NMC Horizon Report is an annual publication from The New Media Consortium that reviews major trends, challenges, and developments in educational technology. The 2017 K-12 Edition discusses six different future technological trends in education.
Deeper learning approaches is one of the trends that the NMC Report marked as a long-term. In my opinion, this trend is very much related to another trend in the report – Advancing Cultures of Innovation. With the rapid development of AI, robotics, and machine learning, many of the jobs that exist today will disappear within the next decades. Learning how to learn corresponds with learner-centered and inquiry-based constructivist approach. Our students need to learn soft skills that represent deeper learning – critical thinking, problem-solving, collaboration, and self-directed learning (NMH Horizon, 2017). This will set them apart from the machines that are poised to take the majority of manual and low-skilled jobs. Learning how to learn corresponds with learner-centered and inquiry-based constructivist approach.
In South Korea, where I teach, the integration of the abovementioned skills in the school curriculum is an even more urgent task. Despite being a high-tech society, South Korean primary and secondary educational system is always a step or two (or three, or five) behind in fulfilling the actual needs of students. High-stakes examinations and a rigid ranking system that forces students to compete for a handful of top spots. The results determine students’ “fate” regarding which college they can go to and how prestigious the job afterward will be. As a result, the students have no other choice but to resort to rote memorization and studying for the test, especially a year or two before graduating high school. The NHM Report mentions several times that educational leadership needs to set appropriate policies in order for deeper learning approach to flourish. In the South Korean case, although attempts are made to promote student-centered pedagogy, these efforts are incompatible with the existing system.
I was pleased to see Growing Focus on Measuring Learning as another trend discussed in NMH Report. Ubiquitous technology has made it possible to turn any device into a data collecting source that can be used to measure learning and influence important decisions. My daily responsibilities at my school involve setting up and maintaining the student information system (SIS) and Google suite for education. This might be hard to believe, but only a year ago, my school operated without an SIS. I was a part of the SIS initiative that ended up in deploying a system that tracks grades, attendance, demographics, behavior, and other important student information. Employing an LMS that will integrate with the current SIS will be our next step in this effort to collect and use the meaningful data on student learning. The biggest challenge from now on is making sure that the collected data serves its purpose of informing leadership decisions.
The NMC horizon report: 2017 higher education edition. (2017). Retrieved from The New Media Consortium website: http://cdn.nmc.org/media/2017-nmc-horizon-report-he-EN.pdf