Dr. Gregory Firn, Vice President of Strategic Initiatives, RoboKind, EdNET Insight
In 2017, the education industry will see a genesis of several shifts that, if and when they reach their full potential, will “reset” public education as we currently know it. This reset consists of three themes: Equity, “Each,” and Empowerment.
Equity in education has been abstract to policy makers in many respects. For too long, the pursuit of equity has been confused with the pursuit of equality – they’re not the same. Equity, in educational terms, requires several actions that may appear contrarian to equality. Egalitarian practices of resource allocation, staffing, time use, and similar elements, are examples of this mental model in which all learners are treated the same. “Sameness” has been the bane of our existence.
In 2017, we can expect this to change.
The realization and practice of personalization through the lens of equity of access, opportunity, and experience will be advanced through the products, services, programs, and practices aimed to leverage the unique needs of learners. Personalization in 2017 will see an increase in technology use that has the goal of creating an unprecedented focus on “each” learner.
The shift from “all” to “each” learner personalizes the conversations and intentions of policy makers, educational leaders, and classroom teachers. The integration of Big Data and SMART analytics will equip and accelerate this shift. Tools will be available to scale personalized teaching and learning in ways never thought practical or feasible.
In 2017 the “Integration of Things” — the new “IoT” (as opposed to the “Internet of Things”) will drive an unprecedented shift in program and practice. Tools, practices, and programs will integrate a confluence of effect at the individual level.
Providers of educational services and products will significantly shift from stand-alone tools to the “Integration of Things”. Policy makers and educational leaders will demand that the “tools” for learning be fully integrated with each other, not just compatible, ensuring that the teaching and learning experience is personalized to each individual.
Programs or practices not able to demonstrate insight and intelligence about how a student is learning throughout the learning process will be abandoned. Educators tired of lagging indicators or evidence of learning will demand data results in real time. Providing educators and learners alike with in-time, actionable data will empower them to prevent failure in the learning process by mapping progress.
The realities and implications of ESSA will be in motion in 2017. Those leaders and policy makers seizing the permission embedded in ESSA to think and do differently — especially with respect to monitoring and measuring “the progress of learning”— will be empowered to do what is ethically and legally right.
In 2017, exhausted from a never before seen or experienced presidential election, policy makers at the local and state level will turn inwards to critically examine how current policy constraints have worked against the very intended or desired outcomes. The courageous will reset their educational policies to align with a vision and mission of inclusivity.
In 2017, the opportunity to rethink and reset the “what,” “why,” and “how” of accountability is possible. The attention to monitoring and measuring the “learning progress” rather than fixating on a narrowly defined accountability model presents the greatest disruption to public education.
The Promise of Personalization
For the past decade or more, the promise of personalization through digital devices and content has not created the results envisioned. In 2017, educators equipped and empowered to adjust, adapt, and activate learning to the needs of each learner will advance personalized learning.
Personalized learning will at last ensure equity of access, opportunity, and experience in public education. 2017 will be the year that we advance these conversations to reset policy and regulations that create the context and motivation to meet or exceed the needs of each learner.