Learning looks so different now that it’s almost unimaginable to predict what the education / classroom instruction will look like in ten to twenty years time. Christiaan Henny from eLearning Industry attempted to have a stab at it here and below is a snippet. He states, “Students will be learning outside, equipped with different devices, listening to a teacher of choice. Skills will not be assessed on paper but based on their performance in the field.” Its certainly not 2001 Space Odyssey futuristic as some of these changes have already become changes that have already become common in the classroom but it is an overall shift from the current industrial approach.
The Future is Now
In another article, titled, The Classroom is Obsolete, It’s Time for Something New writer Prakash Nair proclaims that “The classroom is a relic, left over from the Industrial Revolution, which required a large workforce with very basic skills” Prakash then goes on to make mention of a “universal list of education design principles for tomorrow’s schools.” After poring over them and finding myself in agreement with the compilation, I couldn’t help but wonder how #FutureReady I was regarding my own teaching. Therefore I used these dozen design principals as an archetype for my own self assessment by looking for connections between each principle and what’s occurred in my Kindergarten classroom. They are as followed :
1) Personalized; I believe that this not only to the learning but also the student’s learning spaces. It’s important for us as educators to allow our students to have a voice and input in set up and design of the classroom. When you do this you develop student ownership and allow them to see that the classroom as an evolving organism that can be changed to best suit our learning needs.
— Nicholas K Garvin (@NicholasKGarvin) September 5, 2017
— Nicholas K Garvin (@NicholasKGarvin) September 5, 2017
— Nicholas K Garvin (@NicholasKGarvin) September 8, 2017
In addition, iTime offers my students with a chance to create and work on projects that they are personally passionate about.
— Nicholas K Garvin (@NicholasKGarvin) February 16, 2018
(2) Safe and Secure; Establishing class essential agreements and a communication charter has helped my students develop a culture of speaking freely and openly without judgement.
— Nicholas K Garvin (@NicholasKGarvin) October 11, 2017
— Nicholas K Garvin (@NicholasKGarvin) October 11, 2017
(3) Inquiry-Based; Packing an inquiry cycle (like Kath Murdoc’s for example) and discussing big ideas from the PYP patiences and persistence but once children become familiarized with the language through hands on experiences overtime they begin to use the language and make stronger connections.
— Nicholas K Garvin (@NicholasKGarvin) February 26, 2018
(4) Student-directed; The removal of the teachers desk in our classroom was a massive symbolic move that helped my students understand that learning just doesn’t only have to come from the teacher. By stressing that there is no center-point of the classroom, it wanted to make it clear that every spot in the room and every person in the room offers a unique and equal chance to learn something.
In addition, whenever I can I like to encourage and empower students to teach other students by sharing their discovers or prior knowledge with their peers.
— Nicholas K Garvin (@NicholasKGarvin) November 9, 2017
(5) Collaborative; When students from different grade levels come together to work on a common task it allows both parties involved to develop their interpersonal, organizational, and communication skills. Allowing older students to come and work with younger students, like depicted in the tweet below, also promotes empathy and the concept of perspective.
— Nicholas K Garvin (@NicholasKGarvin) September 21, 2017
(6) Interdisciplinary; Fluid learning Spaces, big ideas and open-ended questions with a conceptual based focus. Looking for learning in all aspect of our daily life. Transdisciplinary
— Nicholas K Garvin (@NicholasKGarvin) September 13, 2017
(7) rigorous and hands-on; To me this is about taking learning beyond the traditional four walls, making it multi-sensory, and authentic. At UWCT we’re fortunate to life amongst a lush outdoor learning environment, that we try to utilize as much as possible. In addition, I think it’s also about challenging students to step out of their comfort zone. This year, I’ve made a conscious effort to extend the learning beyond the classroom wall and through a variety of of kinesthetic learning opportunities.
#Kindergarten Ss transforming the #outdoor #learningspaces @UWCThailand. Repotting our long bean seedlings, developing an appreciation for #nature & raising awareness of #EnviroEd & #sustainability. #OutdoorEd #OutdoorClassroomDay #ibpyp #action pic.twitter.com/DXxX5FWNdS
— Nicholas K Garvin (@NicholasKGarvin) April 17, 2018
(8) Embodying a culture of excellence and high expectations; To me this is all about growth mindset. To help my students learn about perseverance and the beginning stages of adopting such a mindset, we started by watching and discussing this video about Austin’s Butterfly. If you haven’t seen it already, check it out. It’s great!
This year, I’ve also begin giving my students more opportunities for them to self-reflect on their own learning. Allowing the students to set their own goals and celebrate their individual learning accomplishments is an effective way to promote metacognition while maintaining high expectations.
#Kindergarten Ss take #ownership of their own #learning by self-reflecting on their #skills & creating new #Math & #Literacy goals for 2018. #ATL #SelfAssessment #Kinderchat #Kchatap #agency #ibpyp pic.twitter.com/Cf0Dbd4oh1
— Nicholas K Garvin (@NicholasKGarvin) November 22, 2017
(9) Environmentally conscious; This is a large part of our UWCT Mission Statement. Doing our part in the promotion sustainable development this year we’ve have created and installed a garden, a compost, and invited the Phuket Farmer’s Club to come in for a two work shop to teach us more about sustainable farming and development.
#Outdoorlearning w/ #Kindergarten Ss @UWCThailand #lookingclosely collecting & recording data, & developing an #appreciation for #nature @KinderFynes #enviroed @OutdoorClassDay pic.twitter.com/cdIi2beZ8G
— Nicholas K Garvin (@NicholasKGarvin) December 4, 2017
#Kinder Ss #inspired by #nature as they explore their immediate #environment. Making #math #art & #science #connections, while taking #learning #outside. #outdoorlearning #creativity #immagination #Kinderchat #getoutside #Outdoorplay #ibpyp pic.twitter.com/NY4RFSIA5X
— Nicholas K Garvin (@NicholasKGarvin) December 5, 2017
(10) offering strong connections to the local community and business;
I’m a big advocate for service learning. This year the Kindergarten students at UWCT have developed a pretty unique friendship with the elderly residents of the Phuket Nursing Home. It’s been a rewarding, authentic, and meaningful experience for everyone involved.
#Kindergarten Ss @UWCThailand being #caring, #creative, & #respectful at a local nursing home. Spreading some #holiday cheer as they co-construct oranments & begin to develop #empathy & #appreciation through #service #learning. #ibpyp #SEL #intergenerational #kindness pic.twitter.com/YEuR3B2hv6
— Nicholas K Garvin (@NicholasKGarvin) December 1, 2017
"How do our cookies taste?"#Kindergarten Ss @UWCThailand showcase their baking skills while collecting data & gathering feedback from the elderly at a local nursing home in #Phuket. Developing #transdisciplinary #skills & #empathy through #service #learning. #ibpyp #kindness pic.twitter.com/zgGe6qkKPh
— Nicholas K Garvin (@NicholasKGarvin) February 1, 2018
In addition, as mentioned above this year we’ve reached out to the Phuket Farmer’s Club to help them teach us how to transform our outdoor learning space into a place for sustainable farming.
Special thanks to the Phuket Farmers Club for an outstanding 2 days of #EnviroEd w/ #Kindergarten & #Preschool Ss @UWCThailand. Always great to see #earlyyears Ss engaged in authentic opportunities to develop an appreciation for #nature. #OutdoorEd #OutdoorClassroomDay #ibpyp pic.twitter.com/oi4uvjIXWu
— Nicholas K Garvin (@NicholasKGarvin) February 27, 2018
(11) Globally networked; Clearly this has been my biggest blindspot out of all the principles. I’ve thought it over many times but never got any Global Connections off the ground as from the participation in a few Padlets, a Global Read Aloud.
I do, however, think that my recent infatuation with Flipgrid will lead some to some big ideas centered around global connections. My students might be too young for the first ever #Flipgrid marathon but for anyone else interested have a look below!
Heather my team at #OurGlobalClassroom have just announced today the first ever #flipgrid 24 hour marathon on May 9th. Your kids just have to record 'I see a world in 2030…' following the lead of the #sdgs https://t.co/scKZYyOq0L we would love you & your Ss to join us. pic.twitter.com/BkB6OXGiER
— Bronwyn Joyce 🇦🇺 (@JoyceBronwyn) April 17, 2018
For those like me, who are still working out how to get started connecting your classroom, Kim Cofino has written a great piece titled “A step-by step Guide to Global Collaboration.” Have a look!
and (12) setting the stage for lifelong learning – It seems clear that the promotion of an interest in lifelong learning starts with the teacher tapping into the student’s passions then combining that with the above principles and allocating the right resources. Having said that, however, in this ever advancing age of information, how do you prepare students to become life long learners when we’re not sure how we will be teaching and learning in 5, 10, 15 years time?
So, back to what and how teaching might look like in ten to twenty years time?
Noticeably absent from both Christiaan Henny and Prakash Nair lists is any mention of virtual reality. VR and also, AR (augmented reality) is quickly making it’s way into classrooms world wide. I’ve dabbled with some AR apps myself namely Augment and AR Flashcards. Last year, through the use of Google Cardboard and Google Expeditions, I introduced VR to some of my Early Years students so we could do some exploring under the sea, for our unit of inquiry, Sharing the Planet. What difference a year makes now the Oculus Rift, and the HTC Vive are completly changing the game and taking VR to a whole new level. The VR arms race between Google and Apple is execrating a warp speed, both companies are primed to position themselves as the major players in the VR education.
The optimist in me thinks that virtual reality in the classroom will be blending together the best of the real world, the best of the internet and online applications. How we find and stratal that balance may be our biggest challenge yet.
The Great Beyond:
There’s no doubt we’re approaching the tipping point of the paradigm shift. Technology has advanced so rapidly that we as a society cannot keep up with it. The fusion of tech and our daily lives will grow more prevalent with each coming year. Personalized learning pods with the help of MOOCs and cloud computing will continue transcend traditional classrooms. Digital badges will also help further personalize and enhance the individual learning amongst students. Taken from the article Badges in Learning: Threading the Needle Between Skepticism and Evangelism David Theo Goldberg weighs the pros on cons of badges and states that “Badges in short are a means to enable and extend learning. They need not be behavioral lures so much as symbols of achievement, expressions of recognized capacity otherwise overlooked.“
The overarching concept here is that as we continue to equip ourselves and our students with the best resources and tools, the reality is, we cannot forget about our human connection. In order to best prepare for the future we must remain open-minded, adaptable, kind, caring, and curious so that we can embrace the imminent change of education together.
As the hardware and the software continue to develop VR bundles become more mainstream and more affordable, I could help but wonder:
How soon do these headsets become as common as a class set of ipads?
How will this immersive technology disrupt and already changing landscape?
In regards to Digital Badges, I want to explore more but I’m wondering how to make them relevant for Kindergarten students? Any ideas??