For all of the advancements in education technology over the years, the basic classroom model hasn’t changed that much, has it? Teachers lecture and students listen. But recent developments have started to tweak those roles, potentially sending us down a road where students can access the whole world from their classroom and are in direct control of their education.
A number of new tech trends have started to change how we think about classroom dynamics. A one-to-one tablet program, for instance, puts education in the hands of students. Contained within these devices are all the learning materials that students will realistically need such as texts, videos, audio files and coursework. If they do need to get additional materials, the tablets’ wireless connectivity allows them to hop on the internet and search them out. These features could potentially give students the freedom to self-direct their studies with teachers providing guidance.
Adaptive learning classroom software can take this idea one step further. By analyzing students’ skill, performance and learning comprehension levels, these tools could provide them with customized learning experiences, choosing assignments and test questions based on the students’ progress. In addition to creating a customized education program for students, adaptive learning could alter the traditional role of teachers as well. They would no longer need to lead a generalized lesson plan for dozens of students, but would be free to offer guidance and support to those who struggled.
Signs pointing to the future?
Some education thinkers see these subtle changes as the seeds of the future of the classroom. Author Nikhil Goyal recently suggested that the spread of mobile devices loaded with adaptive software could one day unshackle students from the confines of the classroom, allowing them to pursue their education from anywhere. He also thinks that by 2020, the role of teachers will have completely switched from education provider to support network.
“We would have city- and community-as-a-school models,” Goyal said. “Tapping into that potential, young people would be given the full reins over their learning, and teachers would transform into guides and mentors. School would turn into another public space, like a library, a museum, or a community center.”
Whether Goyal’s vision of the future is right or wrong, it’s undeniable that the traditional classroom model is changing. New tech developments allow students to pursue more personalized learning experiences and give teachers the freedom to give more support to those who need it. Goyal’s future may be pure science fiction, but the classroom is definitely becoming more customizable, which is great for both teachers and students.
What do you think the future holds for the classroom? Are we moving toward a more individualized learning experience for students? Leave us a message in the comments section below or contact us directly on our Facebook page!