This week I’ll be on a panel discussing the Future Classroom at this year’s STEM Summit hosted by Towson University. Given that my experience is limited to middle school and high school students through my test-prep company and my critical-reading web app, SmartyReader, I’ll highlight my own insights in hopes of sparking a larger discussion of how the K-12 classroom will look in 2025. Here are three important questions that deserve the most attention as we look to the future of secondary education:
- How will student evaluation change? As technology becomes a larger part of the classroom, I hope GPA becomes a thing of the past. With technology’s capacity to propel and monitor specific skills on a fine-grained level, evaluation should follow suit. This kind of shift could blur the hard lines between performance evaluation in school and standardized assessment. It’s a move that ultimately could diminish the stress associated with standardized testing, or make standardized testing redundant entirely.
- How will instruction change? Already I’ve seen a switch to the “flipped classroom” in science and math classes among many of my students, with mixed results. For those not aware, the flipped classroom means lectures take place virtually, often on recorded videos, leaving time in class for review and troubleshooting. Although a good idea in theory, the flipped classroom’s apparent convenience comes at a cost: time. With lectures taking up to 1.5 hours and school and extracurricular activities consuming the majority of students’ daily schedules, squeezing in a focused 1.5 hours late at night can be a daunting challenge for high school students. For this trend to continue productively, I see several necessary changes: truncated classroom time, dedicated technology time, and shorter, more digestible lectures.
- Will technology exacerbate or diminish the existing disparities in secondary education? I won’t speculate about whether K-12 education funding will finally be restructured equitably through legislation. But the ballooning investment in education holds promise for leveling the playing field. This shift reflects a profound understanding that an educated America means a prosperous America, and once the infrastructure and hardware is funded and integrated (Google Fiber, tablets, etc.), there’s nominal cost to ed-tech companies to offer software for free to poorly-funded school districts.
Of course, I’m making these insights from the outside looking in, and I’d love to hear from other educators and entrepreneurs who have their own insights into the future of the K-12 classroom.
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