Classroom and educational trends have undergone significant changes over the course of the past decade, and these changes affect how classes operate as well as how the people in them interact with each other. One of the most striking deviations is the shift in classroom structure. Rather than placing instructors as the unquestionable authorities at the top of a classroom hierarchy and keeping them wholly separate from students, today’s teachers are encouraged to be a more integrated part of the classroom and to interact with the students. They are seen as colleagues meant to guide a student’s learning and accompany them on their educational journey. This new view of a teacher’s role has led to another important change regarding how classes operate.
Instead of structuring classes around the lecture of an expert in the field in question, where students take as many notes as possible and try to memorize the given information, they are now expected to take charge of their progress. Students are encouraged to view their instructors as mentors rather than encyclopedias, and utilize them as aids in the discovery process. Students have become their own teachers, in other words, and, with help from their instructors, are able to conduct research and educate themselves and others. One of the main factors driving this reimagining of the education industry is the collaboration between students, instructors, and today’s technology. This not only helps students to get a better education, but also allows them to learn early on how to take responsibility for their own actions – something they will need when they enter the workforce.
New Design and Collaboration
Not only do classrooms operate differently than they used to – they look differently than they used to. Educational institutions are increasingly turning to new layouts known as “flipped classroom” or “active learning” environments when designing facilities. These classrooms are meant to facilitate collaboration and often combine new software and audio-visual techniques that actively adapt to the changing technological trends of today. Interestingly, the same design principles that have guided the formation of new classrooms is now being utilized in conference room design as well. The focus on collaboration, from students as well as professionals is an increasingly dominant trend in today’s workplace and educational institutions. Of course, the vision would not be complete without the tools necessary to make the new layouts functional and innovative – luckily, there is no dearth of software and technology advancements that aim to tie together form and function.
Next-generation technology being developed and implemented in classrooms are aimed at facilitating active participation and supporting collaboration. The goal is that technology will be seen as a peer in the acquisition of education rather than a mere aid. Potential software systems being developed with this idea in mind are placing emphasis on interactive learning where students are presented with real-time suggestions designed to effectively direct their attention in ways that enhance the learning process. This process is particularly interesting when the possibilities for new problem-solving opportunities is considered: students can share their tablet screen by screen sharing software and project their information onto a main display where it can then be discussed and revised with the input of classmates and instructors, enabling that collaborative effort. The potential of this kind of technology does not end with simple screen mirroring. The screen sharing software can also be used to measure how engaged students are in the work, and how often they are sharing and revising their work with the rest of the class.
Technological progress is not a new idea, of course, nor is the ability to utilize different kinds of technology during both educational and professional meetings. The difference with today’s trends in education, however, is that the devices have moved from being a mere convenience – students utilizing an eReader instead of carrying around multiple books, for example, or a tablet where they can stay up-to-date on assignments even outside of the classroom – to being something truly revolutionary and necessary. Today’s technology is designed to make collaboration easy, be it across a board room table or across the globe, and also serves to enhance the acquisition of knowledge easy.
The changing face of education is fascinating in the rapidity and breadth of its transformation. Technology that is quickly becoming commonplace – the ability, for example, where students can share their tablet screen via a software – has the potential to further the idea of a collaborative classroom, and continues to revolutionize the way students learn and approach the world. Classrooms around the world are adapting to this new method of learning, helping students everywhere become more educated, valuable, and functional in today’s workforce.
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