11 Education Trends to Watch in 2022

Education Trends 2022 Hero

Is team teaching the future of education? How will schools tackle the mental-health crisis exacerbated by the pandemic? What role will AI play in classrooms? We spoke with education leaders from across the country, including the deans of two teacher colleges, a high-school principal, experts in EdTech, social and emotional learning, news literacy, and more. They share their forecast for education trends in the year ahead.

As for HMH, we're always thinking about what the future holds. CEO Jack Lynch predicts that education will become increasingly high-tech and high-touch. His vision blends the best of technology with the best of the classroom experience.

As Lynch wrote in TechCrunch, "We now have the opportunity to take what we have learned and use it to usher in a new era of education — one that is powered to a meaningful degree by technology yet centered on human connection, and one where we reject the false choice between engaging software and an incredible teacher."

Read on for more education predictions. If you're curious to see how last year's predictions panned out, read 8 Education Trends to Watch in 2021.

Education Trends for 2022

Education Predictions Matthew Mugo Fields
Matthew Mugo Fields, HMH General Manager, Supplemental and Intervention Solutions

Prediction #1: Expect More AI-Embedded EdTech Solutions.

“As consumers, we use artificial intelligence every day without realizing it. For example, you don’t think of your Netflix queue as AI, but it is. The same thing happens in education. AI is increasingly embedded in all kinds of EdTech solutions. This kind of technology can help teachers in important ways: It can save them time, measure student growth, and personalize curriculum for individual students. In its most promising form, this is not about technology replacing humans. It’s about humans focusing on what they can do better than any machines, and machines taking on tasks that they can do really well. Although it isn’t always branded as “AI,” nowadays, humans coupled with increasingly intelligent software is becoming commonplace. The hybrid future is here."

Carole Basile Education Predictions
Carole Basile, Dean of the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College at Arizona State University

Prediction #2: Team Teaching Is the Future of Education.

“The one-teacher, one-classroom model is not sustainable anymore. We shouldn’t accept that new teachers are definitely going to be crying in their car at the end of the day. That’s ridiculous. Teachers can no longer go it alone, given the wide disparities across grade levels and the need to personalize learning. Teachers have got to work in teams. Imagine a team of second-grade teachers working with 100 kids. Instead of one teacher trying to teach 30 kids every subject, now you have someone on the team who specializes in math and another who specializes in reading. There might be paraprofessionals on the team trained in how to integrate social-emotional support and wellness. Community volunteers could be tutors. AI-enhanced technology that provides data that can help teachers tailor learning to each kid will also be a part of the team. As a team, we can group, re-group, and move kids around, based on what they need and according to our expertise."

Venola Mason Education Trends 2.jpe
Venola Mason, ICLE Associate Partner and author of Teach Up!

Prediction #3: Social and Emotional Support for Teachers Is Increasing.

“There's going to be a heightened focus on SEL for teachers and staff. We’ll see districts coming up with ways to provide that support, which is so critical right now. Put yourself in a teacher’s place. They are overwhelmed, trying to recreate the classroom communities they had pre-COVID, while they’re also expected to manage ever widening academic gaps. They’re dealing with school shootings, natural disasters, and a pandemic with a huge death toll. I can see districts spending a lot of time and effort, in coaching and professional learning, to help teachers cope with these challenges.”

Dean Pedro Noguera Education Trends 4.jpe
Pedro Noguera, Dean of USC Rossier School of Education

Prediction #4: Look for a Rise in Alternative Assessments.

“As many colleges and universities end SAT requirements for admission, you can expect to see a gradual movement away from standardized testing as the dominant means of student assessment. Going forward, states will have to provide guidance on how to assess students, whether that’s using portfolio-based assessment or some other means. Anyone who is paying attention knows that the pandemic produced significant learning loss for many kids. Testing them is not the way to address it. For some in the industry, testing is all they know. They respond to every set of problems with the same remedy. For the last 20 years, we've been measuring kids’ progress by testing them. I'm hoping we're entering a period where we’ll be more interested in challenging kids and tapping into their curiosity for learning, where we'll focus on excellence in teaching and creating conditions that get kids excited about learning.”

John Silva Education Trends
John Silva, News Literacy Project’s senior director of professional learning

Prediction #5: Educators Will Address Conspiratorial Thinking.

“There’s an urgency among educators around how to address conspiratorial thinking. At News Literacy Project, we don't teach about conspiracy theories. We focus on the psychology behind conspiratorial thinking: What is it about conspiracy theories that people find compelling? What draws them in? What is the role of cognitive dissonance and cognitive biases? Kids are bombarded with conspiracies and misinformation. Social media makes it easier for these things to spread. Kids might come across conspiracies because of algorithms. If the people they’re connected to on Tik Tok watch a video touting a conspiracy, the algorithm might show it to them too. So they could come across conspiracies on their feed just through passive scrolling. And the next thing they know, they’re down a rabbit hole and the Roman Empire never existed.”

Prediction #6: News-Literacy Standards Are Coming.

“Right now, there is no consistency in news-literacy standards or curriculum. States might try to build media literacy into their standards. But media literacy can be different from news literacy in a lot of ways. [Media literacy is the ability to access, analyze, evaluate, and create media and news literacy is the ability to judge the reliability and credibility of news reports and information sources.] At News Literacy Project, we are starting to develop language for news-literacy standards and considering where to roll them out first. We're also drafting a more comprehensive roadmap for teaching news literacy, a framework that is desperately needed to help students recognize misinformation and identify credible sources. In doing this, we hope to restore some trust in journalism and media.”

Nicole Smith Education Predictions.jpe
Nicole Smith, chief economist at Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce

Prediction #7: Schools Will Train Kids for the Jobs of the Future.

“Americans owe $1.7 trillion in student loans. For a lot of people, this is an unwieldy burden. They have to take care of their family, buy a house or car. So for the last decade, colleges and universities have been concerned about the wages their students will earn after graduation. There has been greater emphasis on gainful employment, how much you make, and your ability to pay back student loans. This is necessary so students don’t spend years of their life accumulating debt. A college scorecard can tell you the average income of a graduate of a particular college. This teaches us to be more mindful about careers and earning potential. And we see this happening more in K-12 schools. More and more, they are focused on preparing kids for future careers.”

Amit Patel Education Predictions.jpe
Amit Patel, managing director at Owl, the largest EdTech venture capital firm in the world

Prediction #8: Telehealth Will Aid Focus on the Whole Child.

“The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that from April to October 2020 the proportion of mental health–related emergency room visits increased by 24% for children ages 5 to 11, and by 31% for adolescents ages 12 to 17. Schools and districts are paying attention. This concept of focusing on the whole child—social and emotional development, health and wellness, and academics—will become a bigger focus in schools. But the shortage of nurses, counselors, and therapists in schools presents a challenge. Telemedicine could be the answer. Hazel Health, for example, provides telemedicine to the K–12 sector, helping school districts address health problems so that students can continue learning without interruption.” 24% increase in children 5 – 11 and 31% among adolescents (ages 12 - 17)

Prediction #9: EdTech Will Free Up Teachers' Time.

“Teachers have to fulfill more and more requirements during the school day. Technology can help. The digital reading assistant Amira, for example, can save teachers nearly 100 hours in a year by automating oral reading assessments, running records, and dyslexia screening. Technology can also help by providing teachers with the data they need to personalize instruction for each student in the class. And there's a third benefit: technology can give students practice time and feedback while the teacher works with other students one-on-one or in small groups.”

Drummond Education Predictions
Adam Drummond, ICLE Associate Partner and author of The Instructional Change Agent

Prediction #10: A Fundamental Shift in Teaching Is on the Way.

“The World Economic Forum came out with the top 10 skills that are needed for the jobs of tomorrow. Critical thinking and complex problem solving are among them. We have to make sure we're building these skills into pre-K–12 education. Tech tools will continue to evolve. But it’s how we teach in virtual and blended environments that needs a closer look. Kids should have opportunities to create innovative solutions to problems. If they can Google the answer, or ask Siri, do they really need to know it? Do they need to know off the top of their head that four times four equals 16? I would argue they don't. Rather, they need to know why four times four equals 16, and what that looks like. Memorization and critical thinking are two very different philosophies of teaching and learning. The most successful schools will be the ones that challenge students’ problem solving."

Neil Lesinski Education Predictions.jpe
Neil Lesinski, Principal of Cary-Grove High School in Illinois

Prediction #11: Schools Will Hire for Positions Created by the Pandemic.

“Because of the pandemic, we are seeing more students with school avoidance issues, and more who are struggling with mental health. These students, along with those who were exposed to COVID, need the leeway to learn from home or in outpatient facilities until they're ready to return to school buildings. Districts are looking for ways to provide these students with a robust education without stretching teachers too thin. The tricky part is figuring out how to do that in a sustainable way. Our school currently has liaisons for students who are learning at home. They act as tutors and intermediaries between teachers and families. That role may need to change into a dedicated, full-time support role. In times of need, this will be how we ensure that kids get the best possible educational experience.”

The views expressed in this article are those of the education leaders highlighted and do not necessarily represent those of HMH.

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