Our team attended the EdWeek Market Brief Summit hosted by the EdWeek Market Brief publication. Education companies, district leaders and educators from all over the nation came together to learn about best practices, current trends and what the future holds for the world of education.
We’ve pulled together our top takeaways from this year’s summit for you to keep in mind as we head into the New Year. Sit back, grab your coffee and enjoy:
#1) Utilizing Free Money Has Never Been More Stressful
Given the amount of stress and turmoil that educators have experienced over the past two years, the government has done what it can to ensure that schools and districts get the financial access they need. While grateful for the various federal stimulus funding options through the ESSER I, II and ARP-ESSER programs, many educators need guidance on how to best spend the money.
While many districts struggle to keep teachers on retainer, find new staff and provide enough resources for their educators and school staff, district leaders also face challenges trying to abide by the guidelines associated with spending stimulus dollars. While many have a concrete formulated plan to submit for approval, often, the method for spending and what it ends up being are two very different things. There needs to be some streamlining to make this decision process easier for educators and administrators everywhere.
#2) Professional Development for Educators is More Accessible Now than Ever
The COVID-19 pandemic provided a virtual outlet for almost every social and professional occasion possible. Professional development for educators is no exception. As of June 2022, 20% of district leaders and school principals are offering most or all of their professional development online.
The return to in-person learning has created many options for education leaders to get together and grow as professionals. Whether an individual wants to be in-person, remote or have access to virtual tools post-event, education companies are now adapting their events to create a personalized experience. As a result, educators can make an individual experience how they best learn, leading to greater satisfaction in professional development.
#3) EdTech Usage Continues to Rise
Technology for educators is not going away anytime soon. According to Jesus Gomez of Google Cloud, only 9% of district administrators say that they will decrease educational technology spending, while the rest plan to increase their spending significantly. EdTech spending trends will focus on updating current technology and operations rather than acquiring new technology.
Up-and-coming trends in education technology include micro-credentials for education professionals, hybrid learning environment use increase, personalized learning and more robust cybersecurity methods. These are crucial focuses given that the tech needs of students and teachers will quickly increase as more and more solutions enter the education technology market.
#4) Social-Emotional Learning is Here to Stay
Social-emotional learning, or SEL, is the teaching and developing skills designed to better student mindset and practical skills. While this educational strategy has fostered controversy and continued conversation throughout the nation, the main focus for educators is that each child develops skills that carry beyond subject-matter learning in the classroom.
This learning style is being implemented at subject integration and district-wide scales. Data is constantly collected to check a child’s progress and ensure they are moving in the right direction. Students are all going to move at different paces, and implementing that individualized process is something that is going to continue to grow over time.
#5) The Future of Assessments Are Unclear After Low Participation Rates During the Pandemic
Standardized assessments are still used to test a child’s intelligence levels and determine if they need to utilize special education services in school. However, participation in these standardized tests has been at an all-time low since the start of COVID and many individuals share concerns about falling short of the curve.
Currently, many districts and testing services are working to adapt these tests to fit the diverse minds of society. These new testing strategies are being evaluated and created to potentially eliminate the stress of tests, such as the normalization of standard exams and exams hidden within the everyday learning curriculum.
#6) Tutoring Solutions and Implementation are Taking New and Creative Routes
Students often have a hard time admitting when they need help. They feel embarrassed for asking a question when the answer is seemingly evident to their classmates and avoid being singled out for additional support where possible. Educators know that no two students are exactly alike in learning styles, and learning loss is at the top of their minds. Furthermore, there needs to be more clarity between educators and parents about how much or if students need any further academic support in the classroom.
Giving students the supplemental support they need to succeed is woven into curriculums. Technology is increasingly utilized to provide students with the individualized support they need to ensure they completely understand a subject. In addition, the pandemic has helped emphasize the virtual learning component, and many tutors are using that component to encourage student motivation to learn.
#7) K-12 Officials are Utilizing Social Media to Boost Networking and Gain Professional Insight
Many K-12 professionals use different social media platforms to connect with other teachers and gain professional insight from educational companies. Currently, Facebook is the prime platform for social traffic regarding teachers. Many school leaders use Twitter to keep up with current events and share thoughts. Linkedin is being used by district leaders to network with other education professionals to gain insight and implement ideas for their district.