Not so much by the content shared in the responses but mostly by the absence of what I believed to be the #1 trend in education in 2023.
I will share this surprise with you in a moment, but first, let’s cover the basics.
Current Educational Trends
The following list is by no means a comprehensive essay about educational trends, nor a dissertation on what is and is not considered important at this time.
You, dear reader, hail from many varied backgrounds, so I shall allow you to pick through the following thoughts and make your own decisions.
You will note that everything reflected in the following list is very reasonable, expected and true. But it didn’t scratch the surface of what I was expecting.
Google wanted to know what it took to build the perfect team. Atop of the list of ingredients was psychological safety. They published the results of their project called Aristotle widely and a lot has been discussed and shared worldwide about the significance of safety in teams. Reflecting on my own experience, there is no doubt that psychological safety sits close to the top of my thinking and practice over the past couple of years. If you do not nurture and nourish psychological safety, then it is nigh impossible to create remarkably powerful learning outcomes for a group. This has always been true, but… I think on the back of Google’s research, the topic gained prominence and thus psychological safety become a ‘trend.’
Social Emotional Learning
If you work in education, you will have heard of and possibly embraced many elements of social-emotional learning (SEL.) If this is new to you, rather than repeat myself, visit this page to learn all about it. SEL is a trend because I think it reached a tipping point several years ago when many schools and platforms jumped on board. That said, there has been some pushback from some educators, but I think broadly speaking, there is overwhelming evidence to support the focus we give SEL in our classrooms, and, indeed anywhere groups live & breathe. Based on sheer numbers, it’s fair to say SEL is a trend.
For many, Positive Education (Pos Ed) and SEL go hand-in-hand. They are not the same, but each place a student’s well-being at the heart of education. playmeo has been heavily engaged in the development of Pos Ed in Australia over the past 10-12 years. Personally, I think it’s come off the boil in terms of trend-setting. From the perspective of the outside looking in, some educators and schools think it’s all about “being positive,” which it is not, so it suffers a little from its name. Pos Ed is all about helping students flourish, and given it’s been around since the days of positive psychology, it deserves a seat at the table as more and more schools explore this unique pedagogy.
For the record, there were a bunch of other trends shared by my community – including ‘the value of connections’ and ‘teacher support’ and ‘STEM or STEAM’ and ‘play-based and culturally-relevant content’ and ‘COVID trauma,’ just to name a few.
If you’re interested in a significantly more nuanced investigation of this topic, visit this page at research.com (hit tip to JeWElle for sharing.)
One Momentous Trend was Missing
To be honest, when I asked the question about trends, I truly believed that the first, second and third responses would have been… ChatGPT.
Yes, the ubiquitous artificial intelligence (AI) tool that just released its 4.0 iteration. Everyone is talking about it (although maybe not everyone in my community is thinking about it 🙂 )
In a word, the software is amazing. And once you get over the mind-boggling functionality of this tool in an educational context, the alarm bells start ringing.
But wait, if this term is new to you, allow me to introduce it.
Inspired by the example set by my friend and colleague Chad Littlefield last week, I decided to embrace a live stream of my own active consciousness and put the ChatGPT tool through its paces. If you’re interested in knowing what ChatGPT is, how it learns (it corrected a mistake it made last week) and being inspired by limitless possibilities, click below.
PS: Stay tuned long enough to see ChatGPT create a pretty impressive sequence of activities for a fictional teambuilding program!
Good or Bad?
Like most innovations, there is clearly a dark side to the AI functionality of ChatGPT. For example, a student need only ask the software to “…Write a 500-word essay about the relevance of Shakespeare in the 21st Century in the style of Harry Potter…” and the bot won’t even break a sweat. Try it (I did.)
If you watch the video above, you’ll see me ask equally complex questions, and the content it spits out is Ah-Maze-Ing. I understand that the next iteration of ChatGPT will be able to pass the Bar Exam!
And, this is just the very tiny tip of the iceberg. As you can imagine, the teaching profession is tying itself in knots over the use and abuse of AI in an educational setting.
Which is why ChatGPT is a trend.
My question answered.
The purpose of this article is not to pass judgement on the virtues or otherwise of the continuing development of this fascinating technology, but there can be no denying, it is here, it is not going away and it IS going to change the way we learn.
What Do You Think?
What trends in education are you seeing? Did I miss something big or important?
What do you think about ChatGPT? Have you used it? What issues and possibilities have you thought of?
I’d love to hear from you. Add your comments below (members only.)