We’ve had a chance to step back and marvel at our 2014 accomplishments and the improving landscape of learners at all levels. Now, as we step forward into 2015 we’re excited about the new problems set to be solved, the new realities of today’s students, the gifts educators don’t get under Christmas trees, edu-resolutions ripe resolved, and what lies ahead for student and teachers.
What’s a new year without optimism? Without a positive outlook on all things capable? What’s a new year without gathering to peer at the horizon of where we could be headed if we’re all in this together?
In the style of our friends at Digital Promise, Team Getting Smart took time to celebrate the launch of Smart Parents, GenDIY, and the new year by examining how 2015 will be different for parents and students. Here’s what we think 2015 will hold:
With increased access to anytime, anywhere learning, students will have more options than ever to personalize their education in 2015. No longer confined to the walls of their classrooms or zip codes, it will be possible for any student to take classes online from teachers around the country, receive therapy and support not currently offered at their school and participate in work-based training and internships that will make them career ready. Of course ensuring these options are available for students will mean making sure that teachers, administrators and parents have the information needed to advocate for and inform students of all the exciting choices they have!
2015 will mean lots of schools and districts moving from planning mode to implementation mode on efforts related to personalized and blended learning. Teachers will continue to act as leaders in many of these shifts as they seek out solutions that work best for the students in their classrooms and share best practices with their colleagues. We encourage schools and districts moving into full implementation efforts to get clear on their goals for teaching and learning and stay true to them throughout the process.
2015 will bring more knowledge to parents about the opportunities available to their students thanks to personalized, blended learning. With increased knowledge, families will have greater opportunities to make informed decisions regarding education and the opportunities available to become college and career ready. Increased knowledge means more informed decisions which ultimately results in smart parents.
Over the past few years we have seen a drastic increase in the availability of competency-based online and blended higher education. Practice makes perfect, and 2015 will provide even better student experiences for quality higher education. Personalization of virtual learning, including cohorts and webinars allows all kinds of students to get exactly what they need from a degree program. And, as more programs become available, they are becoming more affordable, leaving behind the worries of paying off student loans for years after.
The tolerant, educated, enterprising, and hyphenated realities of millennials will continue to shape the field, especially when it comes to understanding how we (‘88 baby here) learn and understand how we can create positive change in the world. 2015 will be the year of student voice. This year as we catalogue the stories of Generation Do-It-Yourself (GenDIY), educators and EdLeaders will shape instruction, strategies, and practices to best fit the jobs of today and tomorrow because in reality young people aren’t only the leaders of tomorrow, we are the leaders of today.
As noted on New Years Eve, solutions to a handful of EdTech issues will emerge in 2015. It will get easier to combine formative data, compare student growth rates, and acknowledge progress. I also hope we’ll see better guidance and counseling systems.