Hello Integrating Technology colleagues,
Have you been reading any good education technology predictions for 2021 and this decade? If so, please let us know which ones you find of particular interest or relevance for adult basic skills education. For example from this education predictions article in University world News by Marguerite Dennis I found these of particular interest:
• Students, faculty and staff will travel with Digital Health passports, verifying their COVID-19 test results.
• Students will attend school year-round in some combination of online and in person instruction.
• An increasing proportion of higher education enrollments will come from company-sponsored, short-term certificate programs and boot camps.
• Enrollments in certificate programs, for example Google Career Certificates and Microsoft’s global skills initiative, among others, will increase.
• Transcripts will list competencies earned in courses along with grades.
• Some colleges and universities will cease operations. Others will merge with both national and international partners.
Which, if any, do you think might also apply to adult basic skills (including ESOL/ESL) programs and adult schools?
Should adult basic skills programs issue "transcripts" with the competencies students have been able to demonstrate?
David J. Rosen, Moderator
LINCS Community, Integrating Technology group
These are simply my thoughts and observations so please don't take any of the following as fact or anything backed by official research projects...
Many teachers in k-12 programs are approaching or at retirement age and within the next 5-10 years we will experience a record number of teachers leaving public education simply through retirement.
Frustration with the many changes in education that the pandemic has required may push even more teachers towards a change of career or early retirement.
The number of students going into teaching programs do not seem to be rising at any kind of rate to encourage that there will be many teachers itching to get into the educational field that is poised to experience quite a drought of workers soon.
As more and more families or students find success with some sort of remote learning, attendance at face to face educational settings will decrease.
Tax payers, especially those that have always been frustrated with educational costs, may start to question previous "normal" systems especially if any sort of academic success data is generated during periods of remote experimentations. New models and systems may become an economic necessity as previous expenses come under more and more scrutiny.
With so many youth loosing much of the adult supports that public education used to provide, especially in terms of social and emotional needs and development, we will soon have young adults in need of many life skills and even more soft skill development than we currently see.
All of the above and more indicate to me that there will be fertile ground for something different or new models for public education. Systems that are less reliant on textbook/testing and have more of a focus on life skills, information processing, social development, entrepreneurship and innovation will become much more desirable to the general public. Something or someone will have to fill that void, even if the traditional educational model somehow remains partially in tact.
Adult education has had a bit more capacity for flexibility and adaption than most any other educational offering to the public, and yet adult education has not been funded as well as other programs. This lack of financial support, although a negative, has had the positive effect of creating much more resilient educators and systems. Adult educators have had much experience trying to instill success with fewer resources, less public attention, and many other challenges and in spite of all those challenges, adult educators figure out how to adapt and just do what needs to be done. It is this ability to create successes with less resources and to flexibly adapt to individuals and situations that set our adult education systems in a position to offer alternative models that may be just what the world may need with all the challenges coming to the k12 systems I listed above.
We already have shifted our adult education system towards a career focus which could easily be expanded to include entrepreneurship and innovation needs listed above. Our programs are well versed in the need for adults to learn how to better process and use the massive amount of information available to us today. We have acknowledged the value and needs for developing social skills in all of our adults. Although we may not have found all the successes and may not have systemic constructs in place yet to really focus on these items, adult education is far ahead of this game than traditional k12 programs are.
As k12 systems begin to experience unprecedented challenges with teacher shortages, youth or family disengagement, even more financial scrutiny and skepticism and with the college system likely to experience significant changes as David alluded to, our society is going to need something available to everyone. I suggest that adult education may be best suited to elevate to that need. I know we have the talent in our field and we have so many in our ranks that understand what is really needed for most adults struggling today.
I have always predicted that our standard educational model had to change, even 40 years ago when I was a student in the system. Perhaps with all the life changes we are starting to experience, it may be a wonderful time to see what education can grow into.
"When the poop hits the fan, be sure to start casting your seeds of passion and love for you are surely going to find fertile ground!" I am hopeful we can all get to planting soon!
Hello Ed, and others,
Thanks for pointing out that the pandemic may be an opportunity for changing education, including adult basic skills education, that the major disruption brought about by the pandemic, where much of education has had to move online, may also offer new ways to see -- and do -- things in our field.
You wrote, "All of the above and more indicate to me that there will be fertile ground for something different or new models for public education. Systems that are less reliant on textbook/testing and have more of a focus on life skills, information processing, social development, entrepreneurship and innovation will become much more desirable to the general public. Something or someone will have to fill that void, even if the traditional educational model somehow remains partially intact." While some education administrators are thinking about a return to "normal," others are thinking about a "new normal" in which in-person and online learning are hybrid or blended. Some community colleges are pushing this idea further with "Flex" models (BlendFlex and HyFlex) that offer students maximum flexibility, at least in how they take a course, where students can actively participate in a class whether they are in the classroom, accessing the classroom remotely, taking the class asynchronously, or with a mix of these modes to suit their needs and preferences.
I wonder if you have some ideas about a major paradigm shift for adult basic skills education, not necessarily an example of that happening but, if there were the resources to do it, how adult basic skills education could and should change to better meet adult learners' needs. I also wonder if you have a view about what adult learner needs are being neglected now. Perhaps others here also have ideas about how adult basic skills education could or should change, and how integrating technology might be a part of that change.
David J. Rosen, Moderator
LINCS Community Integrating Technology group
Concerning your comment, and Ms. Dennis' prediction, "• Transcripts will list competencies earned in courses along with grades," If this prediction comes to pass for universities and colleges, and if it trickles down to adult education programs, what do you think it will look like?