Our world is rapidly changing, and, as a result, our education system is quickly transforming as well. Here are three of the ways that American education is changing:
Schools in 2019 are making moves towards personalization. Whereas once students were all taught the same way, today we recognize that some people learn differently than others. We also know that, although learning differences exist, they are not necessarily a reflection of intelligence or potential. These realizations have resulted in a collective effort to ensure that all students are being taught in a way that gives them the best chance of success.
Large-scale education is difficult to personalize, but schools are making efforts nonetheless. Private and public schools often address personalization differently. In general, though, teachers can personalize learning by incorporating several learning styles into their lessons. For example, a Kindergarten teacher may be teaching about the life-cycle of a butterfly. He or she could read about it to their students, show them pictures or videos, or bring in caterpillars and allow the students to witness the life cycle for themselves. The teacher will know what learning styles they need to incorporate for their unique body of students, but using methods that like this covers multiple learning styles— allowing each student to learn in their own individual way.
Technology is rapidly changing and infiltrating our education systems. It’s not unusual to see students as young as elementary-age with IPads or other tablets. Video has become commonplace in the classroom and will likely be seen even more in the future.
Online and blended classrooms, which are a mix of online and face-to-face meetings, are also becoming popular in schools throughout the US. The inclusion of technology in education has made it more accessible. Knowledge is easier to obtain than ever. Technology has also “breaks down the walls” of traditional education by allowing students to “travel” anywhere in the world with the help of video.
In the early 2000s, each US state had its own educational standards. These standards, however, were not consistent across the country. In one state, high schoolers could be required to know certain things or demonstrate specific skills to graduate. Meanwhile, the high school students in a neighboring state may have been able to graduate without the same knowledge or skills. These discrepancies led us to the system of education we now know as “Common Core.”
Forty-one states have adopted the Common Core state standards. CoreStandards.org defines the Common Core as “a set of high-quality academic standards in mathematics and English language arts/literacy (ELA).” These standards were put into effect in 2009 after state leaders pulled together to create high and consistent goals for all students in American classrooms.
Although personalization and standardization seem to be opposite in some ways, both are being pushed in today’s education. We want all of our students to have the same opportunities to learn and succeed, but we also understand that’s it is necessary to ensure that standards are met in our schools. Personalization and standardization can work together if they are appropriately balanced.
We can expect to see our education system continue to change with new technology breakthroughs, new learning discoveries, and as standards are proven to be effective (or ineffective). Who knows what education will look like 20 years from now? Only time will tell.