We often think of trends as “fads” that come and go. Some fads we are glad to see go and others we embrace because they are good and we need to keep them around to enrich our lives. This is true in our everyday lives and it’s also true for new trends in education. The latest trends in pedagogy, practices, and technology are important as we strive to provide students with the best learning opportunities. Some of these trends may be new to you and others are perhaps ideas you and your colleagues have been bouncing around for a while hoping that change would come. You may be right on trend and have implemented these on your campus.
The pandemic has forced online, virtual, and blended learning to the forefront. Personalized and project-based learning are also top trends in education. Let’s look at some trends that you may not be as familiar with.
- Genius Hour – this fairly new educational trend allows students to spend an hour working on a self-chosen project. Students research, design, write and present a project based on their research. Students learn so many important skills during genius hour.
- Bite-Sized Learning (also known as microlearning) – students today have short attention spans and have become used to getting what they want now. By teaching skills in shorter, bite-sized lessons, you can reach students and build on skills more effectively than delivering longer lessons that students may miss because of their lack of attention. Studies show that students retain material delivered in this manner. It can be particularly useful to introduce a new concept, review for tests, or reinforce a lesson. This form of learning is also a great way to differentiate instruction.
- Brain Break – after a long period of learning and focusing, everyone could use a little time to refresh the mind (and body). Give your students a few minutes to stretch, dance, get the wiggles out. These breaks, given several times a day, help students refocus and re-engage so they are prepared to take on the next lesson or activity. Brain breaks also help students learn to self-regulate.
- Experiential Learning – is simply learning by doing and participating in experiences that help students retain information and remember facts. Field trips are perfect examples of experiential learning. While these experiences are limited due to pandemic restrictions, there are lots of other ways to learn by doing. Virtual field trips are a great substitute. These experiences can be an extension of a project or something students do at home with their families as long as they are actively participating in an activity.
Education is a complex field that is constantly evolving to meet the needs of an ever-changing student population. It can be hard to keep up with the changes, but it’s important to keep up with the trends so that you are better able to meet the needs of your students. Who knows you just might find that one of the latest trends is a gamechanger in your classroom. Brain breaks sure worked in my classroom for my students and for me! In fact, I need a little brain break right now! See you next week!
Teia Hoover Baker is an educator, published author, and entrepreneur. She is an innovative, devoted educator whose career has been dedicated to coordinating programs that support struggling learners. Her passion is meeting students where they are and guiding them to excel. Her main focus is always what is best for children. Teia holds a Bachelor’s in Journalism and a Master’s of Education. In her spare time, she enjoys being Lovie to her growing grandchildren.