TRENDS IDENTIFIED BY TEACHERS AND STUDENTS
In many ways, teachers and students are better placed than industry, policy-makers and educational technology researchers to identify significant trends affecting education, because they experience at first hand in their daily lives how new devices and tools are being used and the pedagogies that best exploit their potential. That is why European Schoolnet, in the Future Classroom Lab initiative, is taking regular soundings of teachers and students in Europe to gather their views on which trends are likely to impact most on the future classroom, and to share the analysis of the results with industry, policy-makers and researchers.
Teachers are encouraged to take five minutes to make their views heard on the future of teaching and learning by completing the survey in one of five languages:
Some examples of trends identified by users of the Future Classroom toolkit in the iTEC project and online courses in the European Schoolnet Academy.
The realities of teachers
A new professionalism
There has been lately a great emphasis on teacher professionalism. It appears that many education systems have come to the conclusion that the quality of teachers is the most important factor to improve learning. This is leading to incentives for those teachers deemed to be good, to tighter recruitment of graduates, and stricter controls on the quality of teaching.
Formative assessment has come of age
Most educators nowadays agree about the effectiveness of formative assessment, that is, assessment used on a daily basis for diagnostic purposes and to dynamically adapt teaching, rather than for grading. At the same time, it is now become clear that this type of assessment requires a deep re-think of the traditional roles of teachers and students, which takes time and support.
Learning goes outside, does the teacher follow?
Education has always been associated with schools. However, this relationship is now under stress as new technologies move learning outside of the school walls. This trend poses challenges to the traditional role of the teacher. Some specific opportunities and risks are: educating outside school hours, more emphasis on facilitation, mentoring and guidance, increased workload, linking with families, some risks of establishing informal links with students (e.g. using emails and texts).
Inclusion in practice
Many classes in European schools are now culturally and ethnically diverse. Teachers are becoming increasingly experienced in dealing with diversity and know how to recognise and address inclusion issues when these arise.
Low carbon teaching
This trend is associated with much wider trends, from climate change to the shift towards more sustainable lifestyles and alternative sources of energy. Schools and teachers are increasingly encouraged to incorporate these themes in curricular activities, discussions and tasks with learners.
The realities of students
STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics)
There is currently a great emphasis on STEM skills, but there is also a persistent lack of interest from students (particularly girls) in these subjects and jobs compared to other disciplines and professions. Many learners feel disconnected from the reality of industry and lack real-world experience in crucial subjects.
21st century skills
Students increasingly expect to acquire competences that make them employable in the future. These include media and ICT literacy, communication, problem solving and collaboration.
Students live in worlds filled with engaging technology and opportunities to pursue personal interests and motivations. Once they enter schools they have to leave behind such interests and motivations. This creates a divide between the way “schools teach” and the way “students learn” in informal learning environments. Schools are nowadays facing a challenge trying to bridge this gap.
Too much information
Learning resources are increasingly available digitally. The saturation of information, and ubiquitous access to such information, are becoming a challenge for many students who don’t know how to deal with such complexity and abundance.
We don’t want to ‘power down’
Parents and pupils are pushing for increased adoption of ICT in the classroom (combined with new teaching practice which effectively utilises the technology to enhance learning.
Enhanced learning spaces
Learning spaces (i.e. physical ones) may not change in the next few years but advances in enabling ICT means the dynamics of learning (personalisation, collaboration inside and beyond classroom) will.
Learning platforms (e.g. VLEs / LMSs) will continue to play a role as management tools but advances in Web 2.0 (and Web 3.0) will challenge these technologies as traditional content delivery models.
User generated content will lead the way
User generated content and high quality shareable resources will increasingly support teacher led and peer based learning as suitable standards emerge or are developed.
Better access to content and resources
Web 3.0 will allow pupils to connect with both content and valuable information sources. Resource based content will be enhanced by subject experts, other learners and mentors.
Multi-touch input is here to stay
Integration of interactive display technologies such as whiteboards and other multi-touch devices with other technologies e.g. net books, smart phones, learning platforms (some owned by school and some by learner) will promote collaborative learning and move it beyond ‘transmission’ and ‘instruction’.
Promising innovations are emerging
Research into the use of digital games, 3D, immersive learning environments and augmented reality have provided positive results so far. Further research is necessary, and likely to take place, which must demonstrate how the potential benefits may be brought to scale.