Education has continued to evolve in 2017 as the focus remains on areas such as classroom environment and individualized learning technology. Keeping up with new trends can be a full-time job. Here are some of the more exciting ideas that are emerging trends this year.
Flexible learning can be traced back to 1907 when Maria Montessori created age-appropriate classroom space that encouraged active learning. Now, more than a century later, this type of learning has gained a lot of traction as many classrooms are designed for flexible learning with classroom space being designed to easily transfer from one learning purpose to another.
A flexible learning space encourages mobility and variety. The environment helps students prepare for the ever-changing and responsive environment in the real world. Ideas can be very simple and easily change the classroom culture.
Flexible learning encourages students to become comfortable in an evolving classroom setting and helps them discover their own individual academic success. Redesigning classroom space can provide refreshing, positive learning environment for all.
It's all about choice. Students grow through opportunities to choose the curriculum activities they find most interesting. Makerspace provides the physical space where resources and knowledge are shared, and open-ended exploration is encouraged.
Imagine a space where students can actively create, invent, and discover—this is makerspace. Opportunities for exploration can be presented in specific areas of the classroom with students having hands-on experiences. Results show students are less disruptive and more teachable when they are involved in creative or explorative activities.
Makerspace may simply be a cart or bookcase filled with crafts, art supplies, or age-appropriate blocks and Legos. A more advanced makerspace may include technology, wood-working, or sewing equipment. Each makerspace is unique to the classroom, teacher, and school. Once students realize that "makers" can be artists, programmers, engineers, inventors, and more, they enthusiastically embrace the concept of their individual potential.
Flipped space has been a growing educational model for several years now, but continues to evolve to improve classroom experience. Instead of the teacher lecturing to all students at the same time, the curriculum is made available by encouraging a video/digital culture. Students have a variety of digital devices with each providing a portion of the curriculum. Flipped space also offers students an opportunity for individual study while the teacher has an opportunity to interact with students who have questions or need more help. Students seem to be thriving in this model as they are given control of the intake speed of information. Many classroom management problems disappear with this environment.
As more schools strive to give each student a laptop computer, there seems to be an increase in student achievement with individual curriculum being offered in an one-to-one interaction. Digital curriculum is becoming the dominant curriculum, while personalized instruction continues to expand and gain attention. However, more teachers are finding a need for different technical tools depending on the task.
Students find laptops are the best devices when writing reports or taking tests. Some teachers also see the need for smartphones when collaborative learning requires social interaction. This is especially the case when group projects require communication with others to analyze and solve problems.
Digital Citizenship and Cybersecurity
Innovative and digital teaching trends are in high demand with safety concerns related to cybersecurity being taught to students. Even the youngest students need to be taught how technology can present dangers and teachers are seeing reasons to help students understand how to protect themselves.
Teaching trends continue to focus heavily on technology to encourage a new generation of self-driven education. Students are learning to be proactive in the educational process and involved in more hands-on learning to help them be more engaged in learning and develop greater critical thinking skills.