It is true that the academe has been quite slow to innovate. Today, when progress and innovation seem to be taken for granted, too many educational establishments remain in the twentieth century when it comes to curriculum and teaching methods. Yet, even the most old-school (literally) approaches cannot resist the steady pace of time. More and more schools adopt new techniques, search for creative ways to make the tech work for our benefit, and develop strategies that are best for the students. Here are just five of the most impressive innovations in education from all around the globe.
3D learning in the United Arab Emirates
How cool it is to study complex subjects with the help of 3D technology? The answer is — absolutely amazing! All you need is a pair of 3D glasses, and you can take a look at the image of the human brain, the model of the universe, or the insides of a jet. And the cost of such pleasures is getting lower and lower every day. Right now, only GEM Modern Academy in Dubai is practicing this approach, but there is reason to believe that many other schools will soon follow in their footsteps. No more boring maps or outdated projectors — an approach like this can revolutionize the way any subject, from history to geography, is taught.
Teacher and curriculum autonomy in Finland
Finland has the strongest educational system in the world. The mere fact that 93% of its students graduate from high school (the highest percentage in the world, 17.5% higher than in the US) says a lot. Teacher autonomy is probably one of the major reasons why students perform so well. Differently from the majority of educational establishments, Finland has moved past the standardized testing, limiting the number of tests to a minimum. In addition, the teachers are not expected to stick to a standard curriculum, which allows talented professionals adjust to their students’ needs on the go. And, of course, it keeps gifted teachers teaching — another problem many countries have been struggling with for years.
Individualized learning plans in the Netherlands
A similar approach has been adopted by Finland’s neighbor, the Netherlands. Right now, there are still a few schools that practice this approach, but hopefully, the number will increase in time. Today, there is definitely one Netherlands school that attracts the most attention — and that is Steve Jobs School in Amsterdam. The institution lives up to its name and practices the ‘think differently’ approach. There is very little homework, very little testing, and no grades whatsoever. The system is designed to allow all kids study at their own pace.
While a lot of educational establishments practice similar approaches (to a certain extent, at least), very few junior schools start with freedom and creativity so early in the curriculum. Even in modern colleges, there are still a lot of obligatory subjects that force applicants to struggle on compare and contrast essay topics for college students, submit countless tests, and waste time on subjects they have zero interest in. The Netherlands seem to be solving this problem — for good.
Free university education in Germany
Even though a lot of countries practice grants for the most talented students, Germany went even farther than that and did away with tuition fees whatsoever. The decision makes up for an entirely free higher education system, and the best part is — not only Germans, but any other citizens can make full use of it. Sure, the absence of any tuition costs has a downside (well, sort of). German universities consist mainly of classroom buildings and libraries — no gyms, pools, or free campus rooms for the students. But, given that a year of education costs about $25 thousands in the US, the money you save can cover any additional expenses associated with education.
Embracing the dangerous side of creativity in the US
Do not try to repeat it at home — we’ve seen this warning in movies and ads for quite some time now. Well, students at Brightworks, San Francisco, will not have to! This school truly embraces the dangerous side of creativity, allowing kids to play with fire, get dirty, and do lots of other projects modern-day children are deprived of. Needless to say, such workshops are supervised; still, they offer kids a chance to explore a different side of life — and even if it sometimes gets dirty, it does not make it any less fun.
Those are only some of the most inspiring innovations introduced in the developed countries with strong economies. However, there is plenty of promise in the developing world, too. One should separately mention remote English teaching in South Korea, strengthened education plans in Cuba, massive school modernization in Latin America — the list goes on. Bottom line, one can state that the educational system finally seems to be exploring new paths, which brings ever more promise for our new generations.
About the Author: Kevin is a professional educator and a private tutor with over 8 years of experience. He is also a content writer for various blogs about higher education, entertainment, social media & blogging. During his off time, Kevin enjoys traveling and cooking. Feel free to connect with him on Twitter, Linkedin & Google+.