Students Today Are Learning All the Time. Can Schools Keep Up?

Nearly a year ago EdSurge released a Podcast deconstructing some of the learning trends emerging for Highschool students based on the data collected in the annual Speak-up survey. This survey is funded by Project Tomorrow and collects hundreds of thousands of responses. A year on, and in the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic the question “Can Schools Keep Up?” feels even evermore pertinent.

For many students, it is likely their learning experience in recent months has transformed beyond recognition. This week we are delving back into the EdSurge podcast to re-examine students’ and parents’ attitudes towards the current landscape of learning. 

When we asked parents “what are your chief concerns about your student’s future, your children’s future?” The parents told us…

1-    Their children would have to take on too much student debt to be successful in the future

2-    Their children are not learning the right skills in school to be successful

It is the second point here that we find to be the most alarming. Future-skills based learning is why Algorithmics school of programming exists; to ensure children are learning the right skills for the future of work. If this was a concern of parents pre-pandemic, we can only imagine how this has now heightened. The tech sector is one of the most secure and highest growth industries. Coding is weaving its way into numerous roles and it’s one of the most in-demand skills of 2021.

The other side of it is when we asked students about the experience, they are having in school…

“81% of 6th graders (ages 11-12) want to be successful in school yet they find too often that their classes are not interesting and they themselves say that they are not learning the right skills to be successful.”

It’s clear that students themselves understand the changing world around them and the skills required to find success in the future. It is also clear that the way in which they want to learn is changing…

Students want socially based experiences

You would argue that school learning is social right? However, this is not the kind of social interaction that students now aspire towards…

“Socially based learning is the opportunity to co-learn with each other, collaborate with each other but not have that limited to just who’s sitting next to them but rather be thinking about can we be co-learning and collaborating on experiences with my teacher, with teachers in other grades or other classes that I’m not having, collaborating with students that aren’t at my school, collaborating with students on real-world problems that are all around the world? So, it’s about an expanded view of socially based learning.”

“Students tell us the very best way for them to learn, in many cases is that co-learning experience where they have the opportunity to share what they know with other students and also be able to get feedback on their work form other students.”

Socially based learning with the opportunity for students to co-learn and collaborate is something Algorithmics programmes are built around. We understand the value of student to teacher relationships as well as student to student relationships. It’s why our students learn in small groups of six with a live tutor. Also, they engage in peer review exercises and collaborative projects. It’s an incredible opportunity for them to co-learn with students they don’t get to interact with at school.

Remote and skills-based, future-ready learning should be the focus for students today. Are schools able to adapt quickly enough to the concerns of parents, priorities of students and the changing landscape of learning?  

Click here for a Free Algorithmics trial class with a live tutor.


EdSurge Podcast

Dr. Julie A. Evans is the CEO of Project Tomorrow

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