3 Can’t Miss Highlights from the K-12 Horizon Report

Written by Mike Oswalt on January 11, 2018

For fifteen years, the annual K-12 Horizon Report has served as a cornerstone document for many school districts. Created by New Media Consortium (NMC) in partnership with the Consortium for School Networking (CoSN), the report has been used by leaders to establish their district goals and plans relative to educational technology, while identifying trends in the short term (one year or less), midterm (2-3 years) and long term (4-5 years).

The 2017 report includes highlights of emerging trends as well as challenges that schools should consider, some of which the report labels as “wicked.”

Among the many illuminating insights and examples of best practices are three highlights from the report that can be great discussion starters in your school district (and promote a deeper dive into the wealth of information contained in the report):

Measuring Learning
In order to better understand a student’s learning needs, the issue of measuring a student’s learning using data visualization needs to be addressed. Not only are individual insights into a student’s learning required to inform instruction and lesson planning, but they are also needed for the holistic purposes in helping school district leaders to make broader organizational decisions. These decisions range from school improvement planning, resource allocation, and professional development priorities.

Achievement Gap
This “wicked challenge” as labeled in the report is a complex challenge to define and address. Understanding the gaps in achievement amongst student groups is a critical area that school leaders must investigate to ensure learning is occurring for all students. This goes beyond just the level of proficiency on core subjects and includes understanding the contributing factors that impact learning. It’s important to understand what factors certain student groups may face and remove those barriers to learning.

Rethinking the Role of the Teacher
This “difficult challenge” as the report calls it identifies the need for teachers to not just focus on literacy, but collaborate with their colleagues to “address social and emotional factors affecting student learning, mentor students, model responsible global citizenship, and motivate students to adopt lifelong learning habits.” For this to happen, professional development for teachers must include time to collaborate with others as they learn to explore available tools designed to help address the expanding focus. This includes helping them learn to gather, identify and analyze student data in order to co-design interventions for kids that are struggling.

It’s also important to ensure that professional development for teachers is individualized rather than “sit and get” format. Students are being given devices and learning opportunities that help focus their learning activities on exactly what is needed. Shouldn’t it be the same for teachers?

How Illuminate Education Can Help
These three highlighted areas from the 2017 K-12 Horizon Report are key focus points in most school districts. Whether looking to measure learning, address the achievement gap, or rethink the role of the teacher, Illuminate is a valuable partner for school districts. Illuminate DnA, combined with student screeners and progress monitoring tools such as those found in FastBridge Learning (an official Illuminate partner), can help quickly identify students’ needs and inform instruction. By identifying students who are not achieving proficiency, and using Illuminate DnA to compare other variables such as socioeconomic status, race, ethnicity, gender, or program participation, patterns may begin to emerge that allow for initiatives to be established to address programmatic areas that need improvement. From visualizing data through daily formative assessments, to gaining insights from data trends, Illuminate’s Education Intelligence Platform is helping educators meet this purported three-to-five year trends today.

The full report can be found at https://www.nmc.org/publication/nmccosn-horizon-report-2017-k-12-edition/.  

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Illuminate Education is a provider of educational technology and services offering innovative data, assessment and student information solutions. Serving K-12 schools, our cloud-based software and services currently assist more than 1,600 school districts in promoting student achievement and success.

Ready to discover your one-stop shop for your district’s educational needs? Let’s talk.

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