Growing Popularity of the Gap Year
It is no secret that students aspire to a college degree due to the broader employment opportunities and increased lifelong wages that come from it. However, not all millennials view going to college with the same urgency as in the past. As an education-focused investment bank, we are seeing an emerging trend among students to take a break (typically one year) from academics to pursue other interests.
Teaching Teachers – State of Professional Development
Did you know an overwhelming majority of teachers believe professional development is ineffective in its current form? Studies show teachers consider professional development programs to be largely irrelevant and out of touch with the core focus of their work, which is to educate students. Teacher feedback suggests that programs are slow to adapt to the ever-changing nature of their profession, particularly when it comes to incorporating modern technology and learning tools in the classroom. Historically, teachers have been given little ability to personalize their professional development learning plan, which has ultimately resulted in many viewing professional development as nothing more than a compliance exercise.
A Classroom Without Walls
Imagine if you could learn about a solar eclipse by experiencing it from outer space. Today, this is becoming a reality for some students, or at least a virtual reality.
Augmented Reality (“AR”), Virtual Reality (“VR”) and Mixed Reality (“MR”) (collectively known as “xR”) technologies are being leveraged to create out-of-this-world, or even out-of-this-time experiences in numerous settings, including the classroom. As an education investment bank, we are consistently asked by investors to help them understand the different technologies at play. AR is an emerging technology that uses a smart device’s camera to overlay digital aspects onto the real world (think Pokémon GO). VR creates an immersive, new digital environment, typically by using a wearable headset. MR is a combination of AR and VR that involves overlaying holographic images onto the real world using a headset or glasses. While xR has been around for decades, its applications in the classroom are just beginning to turn heads.
A Cost-Effective Route to Employment
Is a bachelor degree worth the cost? The rising cost of higher education in connection with increasing student debt levels continues to garner both public and political attention. There is greater scrutiny of traditional colleges and universities as well as growing pressure to demonstrate their value proposition to students. As the post-secondary market continues to face headwinds, new tuition models in education have evolved, are gaining momentum and producing exceptional results.
How Flipped Classrooms are Challenging Traditional Learning Environments
Technology has always been a driving factor in revolutionizing the learning experience. The printing press allowed for the mass production of books, the abacus can arguably be considered the first calculation device, and where would we be today without the calculator?
While classrooms have certainly come a long way since one-room school houses, the traditional instruction model has remained the same for over a century – teachers lecture in class, and students complete their homework outside of class. However, with the increased availability and use of technology, educators are beginning to defy the traditional classroom model.
Corporations Stepping Into the Education Void
More and more, MHT Partners’ education investment banking team notices corporations increasing internal training capabilities for existing employees and accepting alternative credentials vs. traditional college degrees when hiring new employees, citing the slow pace of change within the U.S. education system, most notably higher education. Not only is slow change an issue among U.S. higher education, but the number of students and graduates is decreasing. Since 2011, the number of students enrolled in higher education has declined by 2.6 million.
The New Normal: Digital Disruption in the Classroom
Gone are the days of dusty chalkboards, mechanical pencil sharpeners and black Mead composition notebooks. In fact, the modern classroom is no longer just limited to SMART boards and projectors. Personal tablets, interactive LCD screens and Chromebooks – just to name a few – are all products on the rise in the 21st century classroom.
The statistics say it all: 76% of teachers believe digital content will replace traditional textbooks within the next 10 years, and 86% of students say they use the internet for schoolwork while at school. Digitalization is undoubtedly revitalizing the classroom and enhancing the learning experience not only for students, but also for teachers.
Going Beyond the Scores . . . a Continuation from Last Week’s “Learning Curves” Post
While it was once typical for American students to matriculate into college only after earning their high school diploma, students nowadays receive their first taste of university as early as their freshman year of high school. Duel Enrollment (“DE”) programs allow students to take college-level courses that can generate both high school and college credits. DE programs have seen a significant bump in popularity since the early 2000s (67% growth from 2002 to nearly 1.4 million students in 2010), as students’ awareness of the potential cost savings and desire to add rigor to their standard high school studies grows.
Going Beyond the Scores
Approximately 2.7 million high school students took 4.9 million Advanced Placement (“AP”) exams this past May(1). Millions are investing hundreds of hours into classes and paying $93 per AP exam in the hope of 1) gaining college-level credit without paying the university price, 2) bolstering college admissions applications with high scores, and 3) boosting high school GPAs with added AP weighting. With 86% of the top 153 colleges and universities restricting AP credit use(2) and college admissions officers saying ‘it depends’ for impact on acceptance, millions of students and parents are left wondering if the extra preparation is truly worth the effort.
Post-Grad Outcomes Driving Change in Coding Academies
As an education investment bank providing advisory services to both entrepreneurs and financial sponsors, MHT and its education advisory team are consistently asked about investment opportunities in STEM-related fields, specifically coding. While opportunities exist for investors to acquire coding bootcamps, the number of providers has decreased as graduate outcomes become a large factor in determining the success of many bootcamps.