2022 saw so many developments in our school, but new years and fresh starts have us looking at the year to come – and the trends we anticipate seeing with it. Many of them involve seeds planted a while ago, like neuroeducation while others like nano-learning and Chat GPT are newer arrivals. We wish we could gaze into a crystal ball and predict the future with absolute certainty, but that would take the fun out of it!
So join us as we take a look at the trends we expect to see in 2023, while allowing for the surprises that will inevitably pop up along the way.
Educational neuroscience, also known as neuroeducation is taking on a more prevalent role in educational practice, with search results for the concept exploding by 6700% over the past fifteen years. And for good reason – neuroeducation looks at where our minds meet educational matter, bringing science into every single classroom instead of just the science labs. Our Head of Professional Learning Development, Dr Angie Mullins, has dedicated countless hours to understanding educational neuroscience and, importantly, figuring out how to transfer the complex research into a ready-to-apply school environment, tailored to each of the schools. In this way, the gap between teaching/learning and research becomes narrower. Neuroeducation is calling the ‘old standards’ of teaching into question. How useful is memorisation-based testing? How relevant are in-person lectures? Should homework be unguided? While this is a burgeoning field, we’re looking at its implementation in 2023 and expect to see the same from other leading education providers.
While nano-learning might make one think of tiny robots, the reality is quite different. Nano-learning is tailored to suit our current generation of students – Gen Z – who favour bite-sized learning opportunities. Succinct information is delivered to students in short bursts (only a few minutes at a time) to match the attention span that has adapted to the digital age (around 8 seconds). While educators have to balance the demands of a syllabus that must be completed, it would be a mistake not to consider the benefits of this learning style in 2023. Micro-learning is a similar concept that differs in duration (up to an hour) which allows for deeper learning around a particular subject or skillset.
3. Repairing Educational Inequalities
South Africa’s wealth gap creates a heightened level of educational inequalities, with a chasm deepening between private and public schools. Education is one of the most important avenues for permanently addressing inequality but for this to happen in a meaningful way, we need to see public schools partnering with private schools to a greater extent. Old Mutual has determined that the cost of education is outpacing salary inflation and the Consumer Price Index by up to 3% annually – and 2023 may well see these numbers increase. In 2023, Redhill has begun exploring ways in which we can harness the privilege we have to dispense knowledge and resources to schools in need within our local community.
4. Chat GPT in Classrooms
One phrase was heard buzzing at the end of 2022: Chat GPT. With the arrival of mass-use AI language models came the anxiety that so often accompanies technological development. Many schools have already made moves to ban the use of AI like Chat GPT, but we’re quite excited by it. We even asked it what use it would be in our classes. It suggested that it could “create personalised learning experiences based on a student’s individual learning style” and “generate personalised assessments for students, which would allow teachers to more easily identify areas of strength and weakness and tailor instruction accordingly.” We then proceeded to ask it to explain the redox reaction in simple terms and advise us of why it’s still worth studying Othello in the 21st century. The answers were astounding. 2023 will see schools harnessing the power of similar AI while still respecting the importance of academic integrity and individual creativity. Our job as educators will be teaching discernment and emphasising the importance of authentic creation.
5. Mental Health Matters
The pandemic took mental health difficulties to new heights, with the WHO confirming the global prevalence of anxiety and depression to have increased by 25%. While schools note the impact of the pandemic on academic performance and the need for compensating for missed learning, mental health is proving to be just as important. Students already struggling with mental health issues run the risk of being left by the wayside in the absence of a proactive, supportive community. At Redhill, we’re addressing this by interviewing for the position of Head of Student Support Services, who will be in charge of ensuring that no child gets left behind by tailoring support strategies for every child in need, involving the child, their parents, trained professionals and the staff.
6. Chat GPT in Classrooms
What we learn is just as important as where we learn – and we’re not just talking about the choice of school but the buildings too! Learning spaces are being optimised in 2023 with renewed focus on classroom design as well as the spaces for individual and group work between classes. These spaces, sometimes referred to as ‘learning lounges’ or ‘we-learn’ spaces are proving more important with new buildings being designed to accommodate these developments and older buildings being retrofitted to accommodate these innovations. Redhill will soon be seeing a brand new optimised learning space through our Reggio Emilia-based Early Learning Centre. Set for completion in 2024, we can’t wait to see the new space and the wonders that our littlest learners will create within it. We also look forward to building our new innovation hub (iHub) in 2023/4 which will feature cutting edge technology in a communal space for optimised collaboration and creativity.