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Does “new year, new you” apply to K-12 education in 2024? Things are certainly changing in classrooms, schools, and districts, as edtech tools, digital learning resources, and instructional strategies evolve to meet the needs of every learner.
From cybersecurity and STEM learning to AI and professional development, every aspect of education is set to see new advances in 2024.
Here’s what five educators had to say about where 2024 will take education:
Finding new and innovative ways to support teachers will continue to be a priority for schools and districts this coming year and beyond. At St. Vrain, we’ve implemented artificial intelligence to provide teachers with extra support and to deliver high-quality, meaningful, and relevant professional learning opportunities. For example, this year our district launched the Exploration AI program to boost educators’ use and understanding of this emerging technology through self-directed, gamified learning. We have also continued to utilize the AI Coach by Edthena platform to help teachers reflect on their practice, take action steps toward instructional improvements, and measure their progress on student outcomes.
Courtney Groskin, Instructional Learning Coach, St. Vrain Valley Schools, Longmont, Colo.
Cybersecurity is a growing threat for schools. It’s not a matter of ‘if’ an attack will happen, it’s ‘when.’ I predict in 2024 we will see an increased emphasis on cybersecurity in schools. School districts will take proactive steps to ensure student data is as secure as possible. This may include moving to a digital records management system that is FERPA and CJIS compliant such as what we have done with Scribbles Software. Other steps may include eliminating the storing of social security numbers, providing specific cybersecurity training, and making sure the district has an incident response plan in case of a cyberattack.
Beverly Miller, Assistant Director of Schools for Administration/Chief Technology Officer, Greeneville City Schools in Tennessee
STEM opportunities are on the rise for young learners as elementary and early childhood programs increase exposure to STEM activities and careers. It is crucial that we take advantage of the many resources at our fingertips to develop the 21st century skills necessary for the workforce of the future. While the focus is often on secondary education, there is a great need to ignite interest and foster creativity when students’ curiosity and independence are at their peak. As we look to 2024, we should aim to integrate real-world problem solving that will encourage critical thinking and collaboration at an early age. We are moving away from the days of traditional teacher-centered instruction where desks are arranged in rows and the teacher is at the front of the room to a more collaborative hands-on learning environment. Immersive technologies are rapidly reshaping how students learn. Artificial intelligence, augmented reality, and virtual reality will transform how educators facilitate transdisciplinary learning in ways we never thought possible.
Jennifer Noah, STEM Facilitator, Dalraida Elementary, Montgomery Public Schools (AL), ClassVR Ambassador
At Mason County Central School District, we’re not just predicting the future of educational technology, we’re actively shaping it with our groundbreaking immersive classroom. As one of the first K-12 institutions in the country to integrate an AR/VR immersive room, we’re at the forefront of a revolution in learning. Our immersive classroom transcends traditional teaching methods, offering students an unparalleled, interactive learning experience that brings lessons to life. This technology is not just a tool, it’s a portal to a world of limitless educational possibilities, fostering engagement, creativity, and a deeper understanding of complex subjects. As we look ahead, we see our immersive classroom not only bridging learning gaps, it is also inspiring other schools to embrace this innovative approach, ensuring that the educational landscape continues to evolve and adapt to the needs of 21st-century learners.
Miguel Quinteros, K-12 Technology Coach, Mason County Central School District in Scottville, Michigan
The debate of cellphones in the classroom will remain a hot topic in 2024, and it’s time for schools to find ways to incorporate students’ cellphones into lessons. Whether it’s through AI tools or collaboration apps, there are endless opportunities to use this technology to enhance learning. This might include using an AI tool to add to a history assignment or having students use the Epson’s iProjection app to cast their work on the projector to share with the class. There are so many ways to allow students to use their devices during class and demonstrate how to utilize technology to enrich their learning.
Mark Whelton, Superintendent, Bridgeport-Spaulding Community School District, Bridgeport, Michigan