Illustration by Edpuzzle Staff
Every profession has its own jargon. While chefs may wax poetic about the five French mother sauces, discuss the best dishes to sous vide, and debate braising versus brining, we teachers sprinkle acronyms like PD, IEP’s and SEL throughout our conversations. It’s true… there’s no way to avoid the education buzzwords!
Although some of these terms become just passing educational trends, others actually wind up sticking and earn a place in the canon (the flipped classroom, anyone?).
We’ve put together a list of our predictions for the biggest education buzzwords for 2020 so you know which education trends to be on the lookout for. Here are the top 7, in no particular order:
1. Building Empathy
In an increasingly divided world, the idea of building empathy in the classroom is more important than ever. While fostering empathy among students isn’t a new concept, over the years it’s become more and more prevalent in discussions around teaching soft skills in the classroom.
Education influencers like Brené Brown have helped give empathy the boost it deserves, and the wealth of TED Talks and articles on the subject are a great place to start if you haven’t thought about how to focus on empathy in your classroom before.
So, how exactly do you start building empathy among your students? Try having a weekly roundtable chat with a discussion topic like students’ highs and lows of the week, a challenge they need advice on, or simply by sharing something they’re grateful for.
Having students encourage and listen to each other is a guaranteed way to increase their capacity for empathy (and it’s good for the teacher’s soul, too).
This is one of those education buzzwords that for the moment is here to stay! The history of makerspaces actually goes all the way back to 2005, but it’s only in the past several years that the idea has picked up serious steam in the classroom.
Essentially, a makerspace is an area where students can work on projects that interest them by using skills from the STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and math). A makerspace can be adapted to all ages and levels of ability, making it a very hot topic in education for 2020 and beyond.
3. Flexible Seating
Long gone are the days of rows upon rows of uncomfortable combination desks! If you’re a teacher on Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest, you may have noticed a trend recently where classroom furniture is concerned. In 2020, the idea of flexible seating is only going to become more popular.
The idea behind the trend is to create a space which allows for choice, where all students can find a place where they feel comfortable. Some examples of alternative seating include beanbag chairs, exercise balls, bar stools and hightop tables, sofas, armchairs, floor cushions, plus traditional tables and chairs.
If you’re worried about where the funding will come from for your oasis of flexible seating, you can always reach out to parents and families for donations (send over your old sofa the next time you redecorate!) and check out websites like donorschoose.org where you can explain your vision and raise funds to make it a reality.
Make sure you share a little inspiration to get those donations flowing!
The next of the education buzzwords is all about teacher training. If just hearing the words “professional development” makes you shudder as you imagine sitting for hours watching a mind-numbingly dull PowerPoint presentation, you’ll love micro-credentials.
Just what are micro-credentials? They’re a way for you to choose your PD based on the skills you want to learn. You submit your proposal to the school, and they’ll decide whether to approve your requested training for continuing education hours.
Interested in creating a makerspace? Find an online course, get it approved by your school, and away you go. Or maybe you want to implement a new technology like Edpuzzle? Sign up for the online certifications like Edpuzzle Level 1 & 2 and do your PD in your PJ’s in the comfort of your own home.
With micro-credentials, you’ll avoid the dreaded one-size-fits-all PD and empower your learning to make a real impact on the type of teaching you can deliver your students. This buzzword’s not so bad, right?
5. Trauma-Informed Teaching
Unfortunately, trauma-informed teaching is one of the education buzzwords that’s going to continue to be important in 2020.
Social and emotional learning (SEL), one of the big trends in education over the past few years, has paved the way for trauma-informed teaching, which involves keeping a watchful eye on students for potential signs of trauma and adapting your teaching accordingly.
Trauma could range from family turmoil to abuse, gang violence, bullying or any number of factors, but the key is to know how to identify if a student may have been exposed to trauma and to be receptive to that student’s specific needs as a result of their trauma.
Being emotionally available, looking out for warning signs and practicing self-care (taking home your students’ problems is dangerous to your emotional well-being) are all techniques that will help you be the best trauma-informed teacher you can be.
6. Augmented & Virtual Reality
Everyone loves cool new technology, especially when it comes in the form of virtual reality! This is one education trend that’s definitely on its way up.
You might have heard a couple of different terms being thrown around where this technology is concerned. To break it down, virtual reality immerses you in a completely different world, while augmented reality layers virtual elements over a real-world view (think Pokemon Go). Both will delight your students!
Some of the options that are available on the market now include Google Expeditions, Discovery VR and Titans of Space. These tools usually use an inexpensive cardboard viewfinder combined with a smartphone to allow students to explore space, swim with sharks, visit Base Camp at Mount Everest or check out the organs inside the human body!
Your students might already be used to using these technologies for entertainment, so they’ll love using them in school.
7. Video Learning
This is one trend that’s here to stay. The popularity of the flipped classroom and blended learning have made video learning an indispensable part of 21st-century education, and we’ll see this trend continue to grow throughout 2020.
From the mind-boggling selection of educational videos available online from sources like National Geographic or TED-Ed to name a few (all of which you can find on Edpuzzle), to YouTube channels created by teachers, and video-chat apps for students, video learning is definitely the future of education.
So, welcome to 2020… it’s going to be an exciting year for education!