10 Terms to Keep Up with Educational Innovation

You are a devoted teacher or tutor that bends over backwards to keep up with your profession. But admit it, when it comes to educational innovation, you may be driven to bewilderment. Perhaps when you listen to or read about educational gurus, you find yourself feeling small and miserable, struggling to understand half of the acronyms and jargon without having to rely on Google.

Well, today is your lucky day! We bring you the final glossary –along with our expert opinions— so you can say “goodbye” to the days of looking like a fool at educational events and conferences. Let’s have fun and embrace this trend that is leading us to the future at a dizzying speed.

    • STEM. As cool and grand as it may sound, STEM is actually an acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. It refers to the group of disciplines that scientists and engineers put into practice, which should be taught in a comprehensive or interdisciplinary way. Luckily, a recent addition, “A” for the “Arts”, has modified STEM to an even cooler term: STEAM. Someone must have eventually realized that scientists and engineers are not the only professions in the world. Musicians, cinematographers, artists and writers play key roles as well.
    • PBL. Project-based learning: a methodology focused on presenting students with a real-world problem they should solve, enabling to learn concepts and simultaneously develop certain skills and competencies that are equally important. PBL is a blessing in disguise. If you take advantage of this opportunity and ask your students to design a system that can couple your socks or select best retirement plan, not only will the experience benefit their learning experience, but your work will be cut out for you!
    • Flipped Learning. This method consists of transferring part of the learning process out of the classroom and using the time in class for students to develop more complex cognitive processes. Flipped learning requires less interaction between the teacher and each student. Essentially, outside of class students step into your shoes, and during the class you assign them tasks. This is the perfect time for you to be just a little lethargic on the job. We know you have been waiting for this for ages!
    • BYOD. This is terrific! It stands for “bring your own device”. Students are invited to bring and use their cell phones, tablets and computers in class, so that they can work with them both at school and from home. Are you tired of those school devices failing and wasting your time? Your prayers have been answered… by Satan. Be prepared to solve problems with 20 different devices, meaning 20 different operating systems, in the hands of 20 highly motivated kids.
    • Design Thinking. This is an active teaching-learning methodology that serves to create innovative ideas for solving the real needs of the environment while developing 21st century skills or key competencies. It’s something like PBL for even lazier teachers: leave it to your students to look for a problem to solve.
    • Mindfulness. The trendy meditation: a practice for training how to focus on what’s happening now and here by restricting interference of thoughts or emotions. This is commonly known as “paying attention”, but with a hint of Buddhism and marketing. Mindfulness is the perfect solution for your students –especially the ones who nod off or constantly stare out the window!
    • MOOC. An acronym for Massive Open Online Courses, which of course sounds way cooler than simply saying “online course”. “Massive open” implies that there is not a limit of participants, and more importantly everyone of age can register. Yes, even you.
    • CLIL. Acronym for Content and Language Integrated Learning, an applied linguistic trend that promotes the idea of combining learning a foreign language with another core academic subject. This is what international schools practice by teaching, for instance, Science in Spanish, so that students learn common subject-specific vocabulary in another language. Soon enough, you will hear them spitting terms like as “pistil” or “sternocleidomastoid”. What a vision, right?!
    • ELL / ESL. This is an important one! ELL and ESL are the acronyms that stand for English Language Learners and English as a Second Language, respectively. ELL refers to the teaching practices with an educational curriculum tailored to those who are non-native English speakers (which is a massive group in the United States). ESL focuses on specific assistance programs for learning English. Both have the commendable mission of enforcing the No Child Left Behind Act, aimed at allowing all students succeed at school.
    • AR / VR. Augmented Reality / Virtual Reality. These are quite self-explanatory, so if you still need some definitions, you must really be lost. Augmented reality adds objects generated by computers to a reality, for instance Pokemons. This technology is great! It has been proven that if you can maneuver your way around the tools so that your students can see a 3D human body in their tablets, the entire class is bound to pass. Meanwhile, virtual reality is technology that recreates an entirely new reality, including the simulation of sight and hearing. This is every teacher’s dream. Just imagine it! You will not have to go to all of those cultural on-site excursions packed with teenagers anymore.

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