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Five trends for education in 2019

From environment focus to appreciating the arts, Nord Anglia Education's chief executive Andrew Fitzmaurice outlines this year's education trends

Posted by Julian Owen | January 07, 2019 | School life

Drawing on its experience of teaching over 53,000 pupils in 56 schools in 27 different countries, Nord Anglia Education has pulled together the trends most likely to impact teaching and learning over the next 12 months. Each are linked by a growing need for schools to better prepare pupils for an uncertain future.

Nord Anglia Education chief executive, Andrew Fitzmaurice, said the world is constantly changing, “but we’re now getting to a point where tomorrow’s generation will step into a new and unfamiliar world of work”.

He added: “We’re not talking about scaremongering of robots taking over and making humans redundant - this is a short-sighted view. We’re talking about a world where people will use their skills and intelligence to complement big data, automation and artificial intelligence. Careers will change, and pupils need the right skills to remain agile as they, and the world around them, continues to adapt.”

The five trends are:

1) Crowdsourced classes 

What is taught in classrooms will be increasingly decided by pupils. They’ll direct the exploration of subjects, drawing on topical issues affecting the world they live in, to inform questions and the development of discussions. The role of teaching becomes much more about coaching and helping pupils to not only build their knowledge, but to also make better sense of what they are learning. Lesson planning should be kept flexible and focused on garnering student input at the very beginning.

2) Cultural immersion 

There will be a growing rebellion against the many benefits of Google and the internet, as pupils crave real, first-hand experiences. It’s widely acknowledged that younger generations value experiences and this is impacting their learning behaviours. They don’t want to just read about something on the internet or see it on a screen, they want to actually get out, see things for themselves and talk with experts. More teaching needs to happen outside of the classroom and shouldn’t be considered extracurricular. Activities such as visiting museums, libraries, parks, and places of worship and historic importance, are a key part of learning.

There’s a growing realisation that workplaces of the future will be a hybrid of machine and human intelligence, and that education needs to prepare for this by also understanding the changing dynamic between people and technology

3) Environmental impact 

Sustainability ranks highly on political and corporate agendas. It’s become much more of a public talking point, and of increasing concern for students that want to protect the world they’re growing into. They’re looking to schools and the education system to help them understand how and why everyday choices can have a lasting impact on the environment, and what they can do to be more responsible and sustainable. Education needs to better embrace international efforts, such as the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, to satisfy students’ demand for a holistic understanding of addressing global issues such as climate change. 

4) Appreciating the arts 

The arts have long lived in the shadow of STEM, with greater emphasis placed on high academic performance in these subjects. As Artificial Intelligence (AI) continues to evolve at pace, and machine learning processes larger volumes of data, skills - including emotional intelligence, creative problem solving, teamwork and self-confidence - will become increasingly important. These skills are fundamentally subjective and cannot be as effectively replicated by technology; they’re all acquired through an understanding of the arts. This will see a shift in how society values the arts in education as people look at how they can complement, and not compete with, AI.

We’re talking about a world where people will use their skills and intelligence to complement big data, automation and artificial intelligence

5) Human intelligence 

Recent advances in technology have, rightly, seen a growing trend of AI-focused teaching and learning. However, this has often centred on the capabilities of AI. There’s a growing realisation that workplaces of the future will be a hybrid of machine and human intelligence, and that education needs to prepare for this by also understanding the changing dynamic between people and technology. Teaching and learning are evolving to consider the role of human intelligence in a digital, automated world, and looking at human intelligence being defined by more than knowledge.

Fitzmaurice says these are trends that will impact education over the next few years, as tomorrow’s generation become increasingly curious about the world they’re growing into.

“Technology has better connected this generation with global issues,” he said, “and they’re proactively seeking a sense of these to understand their place in society.”

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