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A lot has happened in the past year, not only in the world in general, but also in the realm of education in the United States. Students are standing up for their beliefs and making a difference, they are utilizing technology in new and innovative ways, they are considering the ways their current choices will impact their future, and they are learning differently both in and out of the classroom.
Making Their Voices Heard
Students of today are far more politically charged than students in previous years. They know about what’s happening in the local and national governments, they have strong opinions about policies and social issues, and they are making their voices heard and having an impact on their communities. Teachers are embracing this passion and fervor by implementing current events instruction into their daily classes and they are encouraging students’ interest in politics and social issues.
Embracing the Technological Advances
Teachers have been implementing technology in the classroom for years, but only recently has it really transformed into an absolute must in education. Students are no longer accepting of tech-free classrooms and teachers are no longer denying the benefits of tech within the classroom. Educational games that can be played on computers, tablets, and phones are becoming far more educational and are truly helping students learn more. Students and teachers are connected digitally far more often nowadays, as they can connect on social media, web-based platforms for their schools and classes, and through educational software that can be accessed from anywhere.
The technological advances are not just about individualized learning, such as students working independently on a computer or tablet in the classroom. They can also include things like interactive presentations, audio-visual elements in lessons, video clips, and more. Cell phones can be utilized for class-wide polls and games, and apps can be used on tablets and computers to reinforce learning concepts. Additionally, web-based resources, like YouTube, can help students explore new ideas, learn about new things, and interact with students from other places. Allowing students to use individual tech to learn at their own pace is also incredibly beneficial for retention and understanding.
Looking Beyond the Diploma
Students today are very concerned with their future after graduation and they are more aware of the idea that life exists after high school. While school districts have struggled with the concept of “teaching to the test” for decades, teachers and students are aiming to focus on the future while also making strides toward improving test scores. High school students, in particular, know that they will need real-life skills and knowledge that may not come from a textbook, and they are attempting to acquire a skill set that will serve them after graduation, whether they attend college or enter the workforce.
Utilizing Innovative Techniques to Enhance Engagement
As mentioned previously, students have long-desired technology to be integrated into every facet of their life and their learning. As tech makes its way into homes, classrooms, and the hands of every school-aged child in the country, teachers have to keep up. Not only have educators gotten extremely creative in their technological integration, but they’ve also improved their non-tech teaching methods to keep students engaged while in the classroom. It’s harder than ever to keep the focus of a class full of students, but teachers are utilizing activity-based learning and interactive lessons to not only engage their students, but also to help enhance their learning.
The past year saw a number of schools and classrooms shifting their approach to teaching with more intentional interaction and discussion-based lessons. Teachers are embracing the notion that student engagement is becoming more challenging, and many school districts have made the change from old curriculum programs to new and innovative curricula that focuses on engaging students and utilizing the tech at their disposal to enhance learning.
It’s undeniable that education is changing each and every year, and a big part of that involves the ever-shifting world of technology. A huge part of 2019 in the world of education included the implementation of new and advancing technology, and we anticipate that to be the case for many years to come. Students of today have new and unique ideas, needs, and challenges that we haven’t seen in education before, and educators everywhere are aiming to implement positive changes in order to continuously meet the needs of their students.