learning

Assessing the Year 2020: 6 Trends and Innovations in Education

The field of education is constantly evolving. Every year we are being introduced to new trends. And the faster technology advances, the quicker these trends alternate.

Apart from technology, there are also a number of other factors that stimulate changes in the educational field. One of such factors turned out to be the ongoing global pandemic.

It forced us to break the traditional academic system and adjust to the new rules. And this fact also brought a number of trends that might be staying for good.

What are the main innovations and trends we’ve seen in the educational sphere in 2020? In this article, we are going to answer this question. Let’s dive in!

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Education in 2020: Top 6 Innovations and Trends You Need to Know About

The traditional classroom is long left in the past. Over the past decade, the learning system has transformed completely. Instead of focusing on delivering as much knowledge as possible, today’s teachers focus on engaging students and delivering the best learning experience. And this is only a small part of all the changes that are already there and those that are only evolving.

Although this field is changing constantly, it seems like the past year has brought us the most changes. So, what has 2020 brought to us? To help you keep up with time, we’ve gathered some of the most significant tendencies of the outgoing year.

Online Help

Online academic help has been trending for quite a while. Many students from all over the world have long discovered the benefits of delegating their tasks to professionals. However, in 2020, this trend began to gain momentum even more.

Being unable to get in-person tutoring and assistance really enhanced the demand for online academic help. Online writing services like Essayhelp.com, editing services, freelance tutors – all of these are extremely popular these days. Such services help students stay afloat even in the most complex situations and still perform great at schools.

If you still don’t have such a helper by your side, be sure that you are falling behind. It is an absolute must-have for every student!

Bite-Sized Learning

Young people’s attention span has significantly changed over the past decade. The deeper technology integrated into our lives, the lower got students’ ability to concentrate and stay focused in the classroom. And the problem keeps growing bigger.

According to studies, the average attention span of a modern student is only about 10-15 minutes. This fact forced teachers and schools to look for another approach to training in order to find new ways to engage their students and keep them focused.

This brings us to one more tendency we can observe in 2020. It is bite-sized learning. In a nutshell, this strategy implies delivering the educational materials in smaller chunks. Such an approach allows teachers to make the program appear easier and less intense. At the same time, it makes lessons much more interactive and engaging.

Source:freepik

AR

This next trend has been topping for the last few years. As technology evolves, education specialists find more and more exciting ways to integrate it into the learning process. And one of the most innovative and exciting changes we are observing currently is the integration of AR (Augmented Reality) that brings education to a whole new level.

In the nutshell, AR merges virtual and real worlds. The main advantage of AR in the learning process is that it delivers an interactive, hands-on experience and makes the process much more efficient and fun.

With the help of AR, students can look inside the human body, take a trip to space, and learn complex concepts from the inside. And all this can be done right from the classroom. This is one of the best tendencies and we believe it has the potential to stay with us.

Distance Learning

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One more big shift we’ve seen in 2020 is a global switch to distance learning. This year, due to the lockdown, it was a forced measure. However, it might as well become a new big thing in education.

At this point, distance learning is still in its infancy stage. The global pandemic has shown us that most of the schools around the world were not ready for this change. Many teachers lack the technical background and skills to ensure a smooth and effective workflow in an online environment.

However, those issues can be easily overcome. With some decent training and effort, we can bring distance learning to a new level and that’s when everyone will be able to enjoy all the benefits it can offer.

Being able to study at home can give students enough flexibility. Also, it can make self-paced learning possible, which is also a good thing. Thus, this is one more trend that is out there and, with some slight adjustments, it can transform the field of education.

Exam Management

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Since so many students were forced to study from home in 2020, many schools have also moved their exams and tests online. This turned into another trend – AI-powered exam management.

This solution turned out to be pretty good in many ways. First of all, it ensures learning continuity by allowing pupils to take their exams from anywhere. At the same time, it is also very beneficial for teachers. Not only does it make it much easier to track students’ performances and monitor tests fairly, but it also allows tracking any signs of cheating.

The Bottom Line: Focus on Soft Skills

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Finally, the last (but definitely not the least important) academic trend in 2020 is the focus on soft skills. For decades schools made emphasis on building up pupils’ hard skills. As of now, everything has changed.

In a modern workplace, soft skills tend to be valued much higher than hard ones. Due to this fact, the academic program is gradually adjusted to help students meet the needs of today’s employers and survive in a highly competitive environment. Schools now focus on preparing new generations for their future careers, and that’s also a great change!

Education System in the USA – From Oldie “Then” to Modern “Now”

The education system in the USA has come a long way from informal students learning to the formal and sophisticated public school system. The United States spends a lot more money on funding per student than the OECD average the rest of the world tries to follow. However, it doesn’t mean the educational system works best. There’s vast room for major improvement, but let’s go to the past and see what quality of learning American people used to have from the very beginning.

Education in US (colonial times)

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There was hardly any good formal education (schooling in special institutions with principals and teachers) in the colonial years. In the area that’s now the state of Massachusetts, the Puritans encouraged informal learning (at home, with a parent or a custodian as a teacher). They required children to be able to read, at least.

The larger the town, the more requirements there were. Some had elementary schools with three main subjects: reading, writing, religion.

Generally, though, there was no countrywide learning requirement. The higher class was usually the educated one, although some of the poorer children could be apprentices. Only about 10% of the minor population had an opportunity to become students.

Education in the USA (the end of the 18-19th century)

Source:wikipedia

After the Revolutionary War, the newborn nation and their language needed a standard. Textbooks came into use to teach people the correct pronunciation and spelling. Besides, the books were used to plant the seeds of patriotism and the “correct” beliefs. Still no colleges and universities, and still most of the students were from the high circles of the country.

In the second half of the 19th century, in the United States, there was an era when few instructors in academic institutions held advanced degrees, such as Master of Science, Master of Arts, or Doctor of Philosophy. This was quite simple because few academic institutions in America awarded advanced degrees. America’s academic institutions were in their infancy, with many of the early colleges being established by various religious denominations, for the primary purpose of training men for the ministry. Consequently, the great majority of instructors at these early academic institutions were men, and predominantly clergymen. During this time, other than the ministry, the two most commonly chosen professions requiring any type of an academic education were medicine and law.

Besides, the government wanted immigrants to believe in “true American values”. This is the troubling thing. Professional writers from this service have written hundreds of essays discussing the initial purpose of inclusive compulsory education. The population of the States in those years was quite international. And it wasn’t desirable that the traditions and beliefs of the immigrants outshine those manifested in academic programs.

WWII and the middle of the 20th century

In the 20th century, the main rules and principles for education were set completely. In fact, the concept of compulsory, free, and universal education had deep roots. The United States was able to ask people to provide their children with education but they couldn’t force people to send their kids to any public school. In those times, people had the option to select a school for their children: they could choose between religious, private, or a public school. Needless to say, the main principles for US public education were formed to make an educational revolution. Besides, private schools continued to open. As we know from reliable historical sources, private schools were receiving financial support under the Establishment Clause.

Compulsory education was still on the elementary and secondary levels. Until the middle of the 20th century, only wealthy people could afford to go to high schools or colleges. The quality of learning was improving, but the values and purpose were still the same.

The number of enrollments increased dramatically after the end of World War II. The environment of the study was still determined by class, but a lot more people got the opportunity to learn. In the 20th century, the school system was reformed to the foundation we know nowadays.

If we analyze an early education for kids, it also has experienced some massive changes. The number of teachers, daycare workers, and nannies for kids 5 years old and younger was increased, and provisions were made for preschools. These changes were accepted in the private sphere only but that was the beginning of the kindergarten education system we know nowadays.

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Modern times

Today, more students are able to attend college than ever before, although there are still those who can’t afford it. Education is provided in public, private, and at-home schools and can fit almost every student’s needs. There are national colleges and universities, as well as possibilities of international program enrollment.

The “21st-century skills” program helps adjust and prepare the modern society to the new jobs emerging due to the rapid changes and developments of the modern time. The list doesn’t only imply what careers are relevant nowadays but also includes analysis, teamwork skills, as well as issues solving. Experiential learning has also become an important part of development.

The development of technology opens a huge new platform for progress tracking. Periodic report cards are changed for digital databases. Classes become more interactive and technology-based. We’re looking forward to VR to take a permanent place in schools and learning in general.

Source:smapse.com

To sum up

As we can see, until very recent times, the privilege of studying, as well as literally anything else, was granted only to white wealthy males. Girls’ study was supposed to be informal and occur at home. Consequently, there was no chance for them or the people of color to get professional skills and a great career.

Our world experiences new societal and technological changes constantly. It means that social-emotional intelligence and leadership skills are the most needed skills in the workplace. The modern world doesn’t require a factory mindset but it needs people who can adapt to new changes fast and overcome challenges easily. Nowadays, educators have to overcome the challenge of adapting their methods to the world’s needs.

The current situation in the US is improving, but there’s still a long way to go to the equality of race, gender, class, religion, etc.

Does the sign language have to be studied by every student?

There has been a growing popularity of sign language, with many people championing it. It has definitely been of great help and uses in facilitating cultural indulgence and general communication by the mainstream communities to those with deaf complications. Help from MyEssayGeek.com has been key in advancing the need for bridging the gap between these two communities and enhance conversations between them. It is, therefore, important to understand sign dynamics in order to communicate effectively.

Actually, there are various sign languages and not one as believed by some people. Today, we have a different in Britain and America despite the two regions speaking English as their mainstream. To encourage the participation of deaf people in almost every industry, studying sign language will be an added advantage for students. Where possible, they must endeavor to learn it for purposes of inclusivity targeting the deaf communities.

The Growing Need to Study Sign Language

Image source: sciencemag.org

Students who want to pursue sign language can explore a diverse aspect of the cultural and cognitive differences of humanity. Schools can freely teach the standard sign language targeting their use among deaf communities. As students learn that, they get to study the global deaf culture. It is not like students are adding extra burden to themselves. They are actually learning something that would help them in life.

The study of sign language helps learners to navigate the universe in a gestural and visual way. Above all, they discover a formula that is chronological. The ability to identify certain concepts of inclusion and discrimination in the study is useful in developing critical thinking skills. You will not find these discussions when learning others. Basically, there is more than the sign language that can be learned during these sessions — the learning cuts across other important skills that get developed in the course of the study.

The Sign Language Has Multifaceted Benefits

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Looking at the growing use of sign language, many institutions are now establishing courses for studying it, just like in other languages. If there are students all over the world studying a second language, then the sign one could still be an option for them. It is just like any other and is not limited to speaking with the deaf communities alone. The effort put goes a long way to help the learner develop and strengthen other life skills for handling complex situations in life.

Anyone who studying gets to understand that there are different ways of behaving, perception, and living. Moreover, languages lead to the holistic growth of learners, especially in enhancing their lifelong study skills. An easy way to help every student is by doing it in key gatherings, especially during assembly. Introduction of different signs one at a time will go a long way to realizing this. Sign language learning fosters inclusivity and helps students learn a new culture.

The ability to communicate in various boosts cognition, making it possible to create many neural pathways in the brain for accessing information. Therefore, there is more than just learning that students can make good use of. Whether should be studied by all students or not is not the question. The fact remains, it has huge benefits to the learner.

Final Thoughts

Sign Language is not only studied for use on special occasions but also in advancing the skillets of the student as well. Where possible, students should make an effort to learn it. This will be helpful in communicating with the deaf communities and in boosting their life skills generally.

Lessons in the future: How the next decade will change higher education

There aren’t many aspects of life that have changed more since the turn of the millennium than how we educate ourselves.

For that, we have the internet to thank first and foremost. The great depths of information we now have access to via a simple flick of the finger would almost have been unfathomable just 30 years ago.

In fact, the wealth of data and statistics we can use to form opinions and drive content is so vast that there’s a legitimate concern that there’s simply too much coming in from too many unreliable sources. Fake News represents the ugly side of this brave new era of unprecedented interconnectivity and will no doubt be a major concern for universities and higher education institutions as we move into the next decade.

Source: portalsena.info

Despite the increasing prevalence of misinformation, there should be very few reasons to be fearful of those associated with higher education. Technology has empowered students to collaborate seamlessly over social media in group projects, access extensive texts from university libraries online, and submit completed essays and work digitally.

The contrast between educational institutions in the early 1990s and today is emphatic, so what can we expect to see over the next decade of technological innovations?

Working with intelligence

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Technavio predicts the educational artificial intelligence market will have grown by almost 48% by 2022 alone, with more higher education institutions eager to implement some form of AI technology to aid learning.

However, the potential power of artificial intelligence extends way beyond the domain of learning tools. Some institutions around the world are already working on implementing AI as a means of aiding the development of individual students. University 20.35 uses artificial intelligence to interpret big data into devising each of its students’ educational trajectories – ensuring that none of its online students are left behind or left feeling unchallenged. We sat down with Dmitry Peskov, the head of University 20.35, and had some interesting thoughts. Here are a few questions we asked him:

Hello Dmitry, please tell us about your role within AI in higher education?

I am faced with the task of training professionals for the digital economy of the future. When we started dealing with this challenge, we saw that educational programs in traditional universities and the teaching methods applied therein didn’t correspond to the needs of either private companies or the state. Everything is transforming very quickly, new specializations are created, and the requirements for traditional ones are constantly expanding. We realized that we need a data-driven educational platform where everything would be personalized as much as possible through the use of AI. Hence, the University 20.35 was established as a result.

Could AI help resolve some of the big issues when it comes to education?

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Yes. Artificial intelligence allows for a high degree of accuracy in evaluating what is important and interesting for a particular person. A student who consumes only what is interesting for them learns much better. It is safe to say that the professional career of such a person will go uphill quite rapidly since the person clearly knows what they need and how to achieve that. But the beginning of everything is an individual approach to education.

How accurate can AI be in calculating students’ pathways?

It all depends on the quality of the data that we give the AI. It can take in a lot of data, but if we want to get the most useful information from it, then, we should help it. For example, I already mentioned that the AI analyses various multimedia materials that students upload into the system. But, in order to draw practical conclusions from that data, it must relate to the educational process. Our experience shows that students quickly adapt to productive interaction with AI.

 

 

AI is also already being implemented in the form of chatbots. At Staffordshire University, Beacon is the name given to the institution’s dedicated chatbot – happily on hand to deal with any queries its students may have while in the middle of the most arduous of all-nighters ahead of a deadline. Beacon’s able to handle a wide range of inquiries and can automatically answer over 400 frequently asked questions.

Moving into the 2020s, we can expect to see much more widespread usage of chatbots, as wells as a considerable increase in the complexity of the queries that they’re capable of dealing with. When higher education institutions are often scrutinized for the accessibility of its tutors, tools like Beacon will become an industry standard.

Artificial intelligence will also play a significant role within the future of HE. Algorithmic AI programs will be capable of not only assessing the aptitude of new students based on a wealth of factors but can also deliver extensive assessments of their submissions – simultaneously checking for plagiarism as well as highlighting potential areas of concern or merit for tutors to corroborate.

Reappropriating reality

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The value that augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR) and extended reality (XR) could bring to learning environments both online and offline cannot be underestimated.

In a study by the University of Maryland, it was found that students had an 8.8% better rate of recall when placed in an immersive environment rather than working with the use of flat-screen monitors – in an industry that’s driven by results, such figures could prove invaluable.

Remote augmented reality could also pave the way for a new form of assessment from tutors – especially in the world of healthcare and engineering. Students using AR glasses can effectively stream their line of sight to tutors who will be able to guide them through complex surgeries and the navigation of unfamiliar machinery – handing our visual cues along the way. Such technology is already being implemented in the engineering industry by Scope AR.

It’s fair to anticipate that students over the next ten years will experience a much more immersive learning environment to their predecessors, with tutorials and lectures conducted through VR and AR glasses. Such innovations will provide a significant boost to online university courses, too.

Flexible collaboration

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Another innovation that will prove to be music to the ears of online university students is the implementation of flexible collaboration tools.

In the near future, we will see both AR and VR play key roles in providing more immersive collaboration to students working on team projects and to those learning from home.

Students can also be excited for the wider implementation of more immersive meeting tools like Cisco’s Webex. “Teachers are also using Webex in classrooms to create real-time, synchronous collaborative learning opportunities on 1:1 devices. On top of whiteboarding and exchanging assignment files, they can chat with individual students who may be facing unique challenges. These important conversations can continue after the school bell rings,” explains Drew Lane, Executive Director of Information & Communications Technologies at Shawnee Mission School District.

The prospect of flexible digital collaboration will enable a much more immersive learning experience for students in Higher Education and will help to make tutorials for remote learners much more impactful in the future.

Keeping things real

With so much exciting technological developments swishing around the educational landscape, it’s important to keep grounded and understand that there will be fresh challenges that universities will have to face too. One of the most significant being the rise of fake news.

A Stanford study, published in late 2016, consisting of 7,804 students found that 82% of respondents were unable to tell the difference between a real news story and an advert labeled ‘sponsored content.’

Fortunately, the foundations for combatting fake news has already been set in Scandinavia, where Finland’s policy of providing media literacy education to children has resulted in the nation being considered the most literate in the world when it comes to interpreting news stories.

Finland is top of the class for media literacy in 2018, according to findings from the Sofia Open Society Institute, Bulgaria. Image: World Economic Forum

“Finland’s government considers the strong public education system as the main tool to resist information warfare against the country,” said Marin Lessenski, Programme Director for European Policies at the Open Society Institute, Sofia.

Misinformation has the potential to undermine the performance of students across the world. The problem of fake news has already been identified by many large social media platforms, and moving into the next decade we will see much more preventative measures being taken in classrooms to help the coming generations of students to better understand the credibility of the information they digest. To learn even more about artificial intelligence in education you could check out Techslang.