Education

Trending Topics in K-12 for 2013

By January 4, 2013 No Comments

To follow-up our most popular Visibility Matters blog post of 2012, here are the key topics we expect to trend for K-12 in 2013.  A subsequent post will focus on important developments in higher education and autism.

Let us know in the comments section what you think of these 2013 trends!

K-12

Apps Budgets

As the proliferation of mobile learning continues, school districts are finding new and creative ways to inject digital devices into the learning environment. While attending the 2012 ISTE conference in San Diego, we learned of school districts creating their own “App Budgets,” or setting aside money specifically for purchasing mobile learning programs. While many apps cost 99 cents, some tailored to the education industry can cost more. On the other hand, Apple, for instance, has made it possible for developers to give educational institutions a 50 percent cut on price. The buying process, as followed by a school district in Alaska, is a bit cumbersome, but as more school leaders learn the procedures, we expect more districts to create apps budgets.

Common Core State Standards

The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) were highlighted in our 2012 trends post, but the issue remains such a critical topic within the industry  we felt it important to renew our focus on the CCSS for 2013. Of course if you’re reading this blog, there’s a good chance you’re invested in the ongoing transition to the new standards, expected to take two to three years in most states. A major discussion point will be teachers learning the standards to teach their students. As this New York Daily News article illustrates, many educators are still apprehensive about the new expectations. For an updated list of which states have agreed to implement the standards for English Language Arts (ELA) and Mathematics, visit the official CCSS website.

Online Assessments

Of course, with the arrival of the Common Core era comes the expanded use of online assessments. The Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium, an organization developing assessments aligned to the Common Core, provides several resources detailing the implications of the Core Standards for school districts planning to administer the tests. A key detail of this transition, according to Anne Wujcik at EdNET Insight, is that more than 50 percent of computers used in U.S. schools operate on Windows XP, which the Consortium says will not run smoothly under the new system. The group recommends school leaders update their operating systems prior to the switch.

Game-based Learning

Just as educators see an infusion of mobile devices into classroom instruction, school district leaders and others within the industry are seeking new and creative measures to reach 21st-century students. Game-based learning programs are becoming considerably more popular, not just in this country, but around the world. A recent article in The Telegraph tackled this issue, describing how Nintendo Wii games like Mario Kart and Just Dance are being used alongside traditional classroom programs to reach young learners. In an eSchool News article, even well-known college dropout Bill Gates calls game-based learning the future of education.