By: Andrew Jaglall
The continued development of sophisticated technology platforms provides an opportunity for classroom design and instruction to be imagined in an entirely different way. Using computers, smartphones, tablets, and other tools available may change the dynamics of how teachers interact with students. Here are 4 ideas that are starting points for what classrooms may look like in a decade from now.
1. Flipped Classrooms
The idea behind flipped classrooms is that students view short videos uploaded or selected by their teacher on their own time. They are responsible for watching videos accessible on their computers, smartphones, or tablets. The in-class time is then devoted towards practice time, projects, or discussions. The value of the flipped classroom is that it offers plenty of time for students to participate in active learning and changes the role of teachers from a lecturer to a coach or advisor.
E-Learning has become a powerful tool used in postsecondary institutions across the world. It allows the opportunity for students to study without any restrictions due to distance. The concept behind e-Learning is to use electronic tools/devices to allow students to learn from all different areas (and often from the comfort of their home!) and sometimes provides the opportunity for students to complete e-Learning tasks on their own time. The concept of e-Learning is catching on in secondary schools now, with many school boards in Ontario (such as the Durham District School Board) offering e-Learning courses for students to take across many different subject areas. This also works from an economic perspective as it reduces the resources needed for physical in class space as well as the accompanying budget for instructional materials.
3. Augmented Reality
New projects, such as the Google Glass, give an indication that the use of technology could lead to an augmented reality learning environment in classrooms. The inclusion of Google Glass into classrooms could provide virtual field trips across the world, without having to leave the classroom! Using a pair of glasses removes the need to hold a tool (such as a phone) to view another location. New gaming tools, soon to be released, such as the PlayStation Virtual Reality headset, will offer opportunities for people to be fully immersed in a gaming environment. This will likely lead to the development of virtual headsets for classrooms. Imagine the opportunities! Explore the Coliseum or the British Museum without the added costs of having to leave the classroom. Augmented reality offers an interesting direction for where teaching and learning could be going later in the 21st century.
4. Flexible Classrooms
The idea behind flexible classrooms is that it allows space for different instructional methods in the classroom. The learning environment shifts from stereotypical rows of students to a dynamic, often changing layout. For example, standing desks might be in a classroom for students who focus better while standing. Private and group work spaces will easily be accessible in classrooms. Interactive whiteboards will turn into interactive projects, allowing for projector movement to make multiple different surfaces in the classroom and interactive space.
With new and exciting emerging technologies, the possibilities of what classrooms could look like are endless. Although these are some of the ideas of what classrooms could look like, it’s important to mention that only the test of time can truly indicate what classrooms will look like. Classrooms are rapidly changing from year to year, and a decade from now some of the ideas covered above may be more of a reality or more common place in current public education classrooms.
Dunwill, E. (2016, March 16). 4 changes that will shape the classroom of the future: making education fully technological.
Educause (2012, February). 7 things you should know about flipped classrooms.
Hongkiat (2014). 8 technologies that will shape future classrooms.
Virtual College (2016). What is e-learning?