The classroom of today looks and operates significantly differently to the classrooms of five, ten and even 20 year’s ago. Gone are the days of a solitary desktop computer in the corner, the 21st Century classroom houses various technologies from Interactive Flat Panel Displays (IFPDs), to tablets, laptops and smartphones, all seamlessly connected by Wi-Fi or Bluetooth and supported by a range of software from cloud-based to apps.
Used to handling the latest technology in their personal lives, the current generation of digital-native students have become more independent in the classroom and technology is an expected requirement rather than an added advantage. So just how has technology changed the face of the classroom?
1. Simplifying lesson preparation
It goes without saying that the introduction of new technologies in schools have had an impact on teaching. While technology must always be an extension of teaching, and something that enhances but does not replace, there are some benefits for schools wanting to simplify teacher’s busy schedules. Lesson preparation is an area which technology can provide a substantial level of support. Software, such as Promethean’s ClassFlow allows teachers to plan interactive, multimedia-rich lessons and create assessments and assignments that can be delivered across a range of technologies for use in and out of the classroom.
2. Aiding assessment
Using technology for assessment can take on many forms, but overall technology can enhance assessment by providing schools with the means to design flexible assessment criteria that supports a wide range of student’s skills and competences. In this instance ClassFlow provides teacher’s with the means to use real-time feedback, which allows them to determine how well a class is understanding a lesson and even drill down to individual student’s comprehension, meaning certain topics can be covered and explained again if required. For the school this should mean an overall improvement in reporting and potentially grades.
3. Breaking down boundaries
The most notable use of technology is that it no longer limits lesson time to the traditional four walls of the classroom, creating a true learning continuum between home and school. Schools are empowering teachers and students to take more control over their learning and harness the potential of new learning experiences, encouraging learning to take place in other venues such as libraries and museums. Students can use technology to meet, collaborate and create content virtually. Technology helps students to research subjects, share ideas and learn specific skills.
4. Encouraging collaboration
Technology allows for such flexibility in learning that it is enabling our students to work in a more collaborative manner. Technology is a key building block in facilitating collaborative learning. IFPDs allows allow students to contribute to lesson content from the front of the class, engage with their peers in problem solving activities and create a more collective approach to lesson time. Whereas laptops and mobile devices are key for remote collaboration and online learning outside of the classroom. Supported by technology, students are generating new approaches to problem solving and learning how to work alongside their peers, a great attribute for their future careers.
5. Introducing interactivity
While text books still have a place in the classroom, the reality is that students are much more likely to be found using a laptop or tablet or even a smartphone to support their studies by researching on the Internet. Powered by software and apps and presented on the latest touchscreen displays, lessons are delivered in a much more engaging manner. Homework and assignments are also readily available as downloadable material, meaning that the whole education experience from classwork through to homework is much more interactive than the classroom of ten years ago.
To support schools in developing technology strategies, Promethean has produced a free ‘Modern Classroom’ ebook which guides school leaders, school business managers and practitioners through the steps to consider when designing and implementing a Modern Classroom environment, available here.