Classrooms of the future

In thinking about what classroom 2.0 should/could look like in the future, it is worth reading this post.  It is long, but the author makes many interesting, valid and thought-provoking suggestions as to what learning might look like in the next decade.

As you can see from the date, the post is already 18 months old, which in technology terms is probably around 10 years.  How exciting a learning environment does the author paint!  Talk about differentiated learning…

I must admit that my classroom today looks very different to the one described here.  I don’t have 7 alternative learning experiences happening simultaneously, integrating technology into each, with every student displaying our school-wide goals (particularly the self-directed learner part).  I’m trying not to feel overwhelmed and see this as a long-term aim for the future – 2020 is the year stated in the post.  A quick mathematical calculation puts me at 51 and still teaching, so this really is something I have to get to grips with.

But part of the problem is this – I don’t know what I don’t know.  I had the same sense during the workshop run by Alan November earlier this school year, which left me feeling inadequate as a teacher for not already being at one with the latest technologies available, never mind using them on a daily basis in the classroom. 

In the spirit of moving forwards, albeit with baby steps, I am slowly formulating a plan.  Next school year, grade 9 science is having a facelift.  It will no longer run as a purely biology course, but as an integrated science program with units that blend aspects of biology, chemistry and physics together.  I hope to be part of the team teaching this new course, and, as we put it together, I will be a strong advocate for implementing and integrating some of these new (to me at least) web 2.0 tools, right from the outset.  A fresh start, with a new group of students, and a new syllabus, may be just the way to go here.  It will also allow for trial and error without the worry of losing a single moment of lesson time with IB HL students.  Once I have experimented with new technologies in the classroom I hope to feel braver in adapting them for use across the range of classes I teach.



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One response to “Classrooms of the future

  1. I think once people open up to the range of new possibilities and start reading edublogs or listening to educational podcasts, it’s initially overwhelming, but gradually patterns emerge. You see that this tool is a bit like that tool, and requires much the same skills, and can be used in much the same ways.

    Sure, so-called ‘killer apps’ come along every so often – things that change the game and mess up the paradigms people had just started getting used to (or maybe not even!) – but once not everything seems new to you, it does become easier to deal.

    Another important realization is that you don’t have to use everything. Pick what works for you, one thing at a time. Learn enough about new things that come along to see whether you think it’ll be useful or not. Some things may not be optional – they may become so ubiquitous that you just have to deal with them. As parents, we just have to deal with the existence of Facebook, for example. Twitter, on the other hand, may or may not become something everyone just “has to” know.

    Jeff Utecht at The Thinking Stick recently wrote an interesting post about approaches to teaching and learning new tools: some people want to know HOW to use a tool before they consider WHY (or whether) they should use it. Others are the other way around.

    He also ponders in a different post (which I couldn’t find just now) whether the global economic downturn will mean there’ll be fewer new tools to deal with in the year ahead, meaning there’ll be a bit more time to consolidate, to improve the way we use these tools to add value to what we’re doing.

    For some, I’m sure that particular aspect might come as a welcome respite from the deluge of changes.

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