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My Vision of the 21st Century Classroom

Here are some of the thoughts I have about creating the 21st century classroom:

  • To develop the 21st century classroom, teachers need to adjust the way they teach and how they engage their students in learning activities. The teacher becomes a facilitator of learning rather than a person who just passes on information.
  • 20th century classroom is to 21st century classroom as is web 1.0 to web 2.0. The 21st century classroom is interactive, inquiry based, collaborative, concept driven, motivating, reflective, etc. Information technology can be used to create such a classroom, but it's not what drives it.

Access

Yesterday's Vision 

The main computer resources need to be focused on internet access in the classroom. Quick and easy access to online resources supports inquiry-based learning. Maybe these computers don't need much software at all. Free or inexpensive Web 2.0 applications (eg. google docs, zoho or photoshop online) might be able replace many of the desktop based applications). Less expensive computers = more computers = more access.

 

Today's Reality

Say hello to the iPad (or whatever else works like it)! It allows easy access to the internet and is much less expensive than an desktop computer or laptop. The vision, though, is not quite complete. I have access to a few iPads at a time, but my real goal is to have at least one device available for every group of 4 students. One to one computer access is not really what I am looking for. There is also value in students sharing and collaborating on projects.

   

Collaboration

 

Yesterday's Vision

Students need a platform that allows them to work on projects collaboratively (ex. http://www.thinkquest.org)

Today's Reality

Students sharing and using technology to collaborate on the IB PYP Exhibition project.

   

Communication

Yesterday's Vision

There is a need for students (even at an elementary level) to communicate with peers not just within the classroom or the school, but globally. We need some sort of messaging system for students to do that (https://www.gaggle.net, for example)

Today's Reality

To communicate with students and parents safely and effectively, Schoology is a great tool. It is a grade book, lesson planner, social networking, project site, testing tool and much more. The need to communicate since yesterday's vision has not changed, but the tools to do so have changed dramatically over the last few years.

   

Staff Development

It all starts and ends with proper staff development. We need technology integration specialists housed in each building that can assist teachers in developing new technology-based strategies that help them become more effective. This is just as much (or even more) about strategies than it is about software and hardware. Teachers need to be encouraged and rewarded for creating the 21st century classroom.

Teacher Collaboration and Communication Tools

Tools for teachers are just as essential (ex. http://www.google.com/a/help/intl/en/edu/index.html).

Flexibility

Classroom Furniture Idea 1
Vision

Hardware and software is outdated fast. We need flexible and inexpensive systems to allow us to change quickly.

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