So many times, in December and January, we tend to look back and reflect on a year that has been. Instead, I would like us to look ahead and project all that 2024 can and will be. We already know that the CollegeBoard has changed the PSAT and SAT to the new digital version which uses the BlueBook App. to administer. In Indiana, that means the digital SAT, which is the state’s accountability test, will be administered to all juniors either in the initial window March 4 – 15, 2024, or the make-up window April 8 – 19, 2024. If you haven’t familiarized yourself with the new digital SAT, you need to be doing so very soon. I will be at the East Central Education Service Center and Northern Indiana and Northwest Indiana Education Service Center in January giving professional development on the digital SAT. There will also be a free online PD opportunity in February for the digital SAT.
There will be so many wonderful and informative conferences for everyone to attend throughout 2024.
The Indiana S.T.E.M. Conference at Purdue University in January.
The Indiana Council of Teachers of Mathematics and Hoosier Association of Science Teachers Inc. Annual Conference in Indianapolis in February.
The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics Annual Meeting in September in Chicago, IL.
The Mathematics Association of American Annual Meeting in April at Marian University in Indianapolis.
There are usually the Summer of Learning Conference all over Indiana in June, July, and August.
The Mathematics Association of American MathFest in August in Indianapolis.
Districts, schools, and teachers will be updating their curriculum maps to align with the new math and science standards that were adopted in July 2023. You need to look at and evaluate your curriculum maps and see how up-to-date and effective they are for your course. This includes, not only making sure your curriculum is aligned with the new Indiana Academic Standards, but also the digital PSAT and SAT Assessments. The digital PSAT and SAT Assessments did not change what was being assessed when the academic standards changed. You can see exactly what will be assessed on the digital PSAT and SAT Assessments Reading and Writing modules here and the Math modules here. When you update your curriculum maps be sure to consider cross-curricular connections and mathematically rich problems to engage your students.
Another major consideration for 2024 is how are Districts and Schools going to use all the data they have available to make decisions. What kind of academic interventions are most useful and working the best? What classroom practices support high-growth learning opportunities? What data and how will it be used to identify gifted and talented students or ways to accelerate students in their access to higher level math and science classes? How are teachers using the data they gather from both formative and summative assessments effectively to promote students success? What interventions can teachers assure are in place to support struggling students? There are so many questions that need to be considered and addressed during this new year. The time and care must be taken to address all these areas and concerns at all levels of our educational system.
One of the largest elephants in the room will be the use and integration of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in today’s classroom! I find all the questions surrounding AI very similar to the questions that arose when the graphing calculators became affordable and readily available in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Teachers struggled with the balance of using the new technology and assuring that students use their own abilities and not just the calculator to answer the questions being posed. Just like how the graphing calculator has been integrated into the curriculum, AI will need to be similarly integrated. Teachers must change the way they ask questions so students cannot just google or use AI to answer the question. Questions need to be higher order thinking questions where the student is required to show their thinking and not just get an answer. This will require a great deal of teacher support making sure they have the training and resources they need to formulate and ask the questions where AI cannot be easily used to answer the questions. More than ever teacher must seek out and attend professional development to help them integrate the AI technology into their curriculum.
The year 2024, more than ever before, will be a year where all educators need to make sure they take care of both their own personal well-being and their students’ well-being! There is more stress and anxiety in today’s world than there has ever been. We are still dealing with the aftermath of COVID-19. World and domestic issues will have a profound impact on educators, students, and families. Everyone must be aware and understand the necessity of proper care and handling of these highly sensitive issues. I know the whole controversy of Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) should be addressed for the benefit of all! Educator and student anxiety and stress is real and must be addressed. Looking at ways to constructively deal with all the issues teachers and students are facing will be a key to a successful year. Our SEL expert, Tiffany Creager, has so many excellent techniques to deal with stress and anxiety. You can take advantage of her skills and knowledge by following her blog with all her suggestions and techniques! You can follow her blog here.
As you look at the year ahead of you, you hold all the control. Are you going to be active or reactive to all that will transpire in 2024? You can be active and plan how to make 2024 the best year possible. Make plans to attend a conference. Search for and seek out professional learning opportunities that will enhance your skills and abilities as an educator. Get with your colleagues to review, examine, and update your curriculum maps. Make sure you take care of YOU and look for your students who might be struggling both academically and mentally! Overall, all educators need to look at 2024 as a year to preview and get ahead of issues that can cause problems and disrupt the educational process. Have a great year! Be kind to yourself and take care of yourself to be the best you can possibly be for your students!