For the past 15 years the team at CORE Education have enjoyed pooling their expertise and understanding to identify the trends and influences that we anticipate will have a growing impact on learners and education in Aotearoa New Zealand into the future.
Our intention has been to promote informed discussion within the education community so that, as a profession, we are equipped with the knowledge and understandings to make wise choices and decisions in our places of learning, as we look ahead.
Not only do we need to make informed decisions about how we may adopt or embrace some of these things, we must consider the impact of these trends on the work we do as educators. this includes how we design the curriculum and programmes of learning to ensure our young people are equipped with the knowledge and skills to make similar decisions in their own lives, and into their futures.
As we thought about what we might focus on in our 15th year of the trends, it seemed appropriate to look back. So we've developed this year’s trends as a ‘retrospective’ look at the things we’ve identified over the past 15 years and reflected on the impact they have, or haven't, had on our work in education.
As we’ve often emphasised, these are trends - not predictions! We’re interested in taking notice of the patterns we see emerging, and identifying the tipping point events that may occur along the way. That’s the thing about the future - it’s very unpredictable, but if we are monitoring the trends, then we can at least be prepared for what may lie ahead.
And haven’t we learned that this year? Who would have predicted a global shutdown as the result of the COVID-19 pandemic? As a part of the global response, learning centres across every continent have been closed, with learners and teachers required to work from home. The structures that have defined us and the work we do not available to us, we have had to find new ways of engaging with our learners - whether in a learning environment at home or elsewhere.
All of this has brought into clear focus the five key themes that lie at the heart of our Ten Trends framework.
These themes are referred to in much of the future focused literature, and each year in the past we’ve identified specific examples of each theme to illustrate the trends we believe are important to focus on. This year we’ve focused more on the themes themselves, and pulled together a view of the specific examples we’ve identified over the past 15 years within each of these.
This seems to be particularly timely as we consider the impact of COVID-19 and the ways in which we have responded as a system to the challenges it has presented. For example:
When learning settings closed down we needed to look to distance and online learning as a way of ensuring children and young people continue with their learning, and this in turn has brought changes to our thinking about organisational structures such as classes, timetables, classrooms, and so on. Our Structural theme looks at this.
In our Process theme we’ve looked at open education resources, the use of analytics and the smart web, collaboration and different approaches to assessment.
In the Economic theme we’ve explored design thinking, STEM, the future workforce and preparation for careers. These are all things that come into sharp focus as we find ourselves in lockdown, which for some means working in entirely new ways, and for others it means facing the challenge of not being able to work at all.
In our Cultural theme we’ve looked at people-centred design, learner agency, digital literacy and digital citizenship, for example.
And, in our Technology theme, we’ve highlighted everything from mobile devices and cloud technology to equitable access and real-time reporting.
As you can see, there are many things here that we are thinking about afresh as an educational community, and as we address the challenges created through the lockdown. If anything, the pandemic has amplified our interest in these trends and what we can learn from them that will prepare us to face the future more confidently.
We trust you will enjoy reflecting on these themes with us in this year’s retrospective look at the Ten Trends, and that you’ll take the time to engage with them a little further - with your colleagues and friends.
We’d love to get your feedback on how you’ve found these trends helpful. Please take the time to drop us a line and let us know what you’ve done with them and how they’ve been helpful to you.
Join the Ten Trends group on edSpace
Note: To contribute to this discussion you will need to signup to edSpace and join the Ten Trends group.