Six Trends in Education Today

Report on trends in education: What we are seeing and how to navigate these trends with Copernicus 

This past year, education has seen a lot of change. We've seen educators rise to the challenge in the classroom with new technology, and moving to outdoor classrooms to remote teaching using basic household items (kitchen tables, soup cans and shower walls as whiteboards). All of this to help lessons run smoothly!

As part of our product development process, we work with our Idea Lab Educator Advisory to research and uncover trends in education. Our Idea Lab is a group of educators across North America who help us develop and test products and are such a resource to us! We would like to share our findings, offer product suggestions as well as online resources to help.
 


Image: A teacher gets creative by making a document camera with their phone and tin cans

6 Trends in Education:

  1. Increased distanced and online learning, hybrid teaching and working from home  
  2. Increased use of technology with mobility
  3. Increased sanitizing and physical distancing in schools
  4. Interest in flexible and mobile furniture
  5. Increased use of outdoor classrooms
  6. Increased interest in sustainable products

Trend 1: Increased distanced and online learning, hybrid teaching and working from home  

teacher's online teaching set upThis past spring, we all learned what is possible with remote working; we can make it work! Schools are having the same experience, although challenging on many fronts. Distanced and online learning is here to stay, even with a vaccine and so is working from home (WFH) as many companies are allowing employees to work remotely permanently.

See the 4 Tips for Teachers Shifting to Teaching Online.

- Overnight we all had to change how we teach, learn and work
Distanced and online learning and working from home are here to stay
Some students are benefitting, like some students with special needs
- No more snow or weather days for schools that are prepared
- With the help of technology, we have all learned anything is possible!


Image: An educator's setup for online teaching

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Trend 2: Increased use of technology with mobility

Tech Tub2 Trolley

 

With distanced, online and hybrid learning models, technology naturally plays a key role in that being possible, whether it be using ebooks or taking the class on a virtual field trip to a museum. The recently released federal funding is to be used for improving broadband connectivity and for technology purchases among other things to help schools. 

- Prior to the pandemic, schools were increasing their use of flat panels, robotics, virtual reality (VR) and 3D printing technologies
- The pandemic has shown many weaknesses with digital equity that need fixing
Funding being released to provide better connectivity and technology to students

Check out our Blog: How Early Adoption of Hybrid Learning Techniques Help During a Pandemic.

 

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Making technology mobile matters:

How often do you change your classroom layout? We polled our Idea Lab Educator Advisory and they told us teachers rearrange their classrooms A LOT!


Trend 3: Increased sanitizing and physical distancing in schools

Tech Tub2 Trolley

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The current administration in Washington is prioritizing the safe reopening of schools. Schools are using the Centers for Disease Control’s (CDC) guidelines to put together their reopening plans to prepare for students returning and they will need sanitizing products. Federal funding is to be used towards purchases to accommodate these new requirements. Post-vaccine, certain things, like hand washing and sanitizing will not go away.

- Some schools say they will not be opening until the fall
- Many schools are preparing their reopening plans now and will need to purchase sanitizing products
Hand washing before entering the school is a common approach, but schools have limited access to water at their entrances
- Federal funding covers these new requirements

See handwashing worksheets and lesson plans!

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Trend 4: Interest in flexible and mobile furniture

Image left to right):  (Left) Teacher demonstrating how to work in an urban outdoorclassroom by moving her easel outside. Photo credit: John Minchillo (Right) STEM Maker Station moving between classrooms
 

Pre-pandemic, flexible furniture was a popular choice for schools to create more flexible and engaging learning spaces. Elementary teachers were also changing their rooms around regularly. This trend has been amplified by the pandemic because schools are repurposing different areas of their schools (like libraries and common areas) to distance students. The fluctuation of in-class and remote students also plays into layouts changing in the classroom.

- Making technology mobile matters: Our Idea Lab Educator Advisory told us that teachers rearrange their classrooms monthly or bimonthly
The front of the classroom can be anywhere!
- Caster quality is key for long-term use of mobile furniture, particularly when carts etc., are loaded down with technology

See how our casters held up going 40MPH. Watch the video.

Take a look at four unique outdoor learning environments.

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Trend 5: Increased use of outdoor classrooms

Outdoor classroom

Photo credit: Revelstoke Review. Black Press Media

Just like remote and hybrid teaching models, taking students outdoors to learn will be here long after the pandemic has subsided. There are so many known benefits to being outdoors, reduced transmission of COVID-19 among them. Better air quality and spending time outdoors are critical to a student’s intellectual, physical and mental wellbeing. Outdoor classrooms are also using technology and large device carts, for example, that are not easy to take outdoors.

- Outdoor classrooms have been common for years in Europe and include forest schools
- Not just for early childhood; outdoor classrooms for all grade levels is a growing trend
- Outdoor spaces provide better ventilation and a way to distance students
Use of technology is increasing in outdoor classrooms
- Outdoor learning offers multiple opportunities for more student engagement

Learn more about how outdoor classrooms are being set up in our blog post. See lesson and topic ideas to help educators get students outside!

Image left to right):  (Left) This year, Portland Maine Public Schools has more than 500 students using 156 new outdoor classroom spaces across17 school campuses. Photo credit: Laura Newman (Middle) Outdoor space photographed during a school visit at Benhurst Primary, UK. (Right) A first generation Tech Tub Cart being used as an outdoor classroom. Photographed during a school visit at E. K. Powe Elementary School, Durham, NC

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Trend 6: Increased interest in sustainable products

 

bamboo

Image left to right):  (Left) Our Large Divided and Open Tubs are made with 25% recycled plastic and hold upto 10lbs each! (Middle) Recycled plastic lumber (Right) Bamboo Teaching Easel

This growing trend includes factors such as the materials a product is made from, how it is manufactured and the fair treatment of workers. For instance, when you purchase from a B Corp (like us) or companies that are guided by the triple bottom line of people, planet, profit, you are helping support more equitable business practices. We are working on different sustainable materials, like bamboo as well as products made from recycled plastic composite lumber.

See 44 ways to make your school and classroom more green (via We Are Teachers)!

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Helpful resources for educators

From online teaching tips to outdoor classroom ideas and hand washing lesson plans, we’ve compiled some helpful resources to check out!

Student learning online4 Tips for Teachers Shifting to Teaching Online

An experienced online educator shares what he's learned.

See the tips!

 


 

Students learning outsideOutdoor Classroom Day

Offering lesson and topic ideas to help educators get students outside!

Visit the Outdoor Classroom Day website.

 

 

 

Outdoor Classroom Classrooms Without Walls, and Hopefully Covid

Schools across the United States moved students outdoors. 

Take a look at four unique outdoor learning environments.

 

 

hand washing worksheets and lesson plansHand Washing Worksheets and Lesson Plans

Awesome worksheets, lesson plans and activities to encourage hand washing via Teachers Pay Teachers.

Get free hand washing teaching resources.

 

 

 

 

 


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