Top findings about 2018 classroom trends and project requests include:
1. Project creation in rural areas increased. In 2018, DonorsChoose.org saw a large spike in teachers posting projects for the first time, particularly among teachers in rural areas. Schools in rural areas saw a 53 percent growth in teachers creating their first projects, compared to 37 percent growth among schools in urban areas. This demonstrates how rural teachers are often faced with limited budgets or funding sources, and how they’re using the online resources available to them and thinking globally as they fund local school projects.
2. Teachers are increasingly interested in STEM education and computer science. Mirroring the increasing focus on STEM education nationwide, requests for applied science projects have continued to trend upward. Applied Science projects accounted for 13 percent of all requests in 2018, up from 10 percent in 2016. This trends reflects a growing sentiment that computer science is a critical component of STEM education, not just for coding and programming skills, but for the soft skills it imparts, such as problem solving and creativity. Maybe these teacher requests indicate a boost in national computer science participation–across 24 states, just 35 percent of high schools in the U.S. teach computer science. Minority, rural, and economically disadvantaged students are even less likely to go to a school offering computer science.
DonorsChoose.org reveals the top 3 classroom trends in 2018
3. Teachers and donors are focused on supporting the “whole child” and school climate enhancement. Social and emotional learning is recognized as an increasingly important part of students’ education, and projects mentioning this topic increased by 100 percent in 2018. It is such a major focus these days that many schools outline important steps educators can take as they implement social and emotional learning, while others say it is important to involve parents in social and emotional learning, too.