Adding Technology in the Classroom: What the Future Holds for K-12 Education

Google for Education has recently compiled a list of the hottest trends relating to technology in the classroom. The information was so compelling that we thought you should know what they had to say. The following eight topics have become a top priority for educators and parents around the world.

1. Digital Responsibility

Like it or not technology is here to stay. More than 39% of young people in the U.S. will have a social media account by the time they are 12 years old. The average amount of time Americans under the age of eight have spent with mobile devices each day has tripled between 2013 and 2017.

Teaching technology safety has become an imperative. Many of today’s younger teachers have grown up with technology. They understand its benefits and its dangers. They recognize the importance of teaching their students how to use technology in safe and responsible ways.

Teachers around the world agree that online safety must be part of today’s curriculum. They believe that children must not only learn how to use technology, but how to navigate it to avoid danger. As a provider of classroom technology tools, you are who teachers will be looking to for guidance and support.

2. Life Skills & Workforce Preparation

While many standard school subjects remain important, parents and educators would like to see school curriculum incorporate some more practical subjects as well. They want to see social and vocational skills mixed in with standardized testing. In a survey, 75% of parents think budgeting should be part of the school curriculum, while 71% want to see CPR taught in schools.

The concern is about how current curriculums will prepare students for adult life. It has become apparent that academic success is not the only type of success. Social skills, vocational training and basic life skills such as how to balance a checkbook are equally as important to leading a successful life. It is why Social Emotional Learning (SEL) has become a hot topic in recent years.

Teachers and administrators are working on incorporating SEL into their normal curriculum because they see the benefit. They believe that SEL can reduce discipline problems, increase academic success, and better prepare students for the real world.

3. Computational Thinking

Problem solving and digital skills have become a major concern for parents and teachers who want to see students develop these skills so they will be better prepared to join the workforce.

It is estimated that 92% of future jobs will require digital skills and we can’t even predict what today’s students will face in tomorrow’s job market. That is why   STEM education is growing in school curriculums, so graduates will be prepared to handle whatever tech challenges come there way. Digital skills such as problem solving, coding and an understanding of STEM subjects are no longer nice to have, they are a necessity. You can help teachers and administrators set up classrooms and curriculums that support these goals.

4. Student-led Learning

We all want the same thing – for our children to grow into responsible, self-sufficient, independent adults. That can only happen if we teach them to be those things. That’s why giving students ownership of their own curriculum and allowing them to determine what they want to study and how has become increasing popular in schools around the world. 65% of American educators say student-led learning is extremely valuable. Everything from what they learn, to how their classroom operates can help students become fruitful, independent adults.

5. Collaborative Classrooms

Where a child learns can be just as important as what they learn. Research has shown that everything from room color to lighting to acoustics to how a classroom is organized can affect learning.  A recently released MDR report entitled The Impact of Learning Spaces on Student Success has revealed that 94% of survey respondents believe that space impacts learning. Many schools are now looking at classroom design and layout, in addition to how they organize their classrooms as a way to foster creativity, collaboration and flexibility.

6. Connecting Guardians & Schools

In today’s world, often both parents are working full time jobs to support their family. It doesn’t mean parents don’t want to be involved in their children’s education, it just means that time is at a premium. It also means that parents may not always be aware of what is happening in school.

A 2018 online survey for parents and teachers of ages 2-12 discovered that there is in fact a large a discrepancy. The survey revealed that while teachers state that 30% of their students are reading below grade level, only 9% of parents believed their child fell into that category. The study showed that two-thirds of parents aren’t actually aware of their child’s reading level.

What is important for teachers to understand is that lack of involvement doesn’t mean a lack of care. Perhaps a parent can’t leave work or has no means of child care to get to a conference or doesn’t have means of transportation. Perhaps there is a language barrier or a cultural difference that leads parents to handle situations differently than how a teacher would expect. The bottom line is that teachers and parents need to be on the same page, how they get there requires effort and understanding, and you are in a position to help, with innovative tools and technologies.

7. Innovating Pedagogy

Teachers that like what they do and are aren’t bogged down in administrative tasks can offer students a better learning experience. It is estimated that in an eight hour day, teachers around the world spend an average of three hours a day on tasks such as lesson planning and grading tests and only five hours a day actually teaching.

Technology is seen as an excellent way to help teachers free up their time. It is being used to streamline the day-to-day administration so teachers can focus on the art of teaching. In an effort to help teachers, schools are focusing on professional development and positive motivators to assist in the development of teaching methods and better classroom interactions.

8. Emerging Technologies

Modern day children respond positively to modern day technology which is why more and more schools are incorporating emerging technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, Virtual Reality, and Augmented Reality into the classrooms. The use of tech in the classroom results in more innovative and engaging teaching experiences while providing valuable skills for use once children enter the workforce. Recent statistics show that 69% of teachers believe that technology can be used to support any subject, 82% think that using technology in the classroom better prepares students for future careers and by 2021, more than 15% of schools in the US are predicted to have a VR class kit.

So, what does all this mean?

It means that the world is changing and education must change with it. Technology in the classroom, technology as a means of communicating with parents, and for use in streamlining day-to-day tasks are imperative to success for both educators and students.

Today’s educational companies need to play a huge role in helping teachers incorporate technology into the classroom. The goal is to provide teachers with practical tools that they can use to engage their already tech savvy students in a safe and meaningful way, as well as, provide tools that make communication between parents and teachers better. Combining your tech with effective teaching methods is a powerful way to engage students, parents, and educators.

Thank you Google for Education for putting together this insightful report!

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