5 important trends in education for 2021
The stand-out trend over the past 12 months was, of course, the shift to online or virtual learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Schools, Universities and educational institutes all over the world had to adapt almost overnight, drastically changing the way they delivered classes. As it became increasingly clear that the situation would not be short-lived, the focus shifted as schools saw that it would be necessary to ensure effective teaching and learning in the long term rather than just getting by using temporary solutions.
One thing that is for certain is that the educational landscape has changed forever, and educational technology (EdTech) is here to stay, global crisis or not. Read on to learn more about the latest projected trends in education for 2021.
1. Focus on student’s well-being
The COVID-19 pandemic has affected us all; students, teachers, parents, and families, and the importance of self-care has never been clearer, so much so that it has become a part of everyday education. According to Dr Ariel Lindorff of the Department of Education at Oxford University, there is convincing evidence of a .
Schools have always focused on well-being but because of the pandemic well-being can no longer be overshadowed by academics. Subjects like PSHE (Personal, Social, Health and Economic Education) and SEL (Social-emotional Learning) are focusing on well-being, and many PHE departments are rebranding to include well-being. Educating students on the importance of self-care and their general well-being, as well as supporting them and providing them with the tools they need to deal with stress and other negative experiences, is a top priority now and will need to remain so for many years to come.
2. Helping staff members to support young learners
Within schools, the impact of the pandemic can also be felt by staff members. In the latest ISC Research on wellbeing in international schools, staff in international schools consistently felt that their work was meaningful and purposeful, and staff take pride in what they do. However, without proper support it is hard for members of the team to support the students’ needs, making sure to interact with children who are struggling when the team members themselves are also responsible for their own wellbeing in a lockdown situation. Teachers must be supported so that they in turn can support their students.
3. Blended Learning and online assessments
Blended learning means that students learn partially from direct teacher instruction and partially from IT-based activities. Aside from being a rather necessary move due to recent circumstances, the upshot of this change is that it encourages student autonomy and allows for more flexibility in terms of curriculum. For example, many IB* (International Baccalaureate) schools like Amity Amsterdam are using an online platform called Pajoma, which allows us to offer a greater range of courses than on-site staffing would permit.
Another benefit of blended learning is that it allows more options for learning. Students can have individualised programmes based on their own interests and preferences, no matter where they are in the world.
Here at Amity, we are in the process of onboarding a new system, called MAP Growth, and we are looking forward to seeing the impact it has on our teaching and learning. In short, MAP Growth allows us to pinpoint student knowledge in English and Maths, making sure that we understand a student proximal zone of learning before we start teaching a new unit. This new mapping of data allows artificial intelligence to pinpoint within subskills a child’s level of understanding and the results can give excellent insight into how the school needs to tailor the teaching and activities to the students’ individual needs.
4. Online Safeguarding
For students, digital citizenship is defined as the ability to use technology and the internet both effectively and appropriately. As our Gen Z students are simultaneously learning about the physical and digital worlds, it is essential to teach them how to be good citizens in both. Some commonly taught aspects of digital citizenship include screen time balance, safety and privacy, respect, connecting, and learning.
Anybody who works with, comes into contact with, or spends time around children has a duty to safeguard and protect them from any potential harm. The switch to online learning has meant that the way in which we safeguard our students has had to change too. Schools must ensure that appropriate filters and monitoring systems are still in place on our IT systems or the resources that we recommend, that the technologies and programmes we use are acceptable and appropriate, and that we are communicating in a safe way, for example not through private social media accounts. Teachers must also be equipped with the knowledge to educate children on e-safety, to ensure they are safe while online, in the same way that we would if they were on the school premises.
5. Virtual and Augmented Reality
Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) technologies are slowly but steadily creeping into many different fields and industries, and education is no exception. Immersive VR experiences require a VR headset, which can be expensive. However, more affordable options do exist, such as Google Cardboard, which allows the user to use their own smartphone. AR, on the other hand, only requires the user to have access to a smartphone or tablet. Rather than immersing the viewer in an alternative reality, it layers images on top of what the viewer can see in their own environment.
VR and AR are very useful tools that allow students to see and think beyond the four walls of the classroom. They can be used for things like field trips, career experience, training, language immersion, and travelling back in time for history lessons! According to recent studies, VR in education is predicted to be a $700 million industry by 2025. In addition, education is expected to be the fourth biggest sector for VR investments by 2025 (VRARA).
*Amity International School Amsterdam is a candidate school for the MYP and DP pursuing authorisation as an IB World School. IB World Schools share a common philosophy – a commitment to high-quality, challenging, international education. Only schools authorised by the IB Organisation can offer any of its four academic programmes: the Primary Years Programme (PYP), the Middle Years Programme (MYP), the Diploma Programme (DP), or the Career-related Programme (CP). Candidate status gives no guarantee that authorisation will be granted.