Building the modern classroom from the ground up

By Dick de Vaal, co-founder, wePresent

Students learn best via one-on-one collaboration in the classroom, but unfortunately, this is not always possible. Nowadays, UK classrooms, especially in higher education, are becoming larger and often cover more complex material. This makes it harder for a teacher to address the mistakes of individual students, even though those mistakes may be common among their classmates. 

Although many schools, colleges and universities feel they lack the capacity to offer one-on-one teaching, the tools for a more collaborative learning model are within reach. While it is not possible to promise students a true one-on-one experience, especially in larger classrooms, a collaborative learning model can make the experience more personalised. Collaborative technology, such as wireless gateways, will bring a student’s work into play more directly, allowing them to connect and present. In fact, up to four students at a time can present using their laptops and mobile devices while the teacher can observe exactly what mistakes they might be making and why.

A 64-user queue allows students to become part of the discussions and classes at the teacher’s leisure, rather than just passive participants. Mistakes while learning don’t result in failed exams or dropped courses. The students themselves become the focus of the learning experience.

And these experiences, once only possible through expensive wired classrooms specifically designed for the purpose, can now work in any classroom. Wireless presentation allows students with almost any device (Windows, Mac OS, iOS, or Android) to be a part of the collaboration by simply downloading an app onto their device and connecting themselves to the discussion. When they do, they’ll find a host of tools at their fingertips, such as the ability to access presentations and browse them at their own leisure, or the ability to work on a virtual whiteboard from right where they’re sitting. 

Although many schools, colleges and universities feel they lack the capacity to offer one-on-one teaching, the tools for a more collaborative learning model are within reach

The best classroom technology doesn’t just work with the devices students bring, but also works with the newest and most interactive technology in the classroom. SMART boards, as well as other touchscreen displays, are starting to become the standard in many classrooms, literally putting the presentation at the fingertips of the teacher. Collaborative technology should tie the presentation not just to the technology, but to the students as well.

And it’s not just the technology in classrooms that is changing; it’s the style of teaching. Rather than rows of students, all staring in the same direction, today’s classroom nurtures the same collaborative environment that wireless presentation systems such as wePresent aim to create. Students in the modern classroom might work together in teams, such as in designs for smart, TEAL, or SCALE-UP learning spaces, and the infrastructure in place should reinforce this. 

The traditional scenario of the classroom filling with the tang of a dry-erase marker as the teacher writes an equation on a whiteboard is on its way out. Out dated physical whiteboards are quickly being replaced with a virtual whiteboards. This allows teachers to connect the students to a virtual whiteboard, enabling them to access classroom technology on their own terms, via personal devices. Students can also be placed in teams, facing one another, rather than all staring at the same screen. 

Wireless gateways will drive the future of interactive learning. A better experience means better grades for students, more engaged learners and less stressed teachers. Every school, college or university would benefit from collaborative learning technology using a wireless gateway. 

Also, bring-your-own-device (BYOD) is still taking hold of classrooms worldwide due to students feeling more comfortable using familiar devices to share their work with peers. This has forced schools to ‘yet again’ rethink the design of classrooms and created a need for new classroom technology solutions to be used. Wireless gateways are the solution for this problem, and one that will drive a better learning experience for all.

W: www.wepresentwifi.com

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