A look ahead to education trends we will face in 2021
2020 has forced us to redefine education. With disruption comes opportunity. Most of the changes were knee-jerk reactions in the face of uncertainty. But as we enter 2021, we have had time to plan, adapt, reflect, and adjust. What has been successful? What are we going to do differently? It is time for a new outlook, a new approach. We need to rethink the hows, the whats and the wheres of education. Education has been under severe scrutiny, and now is the time for learning to be reimagined.
1. reinterpret (an event, work of art, etc.) imaginatively; rethink. verb
So, what is learning reimagined? How do we take the lessons from years past and truly affect change in how we educate our youth? What are the trends we will see in 2021? How do we imaginatively rethink the teaching and learning that takes place? How will we do better? How can we be better?
To begin, there will be the continued presence of online learning. Online education saved our students this year. Its value was proven over the course of 2020 as a supplement for many students, and as a complete replacement for others. When done correctly, online education is student-centric. It allows students to personalize how they learn by the implementation of different learning styles. It allows students to adjust the pace at which they learn by being able to “go to school” on their schedule. It allows students to work at a rate that complements his/her learning needs, and increases both the opportunity and likelihood for success.
Secondly, the personalization of education, whether it be online, in person, or a combination of both, will be a part of 2021. Gen Z kids are used to having things their way on their schedule. Personalizing their phone’s content, personalized playlists to listen to whatever and whenever they choose, immediate access to any movie or television show “suggested for you,” personalized news feeds, ringtones, emojis, memojies … the list is endless, and it makes sense that personalized education is next. Students expect it.
Lastly, online platforms for collaboration will be a necessary component to educating post-pandemic students. Zoom is a platform that had a remarkable 414% growth, equating to almost $2.4 billion in revenue, up from $623 million in January of 2020. (Read more about Zoom’s worth here). While Zoom was a lifeline this past year, it does not have depth in its capability for significant collaboration. Students will be seeking ways to get together without physically being in the same room to work on projects together, and teachers will demand online collaboration for staff development. The flexibility in education was born of necessity and is a definite game change.
Students have come to realize this year that school can be flexible in regard to attendance, creative in the ways of learning, and more meaningful when done on their terms. Learning reimagined. Parents have been more involved than ever before, and teachers have been creative beyond measure. Learning reimagined. Educators have realized there is so much more to educating our students than an eight-hour day in a brick-and-mortar school building. Learning reimagined.
While 2020 gave us unimaginable hardships, it now allows for unbelievable opportunities. Our students have proven their resilience. Now it is time to prove ours. Learning reimagined.