6 trends that are driving change and innovation in K12

The rapid development of edtech tools and the emergence of artificial intelligence are perfect examples. But which innovations specifically are driving student learning and empowering educators in 2024?

“The only constant in life is change.” Those working in the education sector know all too well the weight of this quote having witnessed a global pandemic in the last several years, which sparked monumental evolution in the K12 sector. The rapid development of edtech tools and the emergence of artificial intelligence are perfect examples. But which innovations specifically are driving student learning and empowering educators in 2024?

“The societal changes unfolding before us, fueled by technological innovation and our evolving needs, compel us to reimagine educational paradigm designed for a bygone industrial age,” Garrett Smiley, CEO of Sora Schools, said in the company’s new report which outlines some of the latest trends and driving forces shaping K12 education today.

AI as an ally

The first—and obvious—trend is that surrounding artificial intelligence. What once sparked fear in the hearts of our educators as they contemplated the technology’s ethical concerns for classroom use has now been elevated to that of a trusted ally. It has the ability to “automate mundane tasks and assist in creative processes like a skilled co-pilot,” the report reads.

“2024 promises to be a year of even faster development, innovation and acceptance as AI continues to weave itself into the fabric of education.”

Teachers as coaches

The second trend highlighted in the report is the idea of teachers evolving into more of a coaching role, a shift that’s been accelerated as educators continue to harness the power of AI assistants.

In the past, teachers were forced to juggle a variety of mundane tasks like lesson plans and grading papers, resulting in less time spent engaging in quality time with each individual student. Those days are falling further and further behind us.

“The juggling act often overshadowed the superpower of teachers: their ability to unlock the potential within every student and build the human connection,” the report reads.

AR/VR technology

Thirdly, Sora notes how virtual and augmented reality are elevating learning experiences for students. With the recent release of the much-anticipated Apple’s Vision Pro, the researchers predict this technology will spark even further AR/VR development and innovation in the edtech industry.

Such technology can be particularly impactful in subjects like science and history where the visual learning aspect is even more important, the report declares.

“Imagine students entering virtual environments where they can conduct experiments in fully stimulated laboratories or explore ancient civilization as if walking through them in real-time,” the report reads. “Such experiences bring depth to learning, making abstract concepts tangible.”

Expansion of ESAs

The fourth trend addressed in this report sheds light on the expansion of school choice and ESAs (Education Savings Accounts). According to Sora, 2024 marks a “pivotal year in the realm of educational freedom.”

Following the successful implementation of ESAs by Arizona and Florida, the authors predict more states will embrace such programs.

“The expansion of ESA funding reflects a move toward more customized and diverse educational options for families and a more flexible and individual allocation of public education spending,” the report reads.

Cross-disciplinary and project-based learning

Another impactful force we’ll see dominating the K12 space in 2024 is the rise of cross-disciplinary and project-based learning. Schools are now working to provide students with opportunities to deepen the application and meaning of learning by developing new ways of teaching that go beyond the traditional classroom experience.

Accelerated by the rapid development of AI tools, we’re witnessing an increase in the disconnect between traditional education models and the modern needs of students and families. In 2024, we should expect to see more schools embracing a holistic and integrative approach to education.

Improving LMS

Finally, the last trend addresses the shift toward increased learning management systems that prioritize student and guardian experiences. In the past, learning platforms have been criticized for their poor design and lack of alignment for both students’ and parents’ needs.

However, thanks to Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Funds (ESSER), schools have been able to invest in platforms that support online learning and meet the informational needs of K12 parents. However, there’s still a long way to go in 2024.

“The pandemic woke us up to the need to design highly personalized learning environments for everyone,” Peter Hutton, founder and CEO of the Project Lab, said in the report. “Edtech needs to seize the opportunity.”

Sora predicts that schools will be more demanding of their edtech providers this year to lead better learning management systems. It reflects a broad trend toward edtech that not only assists students learning but enhances it, resulting in more engaging learning experiences for students.

“Our hope is to also see these platforms facilitate transparent and continuous communication between schools and families,” the report reads.

Micah Ward
Micah Wardhttps://districtadministration.com
Micah Ward is a District Administration staff writer. He recently earned his master’s degree in Journalism at the University of Alabama. He spent his time during graduate school working on his master’s thesis. He’s also a self-taught guitarist who loves playing folk-style music.

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