Teachers must not only be adept at using digital tools and platforms in the classroom but also understand how to leverage them to create engaging and interactive learning experiences for their students.
To learn more, this article aims to delve deep into the future of education, looking at the skills current generations will need to keep up with an ever-changing world. We will look at examining emerging trends and technological advancements, and gain a better understanding of what skills teachers of tomorrow will need in order to thrive and be successful.
The Rise of the Technological Teacher
Of course, the first skill every teacher of the future will need is a confident grasp of technology. Technological innovation moves at break-neck speed, with just a couple of decades needed to completely shift the sort of tools and software teachers work with in the classroom.
If you think back just twenty years ago, to 2003, equipment like tablets and touchscreen smartboards was unheard of. Now, this tech is as commonplace as pencils and paper in Western schools.
Teachers will need to be open to new tools and tech that aren’t in existence yet. Nobody knows what the future of technology will look like, but we do know that whatever makes its way into our daily lives is sure to become a staple in the education sector.
Being curious as a teacher will help expand your skillset when experimenting and exploring how technology can help benefit the classroom and improve the learning experience for students.
Embracing curiosity when it comes to technology will help teachers develop a versatile skillset in areas such as:
- Experimental mindset - allowing teachers to find creative ways to engage students and cater to diverse learning styles.
- Encouraging lifelong learning in students - lead by example and inspire students to embrace going outside of their comfort zone to learn new skills.
- Problem solving and critical thinking - assess how technology can address specific classroom challenges, cater to individual learning needs, and foster a more inclusive and engaging learning environment.
- Building a supportive network - building connections with other teachers who also have a passion for educational technology can lead to invaluable insights and collaborative projects that can benefits the classroom.
Technology grants for the education sector are speeding up progress, too, ensuring that schools in all parts of the world don’t fall behind the digital evolution. From social media apps to new digital equipment, teachers need to be ready to adapt to new technology as quickly as it comes.
Will Virtual Learning Become More Common?
Along the same lines as technological advancements is virtual learning. During the Covid pandemic, 1.2 billion pupils around the world couldn’t go to school, and teachers turned to online communication tools to take lessons online. But is this a change that’s here to stay?
Of course, now that the pandemic isn’t forcing closures, schools are back to teaching in person. But there’s no doubt that the way we approach education has changed. The world of virtual learning isn’t just a possibility anymore, but a reality, and it isn’t unrealistic to expect more online lessons in the future.
While schools have largely resumed in-classroom teaching, the impact of virtual learning cannot be overlooked, and it’s set to play an increasingly significant role in the future of education.
Whether another pandemic hits, population growth makes in-person teaching less viable, or parents simply prefer online tutoring, teachers of the future need to be ready to transfer their skills to the online world. Being able to teach online competently is likely to be an in-demand attribute in decades to come.
What are the challenges of virtual learning?
Virtual learning presents its share of challenges. As education increasingly goes digital, ensuring all students have access to technology and reliable internet connectivity becomes crucial. Teachers must be conscious and acknowledge the digital divide and aim to create inclusive learning environments where all students can participate and thrive with the new learning opportunities.
Another consideration is maintaining students' engagement and motivation in the virtual classroom. Without face-to-face interactions, teachers will be required to adopt innovative approaches to capture students' attention and sustain their interest throughout the virtual lessons. Teachers will require creativity in designing interactive activities, leveraging multimedia resources, and encouraging peer collaboration in virtual spaces.
Future Teachers Must Be Adaptable
The world of teaching has evolved more in the past few decades than it ever has, with new technology like Markup Hero and Kahoot transforming the way we educate, and that isn’t likely to slow down anytime soon. As our world moves forward at incredible speeds, teachers must be able to keep up and pivot to the changing landscape of education.
It’s unlikely that the world student teachers enter after graduating will be the same twenty years down the line, with adjustments to grading systems, technological advancements, and environmental concerns all likely to cause fast changes.
Schooling isn’t a system that’s set in stone, so the views, skills, and approaches of teachers can’t be, either. Adaptability, therefore, is an asset that will remain as key as it is today for teachers of the future.
Mental Health Awareness and Emotional Intelligence
Our understanding of mental health is improving every year. With each advancement, it becomes apparent that helping children from an early age is essential to creating a bright future for the younger generations, and mental health support in schools is therefore gaining more focus.
Psychology and education have always shared a fundamental connection, but in recent years, their link has become even more pronounced in the education field. The two fields are now mutually influencing and benefiting from each other's advancements and insights.
It’s only expected to become more relevant in years to come. Educators are recognising that a deeper understanding of student behaviour, cognition, motivation, and social dynamics can enhance their teaching practices and create more effective learning environments. By incorporating psychological principles, educators can tailor their approaches to meet the diverse needs of students, improve learning outcomes, and promote overall wellbeing in the classroom.
Future educators will need a firm grasp of emotional intelligence, mental health, and empathy. Currently, only 1 in 3 teachers have mental health training, but it’s likely that this will change in the coming years.
Issues from helping children with ADHD and trauma to knowing how to address transgender pupils will all become increasingly relevant, and teachers will have to keep up with advances to prevent accusations of discrimination or mistreatment.
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The climate crisis is an ever-important global issue. As with mental health, our knowledge of the environment is growing, and it’s becoming apparent that there needs to be more focus on the world around us in schools.
Unicef, for example, is calling for better environmental education, and it’s likely that other organisations and governments will soon follow suit. There are a number of reasons why teaching children about climate change and human impact is important, including:
- Increase public awareness of environmental issues
- Encourage pupils to pursue careers in environmental science
- Help pupils to prepare for a changing climate and global landscape
- Promote more sustainable lifestyles
As one of the most pressing issues humankind faces, there’s no doubt that teachers will find it an increasingly prominent part of the curriculum. Who knows, with the right teachers, we might create a generation of kids ready to save the world!
An Innovative Approach to Education
If the pandemic showed us anything, it’s that teachers need to be innovative. Over the coming decades, the world is going to change in ways we can’t predict, and teachers of the future must be ready. Innovation is a key skill that will help them provide excellent education no matter what’s going on in the world around them.
Lockdowns, the cost of living crisis, and technological advancements are just some of the ways teachers of today are already showing the importance of innovation. Coming up with new ideas to tackle these new situations is keeping the education system afloat. If teachers of the future can generate ways to reach pupils in an ever-changing world, they’re fulfilling their duty as educators.
No one can say what the future looks like, though there are some things we can know for (almost) certain. Technology will evolve, the climate will change, and mental health will gain increasing prominence in our lives. Teachers of the future need to be ready for all of this and more, teaching the next generation to continue the progress of our species no matter what hurdles they face along the way.