In the last few years, there has been a significant movement in the educational field to question and innovate teaching methods and materials that have become outdated. Programs such as the University of Wisconsin-Superior’s online Master of Science in Education (MSE) — Instruction program aim to help educators, instructional coordinators, instructional coaches, training and development managers, corporate trainers and other professionals learn to apply those innovative teaching strategies and techniques in practice. With a focus on Wisconsin teaching standards and offering substantial flexibility, the course can “[p]repare for numerous traditional and non-traditional teaching roles while you learn on your own schedule.”
Instructional Technology Trends
A major trend, which inevitably rose in popularity during the pandemic, is incorporating technology in the classroom. In an article for EdTech, Alexandra Frost states that “in 2022, we saw trends in schools integrating artificial intelligence, cloud technology permeating apps and data centers, smarter cybersecurity and more asynchronous learning. And while these technologies continue to impact the learning landscape, tech companies, IT leaders and forward-thinking schools are taking it a step further in 2023.” The author points out that schools have been more open to changes that technology brings, from adopting esports into their curricula to using AI-based security screenings.
Perhaps the most significant change is what Frost calls the “untethered classroom,” a way of having multiple displays and devices spread throughout the classroom space, making the lecture more dynamic as the teacher and students move about. UW-Superior’s Trends in Curricular and Instructional Practices course introduces educators to many of these new tools available to them, as well as those predicted to become popular in the next few years.
Using Research to Improve Education
Another interesting aspect of the online MSE – Instruction program is the Action Research Project course. The course has a hands-on approach to the topic of research — through data collection and analysis and the evaluation of a plan of action, it culminates in implementing a project addressing the current needs in education. As per the course description, it “[e]mphasizes research methodology and topics specific to the field of education. Students develop an action research project surrounding educational issues in a classroom, program, or site through a single subject design (in quantitative, qualitative, or mixed methods).” This is a necessary step in an educator’s professional journey because one of the current trends in education is personalizing the educational experience, which is only possible through collecting specific data.
Different Learning Models Increase Student Accessibility and Agency
As author Andrew Bauld writes in XQ, this kind of personalized learning “takes a holistic approach to education by giving students control over what material they learn and how they learn it. In this model, student interest drives learning; therefore, it looks slightly different in every classroom.” Also known as student-centered learning, it is a more interdisciplinary procedure focusing on individual interests and strengths. The success of this method (which isn’t a method per se, as it is quite individualized, as noted by Bauld) comes from the fact that the hierarchy in the classroom is “flipped,” as students take control of their studies. Electives such as Interactive and Accessible Learning in Alternative Delivery Models and Current Developments in Student Learning and Their Applications support this path.
Bias and Diversity in the Classroom
Lastly, all technology and teaching methods would be ineffective without discussing biases and diversity. Researchers have increasingly been pointing out that a pupil’s cultural background, as well as their race, class and gender, can affect their learning needs and skills. The elective course Diversity Exploration in a K-12 takes on the critical challenge of looking into this difficult topic and invites educators to examine the inequities and inequalities within their classrooms and how to bridge these gaps.
UW-Superior’s online MSE – Instruction program provides a thorough education for students interested in relevant practices and trends in teaching.