Special Report
School & District Management

10 Game-Changing Ideas in Education

By The Editors — January 10, 2018 2 min read

We went looking for big ideas in K-12 schooling: trends, disruptions, practices, or technologies that could help solve some of the field’s biggest challenges.

Here’s the result: 10 innovative ideas from researchers, educators, scientists, and advocates that could make a difference to those on the frontlines of K-12 education. Some of the problems they address are as old as public schooling itself; others have a new and growing sense of urgency.

Presented in no particular order, they are meant to stir conversation or prompt you to think about your work in a new way.

Let us know what you think or if we missed any by tweeting us, using #K12BigIdeas.

No. 1: Memory is the key to student engagement.

Bestselling authors (and brothers) Chip Heath and Dan Heath argue that “peak moments” capture “delight,” offering “a different kind of learning that sticks with students and motivates them to succeed.” Read more.

No. 2: Tackle the teacher-diversity problem. Re-examine teacher preparation.

Teacher-prep programs need to reconsider their practices, and they could learn a lot from minority-serving institutions, writes Cassandra Herring, founder of BranchED and the former ed. school dean at Hampton University. Read more.

No. 3: Stop expecting parents to engage without showing them how.

Parents don’t always know how to advocate for their child’s education. EdNavigator’s Whitney Henderson, the child of a single mom, is working to change that. Read more.

No. 4: There’s a tech solution to creating a master schedule.

A school’s master schedule can take months to build and can contribute to education inequities. Adam Pisoni, a Silicon Valley entrepreneur, has a better way. Read more.

No. 5: Students don’t need grades.

It’s time to reimagine a classroom where students are driven by curiosity rather than a score, writes educator and author Mark Barnes. Read more.

No. 6: School districts can dramatically reduce student homelessness.

To tackle student homelessness, schools must tap into their broader community’s resources, writes Colorado’s state coordinator for homeless education. Read more.

No. 7: Bridge the gap between mindset research and practice.

The research behind growth mindset and grit is familiar to many educators, but when misrepresented, can be harmful. The executive director of the Mindset Scholars Network explains. Read more.

No. 8: Fight the Opioid Epidemic at Its Source.

The strain that a crisis of addiction places on schools will continue—unless we break the cycle. Todd Hembree, attorney general of the Cherokee Nation, took dramatic action to stem the flow of opioids into his community. Read more.

No. 9: Artificial Intelligence is on the rise. Schools have a role to play.

What do educators need to know to prepare students for the future of artificial intelligence? Two AI researchers from the Allen Institute get into it. Read more.

No. 10: Civics education is no longer just happening in the classroom.

To solve some of our biggest challenges, young people must be inspired to act, argues David Simas, the CEO of the Obama Foundation. Read more.

Bonus!

In addition to soliciting ideas, we also surveyed educators to see where they hear about trends and new ideas that could be worth pursuing in their classroom. Here are the results.

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