What are the trends that will define the future of teaching and learning—and how can education companies build highly compelling products and services around them?
During a CB&A Expert Series webinar in early February, Robert Martellacci, founder and president of MindShare Learning Technology and one of Canada’s foremost edtech thought leaders, provided insight into some of the biggest trends shaping the future of education. He also discussed how these trends are creating significant business opportunities for edtech innovators.
View the Webinar: Top EdTech Trends in North America
As we noted in this earlier blog post, one way for companies to stand out in an increasingly crowded marketplace is to solve a critical need. Here are four important trends that are influencing the needs of educators moving forward.
The skills that students require for success are evolving.
In the United States, they’re called the “4 Cs”: communication, collaboration, creativity and critical thinking. Some districts add a fifth “C” for character. In Canada, educators refer to the “7 Cs,” tossing culture and computer literacy into the mix. Regardless of how they’re defined, it’s clear the skills that students will need for success are changing as our world becomes more digitally connected and information-driven.
Martellacci referred to these skills as “global competencies,” and he added empathy, resiliency and well-being to the list. With the rise of globalization, he said, students need to understand the perspectives of other people around the world—and with so many stressors emerging as the pace of life increases, students need to learn how to unplug and be active.
“Resiliency and well-being are nurtured not just in the classroom, but by being active every day,” Martellacci said. “It’s our responsibility to help our kids lead more balanced lifestyles.”
Our notion of what school should look like is changing as well.
The shift to remote learning during the pandemic has demonstrated that learning can (and should) happen anytime, anywhere. Now, it’s up to education leaders to use the lessons they’ve learned during the pandemic to transform school schedules and structures to make learning more agile.
“This won’t be the first crisis we encounter,” Martellacci noted, explaining why we need to future-proof education beyond COVID. But it’s not just about the continuity of learning. It’s also about “using the right tool at the right time” to reach students, he said—extending education beyond the school walls and making it more flexible and responsive to everyone’s needs.
Students need secure, reliable and equitable access to digital learning tools.
Digital privacy and security are huge topics on educators’ minds, with the number of cyber attacks on schools continuing to grow. Equity is also a top-of-mind issue, as the pandemic has revealed sharp disparities in access to broadband and other digital tools among students from different socio-economic backgrounds. Education leaders are eager to listen to companies that can help them solve these challenges.
“There are some great resources around cyber safety and security,” Martellacci said. “Offering value-added insights and reports that are professionally done by experts in the field, that have your brand on it, is a great way to start a conversation.”
Students need engagement, empowerment and opportunities for deeper learning.
Engaging students is still one of the most challenging things that teachers struggle with, Martellacci said, adding: “Learning is an emotional process. If you don’t link into the emotion of that student, you will not get deep learning.” Solutions that engage students in active, hands-on learning that empowers them to solve real-world problems and become change agents in their community can help.
For more education market insight from Martellacci, you can listen to the full webinar here.