Do you do that thing where you find yourself comparing today’s educational landscape to the environment you were in as a student? We noticed that we do this all the time.
Our teammates react to product developments with “That’s a great idea - when I was in school we did x thing instead.” Or when we talk big picture, we catch ourselves saying “I really wish y thing existed when I was in school.”
Education is always changing. Today’s students will be saying “back in my day….” in a decade or two, just like us.
We thought it would be interesting to ask ourselves what we define as the biggest changes in education since we were high school students 10-15 years ago. We limited ourselves to three big things and voted as a team. Here’s what we came up with.
Classroom Technology is Creating More Opportunities
If our team thinks back to our days in high school, we found the biggest change in education (we can all agree on) is the consistent digital engagement that more schools are able to provide today.
Some Chalkup teammates report having school-wide technology that was limited in scope and availability, while others remember computer labs without dedicated technology to keep classrooms in touch after school. Nothing mind-boggling here. The availability and sophistication of tech - and a school’s ability to distribute that technology - will always be lesser a decade ago.
Our takeaway is this: the scales are slowly tipping. Soon it will be more common (if it’s not already) that a school has some sort of school-wide technology in place. That could be an LMS or a school-wide communication platform. It could be actual hardware given to students in 1:1 initiatives.
With these advances in digital equality come new opportunities for connection.
More specifically, we see this as an indication that one-way exchanges of information are on their way out. Fewer classrooms will be structured as a teacher standing in front of a class, reciting information and expecting students to recite that information back. The future is in two-way exchanges. Students have more means of collaboration - more tools to give them a voice and choice in learning.
It’s More Possible Than Ever to Do Something Utterly Engaging
With that, our team agreed to make change #2 about engagement. We shared stories about our favorite classes and group projects from our years as students.
It didn’t take us long to discover that these memories all linked back to deeply engaging, collaborative groupwork or innovative assignments that allowed us to experience something new.
This inspired us to think about modern tools that are allowing educators to provide engaging experiences more often. Example: Minecraft. We’re blown away by tools like Minecraft that are presenting thoroughly engaging and educational experiences. There is much more out there designed to capture the attention and curiosity of students. It’s brilliant. Can’t wait to see how edtech vendors and teachers make things more and more engaging as time goes on.
Even if Personalized Learning is Contentious, We Agree Learning is More Personal Today
Finally, we settled on the personal aspect of modern education for our last point.
Our teammates were unable to recall many instances of anything that we’d today qualify as personalized learning. We had a few team examples of being able to select final projects or topics for assignments, but nothing meaty. It was a unanimous vote that education is trending in the direction of the individual learner. And that’s probably a good thing.