As we enter the much-needed holiday break in districts across the country, we’re also marking the half-way point of our first “normal” academic year since the pandemic. There’s no denying this school year has been a particularly challenging one for educators, as they continue to rebuild all that was disrupted during COVID, and reestablish a sense of routine and normalcy in their classrooms. Teachers have exerted an incredible amount of time and emotional energy over the previous two years working to ensure students' needs were being met, and while we’ve all learned a lot since Spring 2020, it’s clear most educators and administrators are still trying to figure out how to best move forward in an effective, meaningful and successful way.
The impact of students being out of school for such an extended time has created many educational challenges that are even more evident this year, as teachers work to welcome students back to the rigors of a face-to-face learning environment, while also maintaining support for hybrid and remote learning opportunities. This delicate and often draining balancing act has been taxing for teachers, students and families, as we all continue to figure out the best way forward. We EdTech providers have been riding the wave right along with the schools we serve, and at Instructure, we’re very cognizant of the need to be part of the solution rather than one more thing on a teacher’s plate. That’s why we’ve worked hard to engage with our customers, prioritize their feedback, and provide support where it really matters, and as we enter a new calendar year, we’re excited to build on that commitment.
What Can We Expect for K-12 Education in 2023?
We’ve all come a long way in hybrid and remote learning since the pandemic. EdTech providers are more in-tune with the needs of educators, what works, and what doesn’t, while educators are more aware of what their needs are, and how to make EdTech work for them. Certainly, there are more remote and hybrid learning tools out there than when we first started this journey, but schools are also more savvy about what tech they want and need, and how to best use it to their advantage.
In 2023, we think districts will continue to evaluate the efficacy of the technology purchasing decisions that were made during the pandemic, more so than we saw in 2022. We expect districts to focus even more on streamlining and optimizing the usage of their purchasing decisions and invest in products that clearly demonstrate positive outcomes for users - More quality over quantity.
As far as emerging trends in 2023, we believe integration and accessibility will be key in the coming year. At Instructure, our customers are telling us what they value the most is the ability to integrate the tools they are using in a way that provides easy access for students and high-quality, actionable information for teachers that will allow them to better support students.
We think this is a really interesting time for EdTech, as many of the barriers to accessing technology for teachers and students have been removed. The opportunity for schools to innovate around that technology will be an ongoing challenge for educators in 2023 and beyond, but it will also present opportunities for EdTech providers as well. We believe the biggest trends will come from places that put an emphasis on student learning, engagement, wellbeing, and information that helps educators better meet the needs of their students on a complete level.
Advice for Educators and Administrators in 2023
We know teachers and administrators are fatigued, it’s been a long, unrelenting road these last two years, but we also know the dedicated professionals who do this job are born to do it. Our customers are the most passionate people on the planet, and we’re proud to provide them with tools to help them succeed in their integral and ever-important roles as educators. So, as we look ahead to a new calendar year, and the second half of this impactful academic year, we share this advice:
Focus on impact. While we know the last year has been particularly challenging for teachers, we can’t ignore that many of our students are still behind and need additional support, and as daunting as it may be, they’re looking to you to give it to them. Technology is here to help provide that support, and while it may not be everyone’s favorite teaching tool, EdTech can be one of your most engaging and impactful resources for reaching those students in need… but only if it works. According to Instructure’s 2022 State of Teaching and Learning in K-12 Education, 58 percent of educators have a more positive opinion towards online learning than before the emergence of COVID-19, and we’re here to help the other 42 percent of you get more confident, comfortable and efficient with the available tools, as we partner to provide a better learning experience. We know that supporting the development of teachers and administrators as they integrate new technology is critical to any successful adoption and use. At Instructure, we believe EdTech should improve outcomes for teachers and students, not burden them, and we remain focused on that standard, as we work to improve existing tools and create new ones.
We are excited to head into the second half of the school year alongside educators, administrators and students across the country, and we hope 2023 is a year of elevating student engagement and success, supporting our teachers in tech, and improving and learning together.
About the author
Trenton Goble is the VP of K-12 Strategy at Instructure