A key component of Post University’s Master of Education online degree program is helping students develop a vision for the future of education. It’s our goal to nurture creative educators who can transform educational programs and practices to meet the challenges, and respond to the opportunities, of this rapidly changing world.
Our online M.Ed. program prepares graduates to analyze emerging technology trends and effectively integrate innovative technology to support learning. They’re also qualified to establish collaborative learning communities that are inclusive and supportive of the needs of a diverse population of learners.
With a brand new decade rapidly approaching, we wanted to take a look at what’s on the horizon for the education industry in 2020 and what tomorrow’s leaders can expect to encounter.
- Hybrid homeschooling
The number of children who are homeschooled in America would more than double if parents felt better equipped to take on this important role. Some obstacles include:
- Burdensome costs and obligations
- Not every parent is qualified to teach every subject to their children
- An inability to devote themselves to homeschooling full-time
- Many families who would like to homeschool also want their children to benefit from being around other kids to learn how to share, cooperate, and develop social skills
Hybrid homeschooling addresses these needs and offers the best of both worlds, allowing parents to retain the oversight role while customizing their child’s education. This still-evolving model typically finds children splitting their time between homeschool and a more traditional schooling environment.
- Greater accessibility
In a piece for Forbes titled “Top 5 Digital Transformation Trends In Education For 2020,” Daniel Newman asks, “Do we even need to learn to read anymore?” That’s a provocative question worth pondering. He points to voice-to-text and text-to-voice transcription technologies and the increasing amount of information available in video and audio form that make knowledge accessible, regardless of how well someone can read. For students with dyslexia and other learning issues, this ensures “that learning is no longer limited by the easy ability to read. Huge!”
Newman also points to how digital technology is also improving accessibility in the geographic sense, especially for kids who don’t live in a top school district. He adds, “That child with dyslexia may live in a rural area that provides little support for learning differences. However, video conferencing makes it easier for even the most remote students to get the specialized support they need.”
- Augmented reality
Do a quick internet search, and you’ll find a variety of augmented reality (AR) apps for the classroom on nearly every subject. Most are designed to promote skills such as creativity, problem-solving, critical thinking, and analysis. AR enhances learning by letting students learn more about what they see while also providing them with opportunities to create their own content.
“AR is the next great disruptive force in education,” states Jacqui Murray in an essay for the National Education Association. This growing field of technology lets teachers supersize and expand their lessons by overlaying interactive digital elements—such as audio, text, video clips, 3D models, and animations—into real-world environments. This immersive, computer-generated simulation of real-life enriches the learning experience by creating a new, more meaningful reality students can interact with.
- Gamification in the classroom
Using video game design and game elements in learning environments is an approach that continues to gain in popularity and efficacy. Students are motivated to engage and learn in fun, challenging ways. They might go on quests instead of taking tests. “Failure” is reframed as a First Attempt In Learning, motivating kids to try again to improve their previous performance and “level up.”
Games teach, test, and promote problem-solving, communication, cooperation, and competition among students. “Some of the most immersive games have a rich narrative that spawns creativity and imagination in its players,” notes Ryan Schaaf, Assistant Professor of Technology at Notre Dame of Maryland University, adding that games are “powerful vehicles for human learning.”
- Trauma-informed education
The damaging effects of trauma on a child’s ability to learn start early and are well documented. Trauma might take the form of child abuse or neglect, domestic violence, or an addicted or imprisoned parent. Five-year-olds subject to such “adverse childhood experiences,” or ACEs, “score below-average in reading and math, even when other factors like household income and parental education are considered.” They are also “three times more likely to have problems with paying attention, and two times more likely to show aggression.” One in four U.S. students will witness or experience a traumatic event before the age of 4, and more than two-thirds by age 16, reports the National Education Association.
Trauma-informed classrooms, like those found in Franklin, Indiana schools, have a “calming corner.” Here, stressed-out or enraged students who may have experienced trauma can meet their emotional needs and self-soothe to avoid an eruption. “The calming corner helps students self-regulate without leaving the classroom,” said Franklin school counselor Angie Clendening. Such corners are often equipped with sensory tools, such as audio headphones, children’s books, magic sand, or stress-relieving putty.
- More flexible and specialized online programs and credentials
Some employers require that workers have specific skills rather than college degrees. To meet this need, many higher education institutions are offering alternative credentials and shorter online programs to help working professionals compete in a tight job market.
Digital technologies make it possible for students to have access to competency-based education and online learning programs that are flexible and relevant. Learners can study specialized content that they can instantly apply to a position. Examples of these new types of education products include professional certifications, both undergraduate and graduate.