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College and career readiness predictions for 2016

4 min read

Career-Technical Education

This month, SmartBlog on Education shines a light on reader trends, content roundups and expert forecasts for 2016. In the spirit of looking ahead, leaders of four ed-tech companies share predictions for the direction of college and career readiness in 2016.

SmartBrief Education’s Path to Workforce content series brings you original content and events on the topic. #Path2W is our vision of college and career readiness, encompassing K-12, adult learners, career changers, non-traditional students and those who forgo a traditional four-year college experience.

Michael Moody, CEO and founder of Insight Education Group

Now that data from the first few years of implementation and assessment is coming in, many districts are starting to realize that their first take on CCSS/CCRS implementation just hasn’t been deep enough. Truly effective implementation requires a clear vision and thoughtful, strategic actions aligned to that vision.

Evaluation systems, professional growth, coaching, etc., must all align and move in the same direction with the same intensity as CCRS. We also know in all of this work that utilizing technology will help people go further, faster—for example with video-based coaching.

However, technology can’t be seen as a silver bullet. It must instead be used as a tool to empower great teaching. In order to enact meaningful change and lasting growth, there needs to be more focused and intentional training of teachers, particularly around the content and high-quality instructional practices. So again, using video for content-specific coaching with content-area experts is a great example.

Perhaps most importantly, districts need to acknowledge that deep implementation of the standards is going to be hard work, and hard work that cannot happen overnight. CCRS implementation is a marathon, not a sprint. The first step is to be more thoughtful and strategic about the work ahead and why we are doing it in the first place — to prepare students for success.

Todd Brekhus, president of myON

I believe we will see an even more dramatic shift away from traditional models of ELA instruction and a greater expansion of digital and blended approaches to standards.

I would really like to see districts shift to digital and blended models of ELA instruction and use of digital resources that provide access to everyone. I would hope that districts challenge their models of buying hardware first. I would also hope that they would focus on a plan for comprehensive reading materials with digital supports, a community-wide literacy plan, a parent-engagement plan, and a shift in traditional ELA instruction. I believe districts will save incredible money in ELA by thinking of digital first when it comes to reading.

John Kreick, vice president of marketing at Odysseyware

Traditional classrooms and teaching that are lecture-based and static increasingly do not reflect the reality students experience outside of the classroom. Today’s learners grew up with technology and access to information that didn’t exist even two decades ago.

We see more and more districts moving to blended and virtual models with an emphasis on individualization and competency-based learning. We also see a lot more emphasis on career and technical education. We are seeing many districts already moving to address college and career readiness. Many are now offering students a choice of the particular learning pathway or pathways that they prefer while also making learning relevant by embedding real-world scenarios in the context of a larger goal.

Kevin Viau, CEO and founder of eDynamic Learning

Teaching students about different careers and helping them explore options will be a much larger part of the educational process. If students learn about what it takes to work in early childhood education, business or journalism at a younger age, they will be able to formulate opinions and decide on what they’d like to do earlier in their lives. College and career readiness shows students how to implement and use their 13 years of schooling and skills in a career, which some districts are catching on to.

There is a way to integrate college and career readiness into the Common Core, and I would like to see more schools rethinking the way they’ve always done things and putting students first again. With new and engaging curriculum supplements, students are learning without limits and exploring new careers every day.

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