The demise of the printed press has been a long-debated issue since the advent of online media; however, the transition might also mean the end of the classroom as we know it. That's the focus of a new report by Speak Up, an initiative of Project tomorrow, which surveyed close to 500,000 K-12 students, teachers, librarians, administrators, parents and community members on the future of education.
The Speak Up report focused on three different aspects of change within the education system related to recent technological advancements that are affecting the classroom.
These include a look at what is precipitating the move within the education establishment from "print to pixel"; the benefits of using digital content in the classroom as a teaching tool; and the advent of self-teaching and the repercussions that this will have within the classroom.
The report has brought to light several key aspects that Speak Up feel will, and should be, the focus of change within the education system:
"Engagement, extended learning, personalization, relevancy of content, and enhanced teacher effectiveness are the key words for developing new classroom models and instructional practices that support the development of students' college and career ready skills."
One revealing statistic within the report showed the extent to which the digital realm has increasingly become a fixture within the classroom:
"This year's 2015 data reveals that 46 percent of high schoolers are now using online textbooks, a growth of over 53 percent from 2005."
Meanwhile, a perspective on the aforementioned demise of the printed word, which won't make easy reading for book publishers and members of the printed press, was also revealed by this statistic:
"44 percent of the students feel that they learn more from watching a video than reading a book."
This is also reflective of the fact that most school leaders say the biggest challenge in the transition to digital learning is in motivating teachers to change their methods. However, the report is clear in its view that these changes are necessary as they represent a change based on students' learning preferences, an assertion that Speak Up backs up with neuroscience:
"Given that scientists say that the human brain processes visuals 60,000 times faster than text, it makes sense that in this information-intensive economy and society, content that is visual in nature is gaining widespread usage at a very rapid rate. "
Speak Up cites change as a continuous factor within the field of education, drawing from as far back as Plato whose part in popularizing the written text as a scholarly tool forever changed education. The report highlights the universality of the changes that are now being faced.
Also expanded on is the importance of different teaching methods, such as flipped learning, a video orientated teaching method that makes discussion or project work the focus of class time, while classes and lectures are consumed in video form outside of the classroom. The suggestion is that forms of education are going through a period of change that the establishment has to seize upon in order to optimize the next generations' potential. This is, according to the report, "a golden moment to re-think and re-engineer our vision for education."