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January 27, 2022  |  Amy Rambo

7 K-12 education trends for 2022.

As educators enter the second part of the school year, they continue to face uncertainty and burnout. Teachers are being challenged in a way they never have before.

To connect with educators and administrators, marketers first need to understand the challenges K-12 schools face and the priorities they hold. Think of this as an opportunity to provide solutions to their most pressing needs.

So what are those main priorities? To share more insight, we’re taking a look at the top K-12 education trends of 2022. These trends reflect what is most important to schools, as they continue to grapple with the pandemic and seek technology that improves the educational experience. With knowledge of these current priorities, companies will be better positioned to convey how their offerings will make a positive impact.

  1. 1. Technology solutions must provide value and meaning

The pandemic has required teachers to learn and rely on new technology – technology that is likely a contributor to educator burnout. In 2022, tech solutions need substance to support their style. Teachers want to find ways to use EdTech in a more meaningful way. They want tools that make their lives easier and enrich the educational experience.

It’s not enough to have the latest tech. To break through the clutter, technology will need to free up teachers’ time to focus on student instruction and interaction, help them streamline digital materials, and reinforce traditional learning methods. Some of the most cutting-edge trends to watch include AI (artificial intelligence), such as voice-controlled digital assistants, and the expanded use of cloud-based software.

  1. 2. Increase in threats sharpens the focus on cybersecurity

With the shift to remote learning and cloud-based technology, schools have experienced an increase in cyberthreats. The nonprofit Center for Internet Security estimates that the number of cybersecurity incidents in K-12 schools could jump 86% this school year, making cybersecurity a pressing concern for administrators.

The topic has also received national attention, as President Joe Biden signed the K-12 Cybersecurity Act this past October. The first cyber-focused law for K-12 institutions, this act directs federal resources to investigate and address cybersecurity risks, and then provide strategies schools can use to protect their data.

Schools have to protect a great deal of personal information, such as medical and family information, Social Security numbers and academic records. But many aren’t sure where their data vulnerabilities lie or how to set up barriers against threats. To improve cybersecurity risk management, school districts are looking for turnkey tools to secure data and avoid ransomware attacks, data theft or other threats.

  1. 3. Asynchronous learning makes education more accessible

As children continue to learn from home, the virtual classroom has become a critical part of education. Asynchronous learning offers students the flexibility and freedom to access materials and learn on their own schedule. This self-paced model is especially beneficial for students with different learning styles and needs.

To capitalize on these benefits, teachers are looking for digital tools that help make asynchronous learning more accessible and personalized for diverse learners. They also recognize that the self-paced model requires keeping students motivated to learn on their own. As we move into yet another period of virtual learning, teachers need fresh, effective ways to engage remote students

  1. 4. Gamification and interactive learning capture students’ attention

In an effort to engage a generation that has grown up with smartphones, apps and video games, teachers are tapping into multimedia tools. Interactive games, video content, bite-sized lessons (also called micro-learning or nano-learning), and even virtual reality are increasingly integrated with more traditional teaching methods. These interactive, experiential tools make learning effective and fun, and they are accessible when students are remote.

Trends show that teachers are also turning to more interactive options to assess learning outcomes, including real-time progress tracking and feedback, video assignments, interactive quizzes and more. On a broader level, more schools are offering esports programs and other extracurricular opportunities. In the coming year, options that “gamify” or make learning interactive will appeal to students and teachers alike.

  1. 5. Students present learning loss and social-emotional needs

It’s no secret that students have experienced learning loss, as well as increased stress and mental health issues, during the pandemic. Knowing that students need help academically and emotionally, school districts are focused on finding ways to give struggling children a boost. Promethean’s recent State of Technology in Education survey showed that 39% of educators say improving social-emotional learning is a top priority for their school, and 26% say reducing learning loss is a key focus.

To meet these needs, tutoring programs, personalized learning solutions and extra support — inside and outside of the classroom — will be a focus in 2022. However, districts continue to deal with staffing shortages and are challenged with providing equitable access to underserved students. They need innovative, sustainable programs that address these issues and support all students.

  1. 6. Funding and staffing uncertainty plagues schools’ budgets

As we move into a new year, uncertainty about funding and staff retention is a pain point for K-12 institutions. Different funding sources — across federal, state and local levels — and unpredictable timelines will require administrators to carefully budget and manage funding. Recent federal emergency funding, provided through the American Rescue Plan, shows where schools are prioritizing funds: after-school, summer learning and tutoring programs to reverse learning loss; mental health; equity concerns; and staffing issues.

With continuing staff shortages, schools nationwide plan to allocate funds to recruit, incentivize and support staff. According to a recent FutureEd analysis, districts expect to spend an average of $345 per student on teachers and instructional staff. Professional development for teachers is a part of that, especially as a strategy to boost educator engagement, provide technical knowledge and encourage retention. Moving forward, schools may face more unpredictable funding, and because of the uncertainty, they are looking for budget-conscious, proven solutions.

  1. 7. Supplies and systems for pandemic protection are still a need

In 2022, schools will continue to need supplies that keep students and staff safe, healthy and active during the pandemic — everything from PPE and cleaning supplies to playground equipment and flexible seating. Concerns with ventilation have driven school districts to look at upgrading HVAC systems, while others plan to repair facilities and invest in air filters to prevent the spread of COVID.

Even for those districts with established suppliers, recent supply chain disruptions have shaken up their typical processes and inflated pricing, impacting school lunch programs, paper supplies, electronic devices and more. Suppliers who can step in and provide these essentials will have an advantage.

How to connect with educators and administrators

With an understanding of the challenges educators face and the topics that are important to them, marketers and suppliers can better fulfill their needs in the new year. Teachers are often the ones using classroom tools and supplies, and they do have the power to influence buying decisions, but larger purchases may require reaching decision-makers at the administrative or district level.

The MCH K-12 database contains the most accurate and complete information for marketers looking to connect with school districts as they move into 2022. With millions of contacts in the database, MCH education marketing experts, along with a robust filtering system, can help marketers target the exact schools and job titles that best fit their product offerings.



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