What’s Hot in Education Now?
By analysing trends across the education sector, we can strategically invest our time and energy into relevant themes, identified as worthy of consideration.
The New Zealand Education Review Office (2012) identifies the following three themes as pressing issues in the New Zealand education system:
- Student-centered learning – A shift in the locus of control from teacher to learner.
- Responsive and rich curriculum – Providing learning experiences relevant to our students.
- Assessment used for students’ learning – Adjusting teaching and learning strategies based on achievement evidence.
To address these issues, we consider what approaches we might employ to most effectively develop our teaching and learning practices in these areas. One efficient solution is to look to emerging trends in digital technologies which support education.
Each year, for the past decade, CORE Education has pooled its understandings and expertise in education and digital technologies to establish the ‘Ten Trends’ which are expected to impact the New Zealand education sector over the coming year.
These trends are organised around five key areas of change, which highlight the context that these trends are likely to make an impact in (CORE Education Ltd, 2016). These five key areas of change are Structural, Technology, Process, Economic and Cultural.
Using an inquiry approach, we might consider one or two of these trends which relate most to an area of our practice that we are looking to improve. Of 2016’s trends, there are two which stand out as particularly relevant to my practice as an e-leader.
The trend of Networked Communities comes under the critical area of Structural Change. From leadership to infrastructure New Zealand schools have historically been organised in a typical institutional-style. Heavily dependent on hierarchical authority, repetitive timelines and standardised building design our schools have traditionally been highly dependent on structures for daily operation.
The Networked Communities trend suggests that schools are rethinking their existing frameworks. Where most schools have previously operated as isolated institutions, a shift toward Communities of Schools and Communities of Learning breaks down these campused silos, offering teachers and leaders new roles and providing schools with the opportunity for new positionings within their communities.
In my capacity as a Facilitator of Learning with Digital Technologies and an Advisor of the Connected Learning Advisory, it is imperative that I remain at the forefront of this trend in my community. I aim to do this by being involved as much as possible in the educational community of my region. By working across schools in my area from Ruatoria on the East Coast through to Hastings in the Hawke’s Bay, I can maintain a broad scope of regional understandings and keep my finger on the pulse of the initiatives that emerge from this space. I am also working to develop strong professional relationships with other professional providers in my region to ensure that I understand the strengths and needs of local educators. As a parent, I have recently joined my daughter’s school’s Board of Trustees which provides me yet another perspective of how our local schools are operating. Maintaining connections to the local business sector also broaden my insight and understanding of the communities perception of our education system. Wherever possible we must take the opportunity to promote explicitly Networked Communities, so that our schools do not miss out on the potential benefits that being connected provides.
Processes are the critical area identified as being impacted by Change Leadership. The processes of our education system are the way in which we carry out tasks and reach our purpose. The New Zealand education system has well-established processes such as curriculum and assessment. However, the processes involved in how a school organises its daily operations, and leadership are becoming more variable across the sector.
The need for the development of Change Leadership highlights the point that many of our schools’ processes are undergoing shifts. Change Leadership is critical to making transitions and progress during times of complex change. At every level of our organisations, professional learning and development (PLD) will play a vital role in equipping leaders to be effective leaders of change.
As an e-leader, it is important that I am developing my leadership practice toward leading complex change. There are many PLD opportunities which can provide Change Leadership development. In my practice, I seek the chance to enrol as many in seminars and workshops of this focus as possible. These might include PLD days such as that run by Jennifer Garvey-Berger; Theory of Change, of Complexity and the Way Adults Grow Over Time, reflected upon in my post Leadership in Complexity and the annual Emerging Leaders Summit run by CORE Education. Being enrolled in the uChoose customised professional learning and mentoring programme also helps me target my PLD through inquiry and coaching toward these specific goals.
“The only thing that is constant is change” – Heraclitus
Education Review Office (2012).The three most pressing issues for New Zealand’s education system, revealed in latest ERO report – Education Review Office. Retrieved 5 March 2016, from http://www.ero.govt.nz/About-Us/News-Media-Releases2/The-three-most-pressing-issues-for-New-Zealand-s-education-system-revealed-in-latest-ERO-report
CORE Education (2016). Ten Trend Categories. Retrieved 5 March 2016, from http://www.core-ed.org/thought-leadership/ten-trends-categories
Online Learning Insights (2014). Three Trends That Will Influence Learning and Teaching in 2015. Retrieved 28 February 2016, from https://onlinelearninginsights.wordpress.com/2014/12/29/three-trends-that-will-influence-learning-and-teaching-in-2015/?blogsub=confirmed#blog_subscription-3
Online Learning Insights (2016).Three Trends that Will Influence Learning and Teaching in 2016. Retrieved 28 February 2016, from https://onlinelearninginsights.wordpress.com/2016/01/10/three-trends-that-will-influence-learning-and-teaching-in-2016/
Bolstad, R., Gilbert, J., McDowall, S., Bull, A., Boyd, S., & Hipkins, R. (2012).Supporting future-oriented learning & teaching: A New Zealand perspective.Wellington: Ministry of Education. Retrieved 5 May 2015, from https://www.educationcounts.govt.nz/publications/schooling/109306