2020 was a hard year for education. It was a year of strife for everyone involved: students, parents, teachers, administrators. But it was also a year of extreme growth.
According to a report curated by Promethean, 40% of schools now identify technology implementation as a top priority. 8 in 10 educators say technology should be a core part of learning. By some estimates, Covid-19 has forced schools to adopt technology ten years ahead of schedule.
It’s been clunky and painful. Parents across the nation have faced an impossible task of juggling work while managing their children’s at-home remote learning. Educators were suddenly responsible to find meaningful ways to connect with their students through virtual platforms. But, from all of this there is a ray of hope. Education is changing. This advancement in education technology has equipped many schools with a way to connect with a young generation already well-versed in the world of technology.
All of that said, I think it’s fair to say that most would like to avoid a repeat of 2020. We’re all looking for stability and security. How can we take the best of what was learned in 2020 and leave the rest behind? Here are three ways we can all work to make 2021 a great year for students, parents and educators alike.
1. Investment into New Learning Techniques
If 2020 taught us anything, it’s that learning comes in many forms. Remote learning will likely play a role in 2021, but the technology continues to improve and teachers continue to get better at their craft over a new platform.
One way teachers and schools will create impact for their students is through unique learning techniques and opportunities. While these solutions have been around for a while, 2020 has illustrated the importance of diversified learning.
Companies like Defined Learning and Uncharted Learning are leading the charge with innovative programming. Defined Learning focuses on project-based and career-based learning, to give students tangible experiences that help create a path for their futures. Uncharted Learning focuses on creating a space to cultivate entrepreneurship within the classroom.
Finding new ways to help students learn and grow will be critical in 2021, and technology adoption has made it possible for students across the nation to access unique programs like these.
2. Investment into Mental Health and Wellness
2020 caught us all off guard. It’s no secret that people across the globe have been struggling on an emotional level. The stress and pressure plaguing adults has also had an enormous impact on children.
It will be critical for educators to have the mental health support they need – both for themselves and when supporting their students. Companies like Calm have curated resources to help educators in the classroom. Happy Teacher Revolution aims to change the narrative with their mission to support the mental health and wellness of education professionals.
Before students can be supported in the classroom, educators must have a healthy foundation. Teach.com has 50 excellent resources to help teachers and school staff alike. 2020, while a challenging year, has taught us the importance of supporting our educators not only with technology solutions, but through mental health and wellness support as well.
3. Investment into New Fundraising Tactics
Schools need money. Public, private, charter – doesn’t matter. They all need money to support important initiatives. The most obvious need in 2021 will be technology solutions. The hybrid model will undoubtedly continue into the new year, thus continued investment into technology will be critical.
E-learning technology is far from the only need that schools will face in 2021, however. Despite the hybrid model, schools will still need to move forward with security plans that have been a top priority over the last five years. This often requires an investment into new tools, equipment, and technology. Badge Messenger is a great example of innovative technology designed to keep school safe.
2020 hit many households hard from an economic standpoint. Families will need the support of their schools and communities to afford things like school supplies to help their child thrive. Schools will need help in maintaining programs and clubs not deemed absolutely essential. All in all, there will be great need across the nation.
One role that PTAs and PTOs often play is to fundraise on behalf of their schools. In the past, fundraising has often relied on in-person events and door-to-door sales. 2020 and Covid-19 deeply impacted PTA/PTO’s ability to raise money for their schools. In 2021, it will be crucial for PTAs/PTOs to explore new, innovative ways of fundraising.
Some of the more successful remote fundraising include things like:
- Virtual 5K: Companies like Run Signup offer a way for schools to organize virtual 5K fundraisers. Virtual 5Ks are a great way to get families involved at a distance, while still raising critical dollars.
- School Spirit Items: Selling yard signage, flags, mailbox and window decals, and other school-branded decor is a great way to engage parents and give them a way to show school spirit from home.
- School Supply Kits: This is where Impacks comes in! We set up customized school supply kits (per grade/per school) that parents can buy at a competitive price. At check out, parents have the option to donate, and we’ll match the first $5. This is an easy way to raise money that requires little-to-no effort on the part of school administration or PTA/PTO.
2021 Will Be a Great Year
It’s easy to look at 2021 and set an expectation that it will be a continuation of 2020. It doesn’t have to be that way, however. Will there be challenges? Undoubtedly. But attitude is everything. Ultimately, what matters most is that our children receive a quality education. If we want that to happen, we have to believe 2021 can be better, and we have to work hard to make sure it is.
All of us at Impacks are rooting for you. We’ll be doing our part to make this year amazing, and we hope you will too!