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3 big predictions for K12 education in 2017

By Ken Stoflet, Communications Specialist

What will change in 2017? What will stay the same? Where is education heading? As 2016 comes to an end, we’ve put our heads together and made three big predictions for K12 education in 2017.


1. Personalized learning and more flexibility for demonstrating mastery

“We’re likely to see more policy makers at the state and local levels follow New Hampshire’s lead and experiment with policies that support more personalized, mastery-based approaches to learning. For several years, New Hampshire has been implementing a model that permits multiple pathways to showing mastery/competency in key skills to meet requirements for graduation, as opposed to relying solely on seat time and/or high-stakes assessments. The early reviews on New Hampshire’s approach as well as similar approaches are generally positive. That trend plus a new federal education department that is likely to devolve more power to states means we should expect more states to follow suit with these innovative, mastery-based approaches.” – Eric Stickney, Director of Educational Research

“The term ‘personalized learning’ continues to be a buzzword in the industry. While educators would love to give every student their own individual, custom-created learning experience, they face the realities of managing large classes with many competing demands on their time and resources. Providing automated personalization for consumers, like music recommendations in Spotify, will provide models that education providers will adopt. As students experience this in their personal lives, they will expect it in their learning experiences.” – Sally Searby, VP, Strategic Partnerships


2. Technology will continue to have an increased impact on education

“Engagement will be measured by the extent of social interactions rather than ‘time on screen.’ Brick and mortar schools will leverage technology, and vice versa, to promote productive social interactions that will not only deepen content knowledge through discourse and collaboration but will develop 21st-century skills for a future workforce. We predict that best teaching practices will continue migrating towards social models, strengthened by advancing technology and enabled by brick and mortar schools.” – Ruby Hogen-Chin, Director – Product Management

“With hands-on, eye-to-eye opportunities for training, conferences, and seminars, education will embrace the REALITY of mobile collaboration, whole-group and small-group conferencing, and interactive online meetings. The possibilities of adapting this format to Renaissance® events was recently seen at a three-day Virtual Winter Academy for consultants. Discussion thrived; questions were resolved through the chat feature; hands-on activities included co-annotation in the software; and the visual connection with colleagues made it REAL. This innovation will influence the future of professional development in education!” – Cheryl Ballou, Associate Education Officer


3. More vivid, visual, dynamic student data

“Educators’ thinking about data has shifted from data as the determiner, as in ‘data-driven decision making’ to data as the fuel for teachers to determine which decisions are appropriate to accelerate learning. In a recent meeting (Renaissance 12/08/16), Dylan Wiliam took that one step further to say that moving from ‘data driven’ to ‘data fueled’ still places educators as the recipient of data-based decisions. Wiliam suggests that we flip the equation to place teachers at the forefront of decisions through a process he calls, ‘decision-driven data collection.’ Educators determine what they need to know about learners to provide the most effective pathway to academic achievement. Based on what they need to know, they seek the most informative data set to gather insight.” – Jan Bryan, VP, National Education Officer


What are your predictions for 2017? How will your classroom change? How will it stay the same? Share your thoughts in the comments below! And stay updated on all-things-Renaissance by subscribing to the Renaissance newsletter.

Ken Stoflet, Communications Specialist
Ken Stoflet, Communications Specialist
Ken Stoflet is the communications specialist at Renaissance. He has been with the company since 2015 and can be found crafting anything from a press release to a tweet. In his spare time, Ken enjoys spending time with his friends, lifting, and making trips to the Frozen Tundra to cheer on the Green Bay Packers.


  1. Lloyd says:

    Hopefully I can implement more time on screen reading and writing activities as my student start the transition to middle school and are at a 1-1 chrome book location.

  2. Carly says:

    New computers arrived in my class right before the holiday break, which means my students will have more practice opportunities with on-line programs like AM that are tailored to meet individual needs while providing me with data I require to better support those needs.

  3. Natalie Hardegree says:

    I use technology and data to drive my instruction

  4. Renee Graham says:

    I hope my second graders will be ready for more independent activities. I hope to be able to put them in groups and allow them to conduct book clubs and research projects.

  5. Dvawn Maza says:

    Hopefully, the 2017 year will bring more focus on the needs of the students and meeting them where they are at academically.

  6. Sarah Swanzy says:

    I plan to incorporate more technology into my lessons this year.

  7. Nancy says:

    i like the idea of interactive online meetings…esp with Renaissance Learning. I’d like to be more data fueled.

  8. P R says:

    I predict instruction moving to more personalized computer use instruction to make students ready for the 21st century work skills and/or college readiness.

    At my school, we use data to engage our students in lessons to enhance the required curriculum guidelines. I expect that process to continue.

    I would like to see the classroom size in the upper elementary grades (4-5) decreased like the primary grades (k-3) were decreased so that individualization in student educational progress can be managed more successfully.

  9. Paul Brooks says:

    I think this year is going to bring a host of accountability issues. Yes, the plans and tools are needed–but will (are) they going to be used?

  10. Melissa Robles says:

    I will definitely be incorporating more technology this year through a technology center that will be available to our students.

  11. Jennifer Slade says:

    Continuing on my journey to become NBCT, so preparing my students for many great things as we show what we can do!

  12. Emily says:

    The technology I have will work more consistently!! My smartboard pens will work when I need them—not just when the IT guy comes in!!

  13. Rita Platt says:

    These predictions are in line with current trends.

  14. David Keech says:

    Effective mining and application of data is something that will continue to grow and improve education. It remains to be seen if the Trump administration will tinker/throw out Common Core, which has coordinated and structured curriculum and the accompanying data that schools gather and use to develop and improve instruction. What will take the place of CC if this happens? How will this impact education across the country?

  15. Redeana Smith says:

    Hopefully the New Year will bring adequate technology that is needed in classrooms in order to personalize learning more effectively and make decision-driven data collection more efficient and user-friendly.

  16. Sheila Shaffer says:

    I recently completed a webinar with Dr. George Batsche who said something along the lines of most school districts that collect data collect data to “admire it” while very few collect data to utilize it in problem-solving. I know my district needs to stop admiring and start utilizing its data, at least at anything lower than the high school level.

  17. Amber says:

    Hopefully our schools will achieve a 1 to 1 ratio with devices, so that we can effectively use features such as Google classroom.

  18. Chimere McRae says:

    Technology is here to stay. Google Classroom has been in our district as well as Discovery Education.

  19. Timtohy says:

    I hope to increase digital reading, but still keep some reading and work done in paper and pencil.

  20. Donna Nichols says:

    We are using our media center to bring more technology opportunities to our students by creating and helping teachers implement lessons using our makers space.

  21. Melissa says:

    I always embrace change in the classroom. I think all students want to have something new and different to utilize in the classroom. Students in our district are completing daily assignments and assessments on the computer as early as 3rd grade. I would like for students to transition from 2nd to 3rd feeling confident in understanding basic concepts of a computer. This would be my big change for 2017.

  22. Virginia D. Wiedenfeld, M.Ed. says:

    Great points presented for educators to think about and implement! Utilizing an individualized student learning plan, technology and data will make education more efficient!

  23. Kelsie says:

    I am really looking forward to what 2017 brings to education. Technology is so important in our school. Before school let out for break we updates all computers in the school and purchased new ipads to make it 1 to 1 ipad for students.

  24. Laura Shultz says:

    Technology is making teaching easier and more challenging all the time.

  25. Darlene Duncan says:

    We are lucky to have a lot of technology in our school but it constantly changes. I hope the schools can afford to keep up with the changes. Also, many students do not have internet at home so it makes it difficult to use technology for outside assignments. That sometimes hinders the learning to some extent.

  26. Virginia Travis says:

    I hope to have a more technology driven classroom. Also more individualized student learning plans.

  27. Johari Curtis says:

    We utilize Chromebooks for a lot of the programs we use through technology. But we have to stay vigilent and make sure everybody is following directions, staying on task, and on the approved, appropriate sites.

  28. Donna Close says:

    What is going to be done for the low income schools that serve low income families in low income communities?! Many do not yet have much access to technology. As an NBPTS teacher I taught in an inner city school where we wrote grants and begged for funding from businesses to get access to some kinds of technology. Technology centers were established in some buildings while others were bypassed! ALL children need access to technology not just a privileged few. Low income children especially need to match visual moving images with audio and printed material. If the low income already underserved children are left out of the implementation of this new philosophy the separation in the data level of mastery of skills will only widen!