2022 school year. Teachers at these stand-alone virtual schools only work with remote students and use a curriculum designed for online learning, truly representing the future of education.
Fulton County Schools in Atlanta, for example, has enrolled approximately 1,000 students in its new online school, which will open in 2021. Fulton Academy of Virtual Excellence (FAVE) enables students in grades 3-11 to take classes in a more flexible format that combines synchronous and asynchronous lessons. This allows students to work during school hours, after school hours, and on weekends. FAVE’s second year begins on August 8, 2022, following a successful first year.
More education news can be found in innovative back-to-school products, how NFTs are shaping education, schools with the best study abroad programs, and how schools are addressing teacher labor shortages.