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5 big changes every future classroom will need for the new era of education

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The future classroom needs to be radically different in order to become relevant for the new era of education. Technology will be at the centre of this metamorphosis. When our parents recall their school days, they make no big deal about a makeshift class under a tree. They were used to taking down notes from blackboard on which teachers would write using dusty chalk. With time, chalk and duster were replaced with touchscreens, audio-visual facilities, and the era of digital learning started.

However, the journey will be much more exciting in the next decade. Here are the 5 things that will not be same in the future classrooms:

 

1. Question papers and answer sheets

We have already seen some tests being conducted online. However, as technology becomes more accessible and affordable, it will largely replace pen and paper-based tests.

The rationale is simple. Online tests need lesser logistical arrangements, can be customized for different batches, and evaluated quickly and accurately using artificial intelligence and algorithms.

Imagine the time saved by future high school and 12th aspirants when they receive their board exam results within a week, thanks to online examination. They can plan the future course of their career and do not have to spend months in speculation.

 

2. Practice books

Practice makes a man perfect. All of us have heard (and practiced) it. But technology will change the way students practice.

For instance - Avocado, an app enables students to practice questions from Maths and Science. Using Avocado, student can get customized practice tests, detailed explanation for answers, and review their results with just a few taps.

What makes a digital platform for practice like Avocado unique is the insights based on test results over a period of time. This helps the students understand areas which require intervention from their teacher or parents.

Using Avocado and similar practice solutions, parents and teachers can also track the progress of their wards and make informed decisions to improve speed and accuracy. All these details are available on a smartphone- anytime, anywhere.

 

3. Computer labs

Once upon a time, computers were a rare commodity for Indian students. The weekly computer lab class was their chance to touch, feel, and see this magic box.

However, this is no more the case. With digital revolution, most middle-class families can afford a personal computer.

Moreover, about 337 million smartphones make India world’s second largest smartphone equipped population. Over the next five years, smartphones and tablets will completely transform the look and feel of computer labs in schools.

These labs will follow Bring-Your-Own-Device and Do-It-Yourself approach. Meanwhile, teachers can take the role of mentors.

There will be many innovations that trigger self-learning in computer labs. For example, Cubetto is a friendly wooden robot that can teach early age learners the basics of computer programming through adventure and hands-on play.

The Cubetto Playset consists of a friendly robot made of hard-wearing wood, a physical programming board, and a set of colourful coding blocks that make up a programming language you can touch.

 

4. Textbooks

Typically, textbooks are written assuming one-size-fits-all’. The need of the hour is to customize the learning journey for every student based on speed, understanding, and interests. E-books can fill this much-needed gap.

Powered by virtual learning, artificial intelligence, and machine learning, e-books are well suited for supplementing conventional textbooks. Students also appreciate the interactive nature of E-books.

Having said that, textbooks are and will remain an important part of the education system. We will see an amalgamation of both textbooks and e-books going ahead.

 

5. Benches and desks

 

The neat rows of benches are meant to seat students in a way that they focus on the teacher delivering a lecture and demonstrating concepts on the board. But this approach will soon go out of favour.

Future classrooms will have flexible seating arrangement suited for the task that students are working on. The design will also consider comfort of the students.

Standing desks for those who find it hard to focus while sitting, accommodation for physically challenged, collaborative stations for group activities, and moving walls to make the space more adaptable are some classroom design innovations that will become the new normal.

posted Feb 5 by Monich

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I’m going to give you a few words, and I want you to just let images that come to your mind float there for a moment: School. Campus. Student.

Now you probably have some specific images of a schoolhouse, or sprawling university campus, or a child-aged pupil wearing a backpack, chattering away with friends…. in English.

But as you’ll hear today, teachers, administrators, and educational innovators are looking for new mediums, locations, and methods to serve all sorts of students.

We start, in Boston, Massachusetts, where the oldest public, taxpayer-supported elementary school in the country was opened in 1639.

“In the real world, you can’t really tease apart math from English from Social Science from Science. And that sort of integration of content is exactly what we need, too, in our schools as well.”

Those words of wisdom we heard from Tommy Chang, the superintendent of Boston Public Schools, who was brought into BPS 2 years ago.

“I am very proud of our instructional vision, that puts academic rigour side-by-side social and emotional learning, side-by-side what we call culturally and linguistically sustaining practices,” says Chang.

“My own personal story as an immigrant to this country, unfortunately, wasn’t one that was always affirming or always sustaining. So I often say my first day in schools in America, my cultural and linguistic identity began being suppressed.”

Chang says affirming a student’s cultural identity is critical to their success. He pointed to his first day in school as an example of what not to do to new immigrant students. So it’s from this background that Superintendent Chang looks to bolster students and create equal opportunities to ensure children from all backgrounds have access to future careers. He says it’s important to make sure students are getting the academic programming in schools that will help them in the workforce.

“For example, we are creating a pathway in one of our high schools around protective services, so cybersecurity. So what the students are learning in math class would directly apply to what they will actually be doing in terms of cybersecurity.”

Connections between private companies and Boston public schools are already materializing. Superintendent Chang says that the financial company State Street is stepping up to the plate to help make BPS students workforce-ready.

“We are working with State Street here in Boston as part of a large initiative called Boston Wins. And as part of this initiative, young people are going through high school getting the mentoring they need to prepare them for college. But more importantly, they are getting work-based experiences,” says Chang.

“And these companies, because they are so invested, they are willing to actually hire our students coming out of high school and coming out of college.”

State Street is just one of these companies and has committed to hiring 1,000 Boston Public School graduates over the next 5 years.

“Now that’s a company that is putting their money where their mouth is. But if you just think about this work our companies are investing, they understand that their job force’s future is going to be our students. They are so much more willing to redesign what education looks like.”

And when it comes to redesigning, the curriculum is just one step. According to architects Brooke Travis and David Damon of Perkins + Will, classrooms today are already being prepared for the instructional needs of the future.

“Schools were once focused on knowing—now they are focused on doing,” says Brooke, a principal architect at the firm, specializing in K-12 school design. “Schools were once teacher-centered—they are now student-centred. These are great ways to visualize the classroom. Schools were about the individual—now they are about the team.”

Some of these changes have been gradually implemented over the years—like L-shaped classrooms, natural lighting, break-out spaces. But other changes are being made in preparation for the future, where the structure of a classroom might not look quite the same.  

“When you are talking about teacher-centred versus student-centred, you are looking at a traditional stand-up-and-deliver methodology, where the teacher is at the front of the classroom and all the students are in rows,” says Brooke.

“But when you talk about student-centred, the way the classroom design looks is very different, because there is no front of the classroom. Things are done… are more varied. They are more distributed exactly around the classroom.”

What education looks like is also a focus of our next guest, Peter Stokes, Managing Director of the Huron consulting group.

“It’s difficult for institutions to grow when they’re in an urban setting,” says Peter. “And so technology is one way that institutions can start to think about expanding their capacity.”

Stokes attributes the growth of online learners to this fact, emphasizing that “Many of the institutions providing access to online education are urban institutions,” although sometimes online programs emerge with rural campuses, as well, because of the ease of access.

“So the relationship between place and reach has evolved considerably over the last several decades. And for some institutions, there’s been, I think, an assumption that eventually places won’t matter at all and that in the virtual world, the place is not so significant a barrier or an issue. And that virtual presence can do away with concerns about the campus.”

But ease of access isn’t the only reason institutions are developing online programs.

“On the other hand, we do see some very forward-thinking institutions like MIT, who are explicitly thinking about the ways in which education technology can not only expand reach globally but can also inform the experience on campus and the role of place and space, classroom space in the educational process.”

So will online learning make the campus experience moot? Peter says that’s not likely to happen any time soon.

“Out of 20 million students in the U.S. higher education, only about 15% are fully online. So that leaves 85% that are having some kind of either full campus experience or some kind of hybrid, you know campus and online. So there’s no question that the campus experience is still critical.”

But, according to Peter, it’s more critical for some students than others. The same on-campus elements that help an 18–24 year old to mature as an independent adult could keep an older, working student from pursuing a degree.

What about education that takes place outside and off-line?

That’s where Christine Cunningham, founder of Engineering is Elementary, steps in. Christine’s elementary engineering program at the Museum of Science in Boston is just one of many programs facilitating learning outside of the classroom.

“Learning doesn’t stop when the school bell rings or when the school vacation begins,” says Christine. “So we’re really excited that here we can work with students, with teachers, and with their families to create an ecosystem of learning where everybody is constantly thinking about how science and engineering constantly intersect with their lives.”

Christine says one exhibit that teachers, parents, or students can engage in is the Yawkey Charles River exhibit—where the river becomes a platform for learning about engineering and science.

“They might visit science in the park, which is one of our most beloved visits because it’s a playground. And as the kids engage in various activities of the playground, they learn more about the physics and the science underlying that. So exhibits are one way that students can interact while they’re here. They can also engage with programs. And we have a wide range of programs.”

Christine says that the school programs offer a lot of freedom because they can leave the Museum of Science to go out into the community.

“So we have a set of travelling programs that go out every day. The vans leave the museum bright and early, six-thirty, seven-o’clock. And drive to schools all over New England, to bring the museum to the schools. We also bring exhibits to people, schools, and teachers nationwide because they travel. For example, the Pixar Exhibit, which was here a couple years ago, is now on a worldwide tour through at least 2023, so that reaches a lot more students and teachers that way as well.”

Christine says that engineering doesn’t have to wait until kids are in middle or high school to introduce. The principles come very easily to kids—if you can engage them on their level. So she introduced a program called “Wee Engineer.”

“They actually start much younger, building block towers, or beds for their dolly. So we started to think about how we could harness some of those natural instincts, and have kids engaged in activities that would get them thinking a little bit more in the way that engineers would.”

Christine says that a big reason that the Museum of Science sought to develop Wee Engineer is to help children to think about themselves as scientists, mathematicians, and of course, engineers.

So while many institutions look for ways to diversify education delivery, does the brick-and-mortar campus still have a place on the educational landscape?

Paul LeBlanc, the president of Southern New Hampshire University, says he thinks that brick and mortar campuses will continue to be an important part of the post-high school education experience—because it’s also a coming of age experience.

“In that case, they seek a whole living and learning community in which they can redefine themselves. Reinvent themselves. Live with people like them. They want to get out from under their parents’ roof, get out of the town where everyone knows them. They’ve seen the depiction of college, and it looks pretty darn good. Not just the studies, in fact, the things they’re probably thinking about in this case are the parties, and the football games, and the organizations, and the study abroad.”

LeBlanc says that while costs might not make the traditional 4-year college experience feasible for everyone in the future, he doesn’t think it will disappear entirely.

“It’s a remarkable experience. It’s too expensive—I’m not sure we’ll continue to believe that coming of age deserves four years of that. I wouldn’t be surprised if we came to a place where we evolve to a three-year residential experience, and the fourth year might be in the work, and we can think about that in other ways.”

“So, I think it will continue for young people coming out of high school. And I would challenge anyone to show me that there is a diminished interest. There is a diminished ability to pay. But people want to send their kids, they worry about their kids off to college.”

So while the classroom is being redefined in a number of ways, most believe that at least some form of physical space will continue to be set aside in the future.

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5 Ways Teachers Are Integrating Technology into the Classroom

Teachers are developing lesson plans that may not be delivering the learning message that speaks to the times, as well as student learning abilities. How can we fix this issue? By integrating technology into the classroom.

Utilizing technology and implementing tech into lesson plans can ensure a more interactive class experience. Technology can reshape the future of education in big ways, forming new bonds between students and teachers, and with students and the entire learning experience.

“Technology helps change the student/teacher roles and relationships: students take responsibility for their learning outcomes, while teachers become guides and facilitators,” Edutopia explained. “Technology lends itself as the multidimensional tool that assists that process.”

Integrating technology into the classroom, however, can seem challenging for educators. This is due to the tech resources needed, like computers, tablets, software/apps, internet access, and more. With a bit of due diligence, these obstacles can be overcome and tech can be tethered with the learning experience in amazing innovative ways.

Let’s dive into the five ways teachers are integrating technology into the classroom, and how all educators can too.

1. Making Use of the Gamify Learning Experience

Gaming has become a huge part of students’ lives. Whether at home or in the classroom, the gamification of learning is a valuable strategy to pursue. Why? Students want to engage in learning in new exciting ways, and the gamify learning experience can do just that.

For example, you can have digital scavenger hunts in the classroom by challenging students with fact-finding questions that they need to complete online. This is a great way to integrate technology into the learning experience by making a game of it. Students not only learn how to research material online, but they also stay engaged — it is a win-win!

2. Building Lesson Plans Using Differentiated Instruction and Tech

Tailoring your lesson plans to your students is increasing in popularity. This type of teaching has been implemented using a differentiated instruction program that takes into account how students learn, their abilities, and more. For instance, by grouping students in a class based on their abilities can improve the effectiveness of the teaching message.

How can you implement this into your class via technology? The upswing in tailoring lesson plans to diverse learners has caused many companies to create software and online platforms, like Big Universe, that serve up large amounts of learning material aimed at filling the differentiated instruction gap within classrooms.

3. Develop a Class Website

There are a lot of fun ways to integrate technology into the classroom, but none as exciting for students as developing a class website. Students are often mystified by the power of the internet, and being online can be a serious eye-opener for them.

Building a class website is also affordable for educators since WordPress delivers free websites and themes you can use to make this tech-inspired classroom activity happen. The aim is to do it as a class in order to engage everyone, so from start to finish, have everyone involved.

A class website is also valuable for parents and education managers to see what is going on in class and how each student is developing. It is another technology inspired learning asset that is a win-win.

4. Create a Classroom Blog

Since you have a class website, why not go one step further and create a classroom blog. This is an excellent way to inspire students and keep them engaged in classroom activities. Blogs are also essential in teaching reading, writing, listening, using tech, and so much more.

Within your free WordPress website, create a blog section and create interactive activities for each blog. For example, you can start a blog with a title, topic, and introduction paragraph. Then each student will add a section while staying on topic and true to the overall blog story.

Once published, your students can read it all, listen to it, and share it with their parents. It is interactive in the classroom, as well as bringing the learning experience home.

5. Using Social Media as a Teaching Tool

If you have grown students, chances are they are on social media. This is good because you can leverage one of their favourite ways to spend time on learning. For instance, you can pull a video from YouTube and use it for Q&A sessions. Or you can use travel images of social media influencers as a discussion piece in class.

Are You Ready to Integrate Technology into the Classroom?

There are certainly more ways than one to integrate technology into the classroom. The above five ways are only the tip of the iceberg. The goal is to give students the digital tools they need to grow and be successful throughout their education. How do you integrate tech into your classroom?

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The excitement of finally getting your own classroom can be overwhelming. Whether you have been hoarding supplies all through your PGCE or are about to embark on a summer shopping spree, you will no doubt be keen to make your mark on your new temple of learning. 

Five things to remember about setting up a classroom

Here are a few things for you to think about:

  1. Consider the needs of all learners

    When you are setting up your classroom, test out your seating arrangements; can you sit and see the board without craning your neck? Think about your colour scheme. Your hot pink and turquoise combo might have looked brilliant on Pinterest, but will it give some children a headache or be an unwanted distraction? And while you may have banked a million display and “area” ideas during your training, remember you have to put the needs of your children first.

  2. Don’t expect a blank slate

    You might be imagining walking into a crisp and clean classroom, ready to work your magic. I can tell you now that this is not happening. Your room will probably be cluttered with the remnants of the last teacher to inhabit it and their displays will most likely still be up. But be positive about it, embrace the cathartic clear-out and take care of things without any grumbling; you don’t know who your new room belonged to last − or how many of their friends are still working at the school.

  3. Create curiosity

    Your new children will be keen to get to know you and your personality, so don’t be afraid of sharing it. Whether that’s through an interesting memento on your desk or your favourite book in the reading area, it will help to start conversations and build rapport.

  4. Exercise restraint

    Your laminator is smoking, you have staple-gun blisters… stop. The excitement of setting up your first classroom can put you into a pre-term giddiness of filling every last inch of your space with wiggly-bordered loveliness. But a cluttered space won’t create a good learning environment. Think about having room to learn and to move.

  5. Resist the urge to create the finished article

    Yes, you want to “wow” your new class with their beautiful learning environment, but you have to remember that it belongs to them as much as to you. Your classroom needs to grow along with your children. Ensure they have the space to put their stamp on it, too.

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