The education space is constantly evolving, as new – and even existing – technologies come to the fore. Across the UK schools are looking at how best to manage the transition and integrate new and existing technologies in a streamlined way.
Implementing change of course doesn’t come without its own challenges. There are many considerations such as where to invest to receive the greatest rewards; how to avoid short-term ‘fads’; how to manage the change with minimal disruption, these are all top of the agenda for educators.
Taking a step back and thinking methodically about how best to apply these changes with a step-by-step guide to best suit the needs of your school can be a good starting point. Research suggests that there are three key aspects of the modern classroom (informed by iTEC, FCL, current research and Promethean’s own direct experience). These are the learning space, technology and pedagogy; each of these three elements has an important contribution to make and needs significant attention.
Simple but impactful changes can come from studying the layout of the room and looking at how the space has been divided
If educators are interested in creating truly modern classrooms the learning space is key in setting the scene. Firstly schools must consider each element of the learning space and how it can be transformed to feel more progressive. Simple but impactful changes can come from studying the layout of the room and looking at how the space has been divided. Consider if the equipment is in the best place for everyone. Even think about how flexible the layout is, and if it can be easily changed during lesson time to enhance the student experience, giving students the option of moving freely around. Even basic environmental aspects such as air and light quality and temperature should also be observed. All of these together help students to be more engaged and it makes it easier for lessons to be personalised and for effective collaboration to take place.
Without doubt, technology underpins the entire concept of the ‘modern classroom’. The transition we have seen in technology use in schools over the past 20 years has been phenomenal. We have seen edtech evolve from a single desktop computer in the corner of classrooms to high-tech teaching aids and handheld devices for students. Technology in schools has now become essential, and what’s more, students expect it. Far from taking over the role of the teacher, technology must be used to support the teaching styles and meet the needs of the students. It’s important that when making an investment, schools are systematic when implementing new technology and changing the learning environment. It’s not solely the technology that makes the impact; it’s the effectiveness of its use.
While technology has its role to play, with the current student population of ‘neo-millennials’ already using technology frequently in other aspects of their lives, it is pedagogy that should be the driving force behind the ‘modern classroom’. Paired with implementing technology; schools should use the student’s engagement and enjoyment of technology to shape new pedagogies.
Gill Leahy, Senior International Education Consultant at Promethean will be hosting a session on “The Modern Classroom” at the UK School Leaders Summit (invite only) at this year’s Bett. Gill and the Promethean team will also be available on stand B99 to discuss the Modern Classroom in more detail, with students from Saltash School.
You can also pre-register for the new free Modern Classroom e-book here.