Today’s classroom looks much different than a classroom from a couple hundred years ago. In fact, today’s classroom looks different from many classrooms from just a few years ago.
This difference is one we can owe to the vast and rapidly changing world around us and the technology that encompasses it.
In order to ensure that classrooms are engaging for students, teachers and future educators need to understand the necessity of incorporating these technologies into the everyday learning environment of children.
There are several ways in which to do this. The first and most important way is to make sure there is an equal amount of opportunity for students with/without computer and internet access – to actually use the technology within their schools.
This may seem like a small step, but a very crucial one to note because there are many children still, who don’t have access to these technologies at home or on their own.
Another way in which an educator can make their classroom into a 21st century space is by creating an online class webpage or blog where everyone can post and interact with eachother.
The students can post interesting things that they may discover on their own time or anything they wish to ask the teacher.
They can post questions that they may have while doing homework which will allow the other classmates to help the students as they will all have the same homework.
Bob Pearlman in his article, “Designing New Learning Environments to Support 21st Century Skills” also emphasizes the fact that we should avoid the standard classroom where the teacher stands at the front of the class and lectures 30 students while they take notes. Instead he emphasizes the need for students to have more interactive classrooms. Instead of the standard desks, there can be minimal desks and then more areas designated for exploring. Or even comfort areas with soft seating and technology.
Something else very helpful is learning to use a smartboard to its full potentional. As opposed to just being used as a projector, teachers can use smartboards to create a whole other dimension within the classroom. They can have activities for the whole class to do and have students come up and interact with this technology to show their thinking and creativity.
As Bob Pearlman says all students have different capabilities and they have varying abilities from what their parents had when they were younger. Instead of keeping with the old ways, teachers should be open to change and new ideas. They should go out and learn about all the possible ways of including the 21st century world into their classrooms so that students can relate and be exposed to the things that are surrounding them outside of the school.
Learning is ongoing, for both students and teachers- and it is something that doesn’t occur in isolation from the rest of the world!
Further reading of references – http://www.bobpearlman.org/Learning21/New%20Learning%20Environments%20for%2021st%20Century%20Skills.PDF