Educators are no strangers to change, but the last few years have brought forth enough change to overwhelm even the most prepared of leaders. How does one begin to predict what the future might hold?
We may not have a real crystal ball to help you see into the future, but we can offer the support of other administrators faced with the same challenges. So, to help you navigate the year ahead, we’ve asked school and district administrators from across the country to share their hopes and predictions for what the future of education may bring.
Gaze into the metaphorical crystal ball with us…
The #1 goal administrators hope to see accomplished by the end of the 2022-23 school year:
“All students performing at or above grade level.”
“That all students are on grade level in reading and math.”
“Raising our school scores by 20% from last year as a whole.”
The top answer to this question doesn’t come as a big surprise, given the learning gaps observed and exacerbated over the last several school years. Research from spring 2022 showed a lower percentage of students at grade level compared to pre-pandemic math and reading achievement, with just 54% of 3rd grade students performing at grade level in math and 67% at grade level in reading. The majority of administrators we surveyed made clear that closing that gap is their top priority for this academic year.
Other answers shared by administrators included improving overall school performance on test scores compared to last year, as well as making sure that students have been adequately provided with tools and opportunities to be successful in an ever-changing learning environment.
The top problem administrators wish they could solve for future educators:
“Teacher burnout and retention.”
“Aides in every classroom to share the workload.”
“The behavior issues in students.”
It’s an unfortunate reality that teacher job satisfaction levels are at an all-time low. A national poll conducted by EdWeek found only 12% of teachers who said they were “very satisfied” with their jobs, and more than half said they likely wouldn’t advise their younger self to pursue a career in teaching. The workload feels like it’s constantly growing, especially with students developing additional needs during the pandemic.
Administrators we surveyed stated they wished they could place aides in every classroom to help manage the workload. Several also shared that behavioral issues in students have proven extremely challenging for them and their teachers, with one admin wishing for stronger parental involvement to provide children with more accountability and alleviate some of that pressure for their teachers.
What administrators think technology will look like in the classroom 5 years from now:
“Students will be moving away from text books and schools will be looking to use technology as a means of instructing students.”
“Each student will have their own computer and bag throughout their school years.”
“Students will learn at home.”
In March of 2021, 84% of district leaders said they were providing a device for every elementary school student, up from roughly 40% prior to the start of the pandemic. Most of the administrators we surveyed felt confident that technology is here to stay.
They predicted that 1:1 devices will become commonplace for each student throughout their schooling, opening the door for students to continue learning at home or, if they learn at school, opting for online resources in place of physical textbooks. One administrator predicted that we may even see handwriting may become less prevalent at school in favor of typing skills.
The #1 thing administrators want to see EdTech companies do in the next few years:
“Increase the effectiveness of instructional components for their supplemental resources.”
“Continue to add new lessons and items to help pinpoint and meet needs in assessment and instruction.”
Since most of the admins we surveyed felt that classroom technology will be around for the foreseeable future, it’s not surprising they want to see that technology improve for their teachers and students.
One admin suggested that creation of more new lessons and instructional content could help to better pinpoint student needs and, in turn, help teachers meet those needs more effectively. Another shared that since students sometimes click through their online assessments quickly, adding measures to keep them from doing so would lead to more impactful assessment results. Overall, administrators’ responses showed that efficacy is the top quality they’re looking for in the technology they use heading into the new year.
At eSpark, we’re always working to improve for the classrooms we serve, and we place a high value on incorporating feedback from teachers, students, and admins alike. Based on that feedback, we have a lot of exciting updates coming to our product in 2023. Learn more about our New Year’s Resolutions and the updates we have in store here.
Do you have additional suggestions for ways EdTech companies like us can better support you in the year ahead? We’d love to hear them–drop them in the comments section below!