STEM Education There has been an emphasis on STEM education this past year which stands for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. As these fields continue to expand in the workforce education has made strides to keep up with the growing demand for well-educated workers. Robotics education is one particularly popular component of STEM education. It involves organizations partnering with schools to teach students about the fascinating field of robotics.
Single Gender Schools One of the more controversial hot topics in education last year was single gender schools. Many argue that teachers are able to teach lessons and implement curriculum in an all-girls or all-boys classroom that is impossible in a co-ed situation. Proponents argue that it is less distracting to have same sex classrooms. Opponents believe that it is a detriment to social growth and does not adequately prepare students for real world experiences.
Flipped Classrooms Flipped classrooms are an innovative new way to learn but they also may create an environment in which some students thrive while others struggle. In a regular classroom, students learn about a topic from the teacher then practice applying their knowledge with homework. In a flipped classroom, students learn about a topic on their own by watching videos made by the teacher or conducting guided research then practice applying their knowledge at school with the teacher. This is still fairly uncommon except at the secondary level.
Students with Gay Parents Another one of the gender related hot topics in education last year was students with gay parents. Some studies of students with gay parents have shown that these students may tend to struggle more in a social and emotional sense at school. Teachers, principals, and guidance counselors around the country have focused on improving the educational experience of these students. In addition, many scholarships have been created specifically for students with gay parents.
Blended Learning Blended learning entails mixing traditional classroom style learning with at home computer work. It is sometimes referred to as a hybrid class and it is particularly popular among adults with busy schedules so that some learning can be completed on their own time. There is still some controversy, though, that the outcome is not as successful as traditional methods.
Teacher Evaluation Teacher evaluation has been a hot topic for many years. Some districts continue to evaluate teachers based upon assessment results but recently there has been a real push to evaluate teachers differently. Some school implement an evaluation form for students to fill out about their teachers but others have even begun having more open forums and discussions with their students. This is one topic that will not soon fade away.
Student Assessment It seems as though student assessment is one of the most debated hot topics in education almost every year. Some argue that standardized testing is unfair and even biased while others hold that it is necessary in order to assess students. The Follow the Child concept has picked up speed.It focuses not on a student meeting age appropriate bench marks but a student making improvements from the past year and meeting individualized bench marks.
Extended School Year The extended school year has been a requirement for special education students or those with a disability since 2005. The concept of an extended school year to provide supplemental education services has been expanded to include all students who require extra help. This is a new idea and has not picked up speed yet but many parents are thrilled with the idea of having school open longer for their children to work on their academic weaknesses.
Digital Textbooks One of the most up-to-date hot topics in education last year was the use of digital textbooks. Proponents claim that not only can digital textbooks save schools and families a lot of money but they are often interactive which allows for more involved learning. Opponents, though, believe that it is vital to have students read from physical textbooks and worry about kids today relying too heavily on technology.
Online K12 Courses Online secondary education courses have been around for many years but it was not until recently that online K12 courses became popular. Many districts now offer an alternative to regular school for students who struggle with social relationships, learn at a fast or slow pace, or live a long distance from school. Parents appreciate this option but there is now a demand to blend online learning with in class learning so students can benefit from both methods.
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