The education landscape is shifting. Colleges are responding to changing student demographics and pressure from investors and alumni to cut costs.
They’re reassessing the value of a degree and exploring ways to build relationships with alumni beyond graduation. And they’re finding new ways to deliver their curriculum online. The Chronicle’s Re:Learning podcast meets the renegade teachers and ed-tech entrepreneurs shaping this change moment for learning.
Educators are always trying to find ways to innovate their classrooms and engage students. One of the most significant changes in education is the impact of technology. Students have the ability to access a wealth of information with the click of a button on their mobile devices. They can also conduct research from their laptops and enroll in online courses. In addition, they can listen to lectures from their homes or wherever they have Wi-Fi access.
However, while technology offers a multitude of benefits, it is important to note that it can also limit student learning. In addition to the fact that not every student has the access to a device capable of streaming audio or video, many schools do not have extensive budgets for technology. As a result, students often experience technical difficulties in class, which can detract from the overall learning environment.
As technology continues to evolve, it will become more important for educators to develop innovative pedagogical methods and high-tech supporting infrastructures. This will require universities to tailor and align curriculums to the specific demands of learners. In addition, schools will need to develop new metrics and proof that their degrees have an impact on a student’s skill levels and intellectual development. This may include a shift from traditional textbooks to digital versions. It may also involve expanding the number of staff members who have specialized technology training, as well as providing students with the opportunity to access educational materials outside of school hours.
Personalized learning involves tailoring lessons to the individual student’s needs. It aims to improve student engagement by providing a more flexible approach to education. It also makes it easier to retain information by linking new concepts with previous experiences. This approach is also a great way to reduce learning gaps and accelerate growth. In addition, it can be implemented in a way that is scalable.
Technology is transforming the ways that students learn and interact with their professors. This includes online courses, which allow students to enroll from anywhere in the world. These programs allow educators to focus more on student support and troubleshooting. In addition, they help reduce the burden of classroom administration on teachers. These innovations are redefining the role of the educator as a “sage on the stage” to that of a guide on the side.
Personalized learning enables teachers to offer students customized learning paths based on their progress, interests and goals. This is a major departure from the one-size-fits-all approach that many schools still use. Instead of focusing on teacher-led whole-class activities, a personalized learning environment allows students to work on projects and assignments in small groups or individually with a tutor. Moreover, it enables them to work through lessons at their own pace, which is more likely to result in mastery of the subject.
Howard Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences has revolutionized education since its inception in 1983. The idea that there are different ways of thinking and learning has been embraced by educators and students worldwide. Students are recognizing their own strengths and weaknesses as well as learning styles that will help them succeed in their classes. The traditional chalkboard has been replaced by interactive boards and classrooms where students log in and attend a live class from anywhere in the world.
Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences suggests that everyone has a unique set of abilities and skills, which can be utilized in different ways to achieve a desired result. He has identified nine intelligences: linguistic, spatial, musical, logical (mathematical), kinesthetic, interpersonal, intrapersonal, and naturalist. He also suggests that these intelligences can be strengthened or weakened by the environment in which we are immersed.
This theory suggests that teaching methods should be adjusted to address each student’s intelligences. For example, if students are linguistic learners, teachers should use conversational techniques. For students with spatial intelligence, they should offer visuals and hands-on activities. If students have logical intelligence, they should be encouraged to participate in group work and written assignments. The theory also explains that the intelligences are distinct from learning styles, which refer to the way that an individual may approach a task.
In a world where students can Google almost anything they need and have Siri answer them, the ability to think critically has become more important than ever. Students recognize this reality and are increasingly resistant to learning facts and skills they can Google on their own. As a result, teachers must change the focus from teaching students to know to teaching them how to think.
The key to fostering critical thinking is to help students recognize the different levels of meaning in a text or piece of media. The first is the literal meaning of the text – what did the author intend to convey? The second level is the implications of the text. How do the ideas in the text apply to real-world situations?
A third level involves evaluating the merits of different perspectives. To develop the habit of evaluating alternative viewpoints, educators can use strategies such as Socratic Seminars where students ask each other thought-provoking questions and listen to their peers’ responses.
Finally, a fourth level involves the evaluation of the reasoning used to arrive at a conclusion. This step is the most challenging, and requires a deep understanding of the nature of evidence and an awareness that human thinking is inherently flawed when left unchecked. Educators can foster this mindset by encouraging students to develop the intellectual virtues of intellectual integrity, intellectual humility, intellectual civility and an intellectual sense of empathy.