Trends in education keep changing time by time. The ever-changing landscape of education is rife with conversation about what works to educate children and what doesn’t. Add to that the ebb and flow of adding technology to the classroom. Then you’ve got new ideas and methods for learning constantly being introduced. Keeping up with the buzzwords around these trends in education, understanding what they mean, and deciding how to incorporate it into your classroom is a challenge.
Below you’ll find the top 5 trends in education and a Teaching Tip to feature it in your classroom.
Gamification takes everyday activities and makes a game out of them. Where once children were bored with completing math sheets, they become engaged in finishing their work when it is gamified, perhaps through awarding points for the number of completed answers and awarding prizes at the end of the week.
Teacher Tip: Change your workload to “quests.” Each task in the classroom is a quest the student goes on. Allow some freedom in choice when completing quests. For example, during “Quest Hour,” a student may choose to build with blocks, read a book, draw a picture, complete a math sheet, or do multiple quests within the hour. Completing quests earns the child experience points. Leveling up means the child gets more advanced work and more options (like playing a learning game on a computer).
2. Maker Learning
Maker learning can be a STEM activity that incorporates engineering and math, an art activity, or research and writing. It builds on a child’s intrinsic desire to learn through hands-on work. Give a child a part of Play-Doh and, even without instruction, eventually, that child can make a perfectly smooth ball or snake because he or she experimented with manipulating the dough into different forms.
Teacher Tip: Create a maker space or maker box in your classroom replete with legos, Play-Doh, LED lights, yarn, aluminum foil, tape, paper, cardboard, balloons, sticks, and blocks. If you have the funding, consider getting Minecraft or Photoshop on a laptop or an iPad. Make sure your items are age appropriate. Give children some time at least once a week to spend time making perhaps by rotating groups through the maker space each day.
3. Blended Learning
As tech advances and children become more accustomed to using it, so too must traditional classrooms adapt. Blended learning merges traditional teaching with online instruction. The Online Learning Consortium says blended learnings is any education that incorporates between 30% and 70% of instruction in an online environment. This goes beyond assigning a video to watch. It means follow-up in the classroom on what the child is learning.
Teacher Tip: There are amazing free and paid resources available for blended learning. Quiz programs like Kahoot and Quizzlet mean you can continue to engage students beyond the classroom through fun testing programs. You could also assign homework on Khan Academy which has extensive free coverage of many subjects including math, science, computer programming, engineering, arts and humanities, and college test prep. These programs allow kids to work at their own pace, watch videos, complete quizzes and tests, and practice skills they learn.
4. Genius Hour
During Genius Hour, students combine personal passions with self-directed learning. It is a time that promotes creativity, inquiry, and research by allowing a child to explore subjects of interest in loosely-structured projects.
Teacher Tip: After your students have decided on the project they will pursue, have a pitch session in which they present their ideas via a 4-slide PowerPoint or another 30 seconds to one-minute presentation format. Have them explain what they are working on, why they want to do it, how they are going to complete the project, and what metrics they will use to measure success.
5. Teaching Empathy
Understanding and sharing the feelings of others is empathy. There are two types of empathy: affective and cognitive. Affective is when a person shares another person’s emotions while cognitive is where a person imagines the alternate perspective. Teaching empathy helps students understand others which makes them more compassionate. Students better able to critically analyze altering points of view which can lead to greater success in life.
Teacher Tip: A fun activity to help students identify alternate viewpoints is to write reverse stories on classic fairy tales and myths. Take the POV of Medusa or Maleficent, the Big Bad Wolf or the Witch in Hansel and Gretel. Try to encourage students to consider the background of the person and what led to his or her unfortunate circumstances. What could have changed in the background story to have created a different outcome? Or imagine a way in which the person could redeem himself or herself.
Check out this list of 30 education for more ways to enliven your classroom and engage your students.