As we all take time to reflect on 2014, now is also a good time to look forward to 2015. This past year was eventful in education – we saw new measures to connect schools around the country, concepts like maker spaces, design thinking, and coding make their way into the mainstream, and teachers become more tech-savvy and connected.
At Digital Promise, we saw tremendous growth in 2014. We expanded the League of Innovative Schools, our national network of forward-thinking school districts, and partnered with middle schools to create innovative learning environments. We continued to address the thorny challenge of creating a thriving and sustainable ed-tech marketplace and launched a new effort to put research to work for both entrepreneurs and practitioners. We are spotlighting innovative ways to support underserved and undereducated adults. And, we are recognizing the important skills professional educators develop throughout their careers.
Looking to 2015, what will the new year bring for the future of education? What innovations and ideas do we hope to see in action?
I hope everyone is provided the access and opportunities to power their own learning through the best that technology has to offer. Members of the Digital Promise team share their own thoughts below.
Where do you see education moving in 2015? Share your thoughts in the comment section below!
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“I’d like to see education move even faster towards a competency-based model where learners are given the agency and support to reach their goals in a personalized way. More importantly, I’d like to see those competencies focus on the skills needed in a globalized, information-rich economy – skills like empathy, collaboration, information literacy, critical thinking, resourcefulness, communication, and creativity.”
“I think instances of personalized learning will become more and more present in classroom settings. I recently heard the sentence, ‘Treating kids equitably is not treating them the same.’ There are a lot of people in education working to create a system that reflects that!”
“The Internet allows people to learn whatever they want, whenever they want. However, one must know how to learn to take full advantage of this resource and the information it provides. In 2015, I think education will increasingly focus on the skills and habits of mind necessary for students to find, critically evaluate, and organize knowledge on topics that are personally meaningful to them.”
Partnerships and Global Initiatives
“Every morning when I read the news, I am struck by how important it is for people to have the skills to collaborate and communicate across lines of difference. In 2015, I think we will see many more classrooms making efforts to connect across cultures and borders, learning more deeply about the world we live in and taking action to improve it.”
“Last year I visited schools that strive to measure student growth and the mastery of skills that matter in the real world today. In 2015, I hope more schools give students the opportunity to approach learning as a process of growth and exploration and, truly take ownership of their education.”
“In 2015, I think school districts, ed-tech companies, and researchers will emphasize the student as a key element of learning. Through the League of Innovative Schools, we’re starting to understand how important students’ habits of mind – the non-cognitive skills that influence a student’s ability to learn – are in academic and career success. We hope to see more learning environments that focus on student interests and learning preferences to build skills like creativity, motivation, self-efficacy, goal-setting, persistence, and grit.”
“In adult education, 2015 will bring an even greater alignment between how academic and work-readiness skills are developed in the same classrooms. While this is a positive trend, I also hope adult education teachers are able to focus on teaching their students how to learn in a way that is content-agnostic. That way, if a student has to reinvent herself at some point in her career, she will know how to adapt to whatever path presents itself.”
“I see education continuing to play a key role in helping all of us deepen our critical consciousness of injustices across society and work together to build a better world in 2015 and beyond. When engaged and structured in a democratic way, I believe education can provide the cognitive tools and content to see the world from others’ perspectives and overcome what William James called ‘a certain blindness in human beings.’ A prime example of this work from 2014 are the texts, lesson plans, and pedagogy shared by educators on Twitter through #FergusonSyllabus.”
“With the strong push toward alternative online learning opportunities in 2014 – like Coursera/Udacity, General Assembly, traditional online courses, Google ‘Helpouts’ – a complementary way of measuring and recognizing what students learn in these environments must emerge in 2015.”
“In 2015 I think education in America will start to grapple with the hard work of identifying and recognizing skills and competencies, rather than credit hours and seat time, for both students and teachers. This will help create an education system that truly focuses on developing college and career readiness and ensures that students enter the world with the skills they need to succeed.”
“?From immigration to climate change, criminal justice to the Common Core, 2014 was a big year for public debate on big issues, local and global alike. I think in 2015 we’re going to see more schools place a larger emphasis on civic learning and engagement – in the classroom, in the community, and powered by digital technologies – to prepare students for college, career, and citizenship.”
“I’m hopeful that in 2015, the public debate over the future of education becomes more about highlighting solutions than bemoaning failures. After a year in which this debate grew increasingly petty and toxic with competing sides became further entrenched, let’s come together around what’s possible and what works in 2015 and beyond.”