Essay Schools Of The Future
‘‘Another thing that will happen are online exams – NAPLAN is going live in 2016 and exams are already taken on the web by students in Europe on a large scale,’’ he says. ‘‘Instead of having an open-book exam, it will be an open internet exam.’’
By 2023, ‘‘virtual schools’’ will have sprung up where students learn online, just as Australian university students have been doing for the past 20 years. Professor Selwyn says the US is already far down the track of establishing online schools, with up to 2 million students enrolled in virtual K-12 institutions where they are taught via the internet.
‘‘In the US, 27 states now have official state-run virtual schools, and Philadelphia has just announced plans to open a very large virtual school,’’ he says. ‘‘But the rise of the virtual school is a result of budget constraints, falling enrolments and more kids beginning to take subjects online while also attending face-to-face teaching. Even now, if you live in rural Victoria, there’s nothing to stop a child taking a virtual class in languages or other subjects.’’
‘‘Blended learning’’, where students learn with others in a class as well as online at home, will become as much a part of Australian schools as it has in higher education, Professor Selwyn says. Sometimes this will be for logistical reasons such as remoteness or where students are unable to attend school because of medical problems. In other cases, the virtual school will serve as a ‘‘halfway house’’ where students can study online while also taking some classes in a regular school.
‘‘Then there are the massive open online courses or MOOCs that are beginning to be prepared for schools – with big online groups of school kids learning together. The first experiment with MOOCs is taking place in Florida and when you have big publishing companies such as Pearson involved, you can see where this is headed.’’
Looking a little further into the future, Professor Selwyn refers to the development by Monash researchers of a bionic eye that can manipulate the visual cortex of the brain: ‘‘This could lead to us having an external cognitive hard drive you could plug into your brain. Called metacognition, the idea is still very speculative but the potential is there to have this interface between the human brain and the technology.’’
The use of robots as teachers might also sound far-fetched but, he says, Japan has been using robots as teacher replacements for 10 years – in some cases even replacing the need for students to go to school. He refers to the case of a girl with a degenerative disease who has an ‘‘avatar robot’’ that takes her place at school and interacts with the other students.
This could lead to us having an external cognitive hard drive you could plug into your brain.
‘‘At the University of London, we had people who were embedding computer devices in a forest. Students could go into the forest and, holding a communication device, interact with microchips embedded in the trees and plants to learn about them. That would be great in a way but I like going on nature trips to discover things by myself so the danger is that technology runs away with itself and you end up with a solution in search of a problem!’’
Despite all the technological advances, Professor Selwyn cannot see the time when the bricks-and-mortar school will have entirely disappeared. He says schools tend not to be taken over by new technologies, rather teachers adapt them to suit their needs.
‘‘History tells us that overnight nothing will change radically: schools will still exist, kids will still go to school, perhaps with smaller bags, but they will have personal electronic devices, flexibooks and face online exams. Teachers, too, will be familiar with these things because now there’s a digital generation of teachers having grown up with the technology.’’
Technologically proficient teachers are important because students are not effective users of technology when it comes to learning, he says. Teenagers are very good at downloading videos or MP3 files but in terms of meaningfully using the technology to access information or collaborating to learn, adults are often needed to support them and show them what to do.
‘‘We have students at university who need help in learning to think critically about the way they use technology. So teachers have a key role to play. It’s not a matter of the kids taking over to show the adults how to use the technology, but rather the adults supporting the kids in learning how to use the technology.’’
Professor Selwyn has concerns that learning is not necessarily the driver behind schools being persuaded by international corporations to introduce new technology. He finds it worrying that Philadelphia is adopting virtual schooling to cut its spending on schools, not to tackle the educational problems the technology is supposed to be solving.
‘‘Many schools are investing in iPads for every student because it has been sold to them as a way of saving money. Which is crazy when you think of the short-term outlay on the technology with no evidence it will save money,’’ he says. ‘‘I’m also worried by the ‘individualisation’ of learning – where instead of being taught by a teacher, learning something becomes the responsibility of the student. This has big implications for the nature of schools.’’
Professor Selwyn says one of the ‘‘beautiful things’’ about school is that it is a communal endeavour. The new technologies are great in allowing people with the resources and the motivation to learn more in different ways. But the technology will not resolve inequalities between students: it will help some and leave others behind, exacerbating the social divisions it has failed to address.
‘‘It could be that old-fashioned schooling will make a comeback in 30 years, with school becoming an oasis to get away from the digital age, a place where you can go and slow down, and talk to people – back to the idea of learning from someone else by listening. We might be losing that in this rush to an individualised education.’’
He believes parents, teachers and schools need to look carefully at the issue of individualising learning. If the technology is being used to cut corners, to provide a second-rate education, people should see that for what it really is and do something about it.
1. Widely spread homeschooling approach
Due to the need to give education more individual approach, the priority will be given to homeschooling. Students will be able to study and learn what they want, when they want, and for as long as they want. It will also give more physical, emotional and religious freedom as well as opportunity to spend more time with family.
- Significantly less money is spent on homeschooling than on an average public school
- A school environment is more favorable at home. Peer pressure, competition, boredom, and bullies are no longer the part of an education process.
- There are approximately 2.3 million home-educated students in the United States. This is about 2 million children homeschooled.
- Parents of homeschooled children save $27 billion that would be spent on taxes annually if their children attended public school
- Statistics says that home educated graduates read more, understand politics better and are more involved in their community
2. Personalized learning
Students will cover the material with study tools adapted to capabilities of a student. [Learn here how to write a good hook for your essay.] As a result, students will be challenged with harder tasks and questions when a certain level is achieved. Those who experience difficulties with a subject will get the chance to practice more until they reach the required level.
- Individual, self-paced curriculum enabling comfortable and effective learning
- Learning environment that adheres to student’s needs
- Technologies that enriches learning potential and boost creativity
- Frequent skills checks that help to be in a constant study progress
- 93% of education professionals agree that personalized pacing helps students close achievement gaps and accelerate learning
- 94% of education professionals say that students improved their academic performance after technologies became incorporated into classroom
3. More e-learning platforms
With the help of technology, the way knowledge is passed on will undergo significant shift towards online platforms. [Great essay writing tips here, click to learn more.] Learning will incorporate virtual reality and multiple perspectives. New platforms will give students an opportunity to learn how to negotiate issues and exchange ideas online.
- E-learning is much more affordable for people with limited budget
- Distant learning enables to mix study, work and family duties, and maintain the balance between them
- Physical presence is not required, so learning becomes affordable in any corner of the world.
- In 2016, The Babson Survey Research Group reported that 28 percent of all U.S. college students attended at least one class over the internet.
- 39% of all adults say the format’s educational value is equal to the traditional course taken in a classroom.
- 71% of students think that virtual learning provides more flexibility and freedom to take classes.
4. No physical campuses
There will probably be no campuses as we know them today. Learning won’t be limited to a physical school. Traveling classrooms and the real world environment will be a new campus. However, city libraries and city laboratories will remain to help students complete their projects.
- Students are no longer dependent upon a certain place and are able to study wherever they are.
- Students become closer to nature as they have a chance to spend more time out of the classroom
- Unlimited study space makes students more open to the world around facing its real challenges
- Evidence proved that mental health and general well-being of children improve while taking part in practical activities conducted outdoors
- The study indicates that children who have taken part in Forest Schools showed a significantly higher pro-environmental attitude than those who have not
5. Project-based learning & Rise of EdTech in the classroom
Games that help kids code, toys which teach robotics, and various apps for teachers to efficiently deliver information to students will become common. Technologies will facilitate teaching and learning process. Learning will come to be more creative and practical. Students will be assessed on critical-thinking and problem-solving skills. Taking tests will be replaced by students’ performance through creative projects.
- Project-based learning combines creativity and collaboration to problem solve difficult questions and tasks
- PBL provides real world connection, structured collaboration, core to learning and multifaceted assessment
- Edtech in schools improves digital literacy enabling students to master technical skills such as coding
- Learning through reading or lecture videos and doing project or discussing what was learned in the classroom is possible only through Edtech
- Ed tech makes grading much easier. There are tons of EdTech tools that enables automated grading and measuring student progress.
- 86% of teachers believe it’s essential to use edtech in the classroom
- 96% of teachers are convinced edtech increases student's motivation for learning
- 92% of teachers say they are willing to use even more edtech in the classroom than they already do
6. Teacher as a guide
The role of a teacher will be not only to pass the knowledge but also to identify student’s strengths, interests and values. Their primary job will be to guide students in the areas where they need guidance as innovators.
- Teachers perform as facilitators to support students in developing their way of thinking and learning
- Teachers develop learning plans for students to obtain all necessary set of skills to be adaptable to whatever career paradigm that will emerge
- According to the report from The New Teacher project, teachers need to “rethink their pedagogies and curriculum in ways that enable students to customise their paths.”
- It is predicted to have an increase in teachers' technological-pedagogical content knowledge including three key components: technology, pedagogy and content.
7. Social and Emotional skills as a priority
To thrive in the workplace of the future, skills such as creativity, collaboration, communication and problem-solving will become must-have competencies for future specialists as the market will see a huge increase in jobs requiring a mentioned set of skills.
- In the classroom, students are taught SEL skills through discussions, cooperative group work, problem-solving and group reflection.
- Parents also encourage children to develop SEL skills by remaining involved in their child’s education and providing a safe environment that will foster their further development.
- Extracurricular activities such as sports and music perform as accelerators for quicker SEL skills attainment
- According to a 2011 meta-analysis, those who took part in evidence-based SEL programs demonstrated an 11 percentile-point gain in academic achievement compared to students who did not participate in SEL programs.
- A 2015 national study found that early prosocial skills decreased problems with education, employment, criminal activity and substance use