Despite the millions of dollars poured into K-12 education every year, the school systems are failing to turn out successful students. At every key stage of academic development, kids are being left behind or falling between the cracks. Too many start school behind their peers. Too many 4th graders are not proficient in reading and math. Too many 8th graders start high school unprepared for higher-level work. And of those students who graduate (given a 30% dropout rate), too many need to take remedial classes in college – assuming they attend at all. The problems are persistently acute for minority, rural, and socioeconomically disadvantaged students.
The K-12 education system is facing many obstacles concerning the quality of education, and equality of opportunity and of benefit for the students. One of the issues is ADHD. In the modern world, with so many devices and services competing for our attention, ADHD is at the heart of a perfect storm for those afflicted. We are living in a continually speeded-up society, where rotary phones have been discarded because they are too slow and single-tap faucets are used to speed up the mixing of hot and cold water.This rapid-fire culture has significant consequences for children.As opposed to children in the past century, today’s children experience many more stimuli and, as aresult, are motivated to engage in more and more stimulus-seeking behavior. Unfortunately, the education system falls behind the technological progress and instead of catching up they prefer to drug the kids with ADHD medicine.
Another issue is the teachers’ working conditions. It is not a secret that teachers are grossly underpaid in many countries all over the world. Teachers in the U.S make 14% less than professionals in other occupations with equivalent levels of education. In real terms, teachers’ salaries have declined for the past 30 years. Low salaries deter qualitative people from joining the education system thus, potentially hurting the level of education that kids receive nowadays. Low salaries are also the result for nearly two thirds of the teachers working outside the classroom to make ends meet.
Another problem is that in the past, if you went to school and received a diploma then you would inevitably be able to find a job that suits you, at least in theory (a lot of people were employed in jobs which do not really correspond to their abilities). Today this is not the case. Moreover, the education system as it is structured today is irrelevant for the real world. You cannot prepare children for a period of 40-60 years, when we do not know what will happen in 10 years from now. This is the wrong approach because today’s training is not fit for another 10 years in the future. New tools are needed that allow learning to deal with environmental.
The thing is that the education system today behaves like assembly link and teachers do not really have time for the students, as there is educational material that needs to be covered. Moreover, instead of dividing the children to groups of “those who are able to deal with this educational material”, and “those who can deal with that material”, the K12 students are divided by age groups. Self-realization does not exist in the current educational system, but rather just another step in the general assembly line of life. Furthermore, a lot of amazing kids are marginalized by the this approach and thus, very wise kids or very talented ones can be swallowed by the system and basically not succeed or reach fulfillment in their life just because they did not understand the questions of the teachers, questions which if were explained to them in a different way they could have understood and answered.
In the future instruction will becoming more learner-centered, non-linear, and self-directed. While in the past, most instructors followed a lecture-style approach to teaching, more instructional diversity is occurring among teachers who are trying a larger variety of approaches. This shift is also occurring within distance education, moving to the use of online communication and emphasizing students’ responsibility for their own learning.
Teaching has been constrained by technology. Until recently, a student needed to be in a lecture hall to hear the professor or around a table to debate with fellow students. Innovation is eliminating those constraints and bringing sweeping change to education. The eLearning mode aids in the learning exercise with course materials such as videos, reading materials, problem sets and forums, by offering students the freedom to choose the location, time and the pace of learning in a remote and inaccessible places all over the world.
The e-learning market continues to expand. According to GSV advisors, the worldwide market size for eLearning reached $90.9 billion in 2012, out of which nearly 18% was K12 eLearning. The K12 Learning market size is projected to amount to $255.5 billion in 2017 which are estimated to be around 27% of Global eLearning. The global market size for eLearning is predicted to almost triple in size by 2017 at compound annual growth rate of 23%. The estimated five-year compound annual growth rate for K12 eLearning is 33% by 2017. There are several patterns in the new global eLearning ecosystem creating a massive spike in the sales of eLearning content, and causing a substantial growth in revenues for self-paced eLearning products. One of the eLearning leaders is Udemy. www.udemy.com Udemy is a platform for teaching and learning courses online. Anyone can sign-up for Udemy and start creating courses right away. Udemy offers a variety of tools for delivering content online. Over 2 million students in 190+ countries are taking these courses to advance their careers and pursue their passions. Each course is available on-demand, 24/7, via the iPhone, iPad, Android and Web.
The Keystone School www.keystoneschoolonline.com is another platform that offers flexible education programs for high school and middle school students, for individual classes or full syllabus programs. The website offers more than 170 courses from credit recovery to world languages and AP.
Additional eLearning product is Study Island. www.studyisland.com It is a collection of interactive slides on different subjects, based on the students’ grade; created specifically for K12 students in the US. It is built directly from the Common Core State Standards, has multiple learning modes and provides instant feedback and built-in remediation.
To conclude, the future of K12 education largely hinge on the development and adoption of new educational technologies. Classroom design and pedagogical approaches will increasingly rely on web-based tools and devices to ensure efficient and effective student and teacher collaboration and interaction. If we want to create a strong population of adults prepared to earn a living and contribute to society, the system of education must inspire students’ interest in education and help them reach their potential. Although elementary and secondary education has changed significantly over the past 20 years, futurists and educational technologists suggest that the next 20 years will see even more drastic shifts.