New-age teaching methods, which are tech-centred and wholly compatible with the contemporary job market, are rendering traditional models of learning obsolete and transforming education worldwide.
Across the globe, education and training are transforming rapidly. As with all other sectors of the economy, technology has significantly disrupted the education landscape as well. Innovative technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, machine learning, data science and robotics have enhanced the
21st-century classroom, making the teaching process more efficient than ever before.
Thanks to technological intervention, the traditional textbook learning method is now almost obsolete. The era of many books and heavy bags is behind us and high-tech classrooms have taken the fore. Apart from technological integration, the new-age classroom has also evolved in terms of the way students are assessed and graded. So, what does a 21st-century classroom look like? The following is a look at some tech-integrated, new-age teaching methods.
A “flipped classroom” is an innovative classroom setup that moves away from the traditional lecture-style delivery of information. Instead, this classroom relies on questions, debates and activities. In a typical flipped setup, teachers provide the coursework to students beforehand and they are expected to read and draw conclusions on their own. Based on their understanding of the topic, students participate in discussions and the class then becomes an interactive session which is dedicated to clearing doubts and gaining a deeper understanding of the topic at hand.
Instead of giving homework, teachers give students research assignments through which students learn as much as they can about the topic to be dealt with the next day. Through this method, students arrive in class with some knowledge of the topic which they can build upon through the discussion that ensues. In a flipped classroom, teaching is transformed from knowledge transfer to knowledge expansion.
The purpose of education is to prepare students for the jobs landscape, and tradition pedagogies do not touch upon the new-age skills that are essential for professionals to succeed. In an increasingly competitive jobs landscape, it is essential to inculcate new-age skills right from elementary school. Therefore, a 21st-century classroom has dedicated skill-training periods. In these sessions, students are introduced to topics such as IoT, robotics, machine learning and more. Through such training, they can take on the increasingly tech-centric jobs landscape with the greatest of ease.
Apart from technological skills, students are also prepared for the corporate world by learning skills like team work, independent research, problem-solving, time management, business communication and critical thinking. These skills help students thrive in the corporate world without facing any challenges. Skill-based training also helps students become active learners with quick thinking skills.
Gamification is a break-through process that is being adopted by educators across the world. Simply put, this method turns learning into play, which is why it becomes easier for students to grasp concepts. A highly entertaining method of learning, gamification can take the form of rewards or points for completing tasks, educational video games or quiz competitions between students. Gamification makes learning an exciting prospect for children who are otherwise easily bored of the coursework. When students are motivated to learn, the learning outcomes are instantly better. Students will look forward to learning in a gamified classroom and their learning power will increase manifold.
A virtual whiteboard is one of the most interactive tools of technology-aided learning. Through a virtual whiteboard, the teacher can share videos, images and audio clips to help students understand any topic better. A majority of students grasp concepts better with audio-visual aids as compared to the simple spoken word. The level of information absorption and retention increases dramatically with such interactive teaching methods.
Through a virtual whiteboard, teachers can also facilitate virtual guest lectures wherein students can interact directly with industry experts, gaining first-hand knowledge about the topics they are learning. For their greater efficiency and convenience, virtual whiteboards have become the preferred choice for technologically-advanced institutes, making basic blackboards a thing of the past.
Learning management systems
Online learning platforms have become extremely popular in the new-age teaching scenario. Through such technologically driven systems, teachers are able to customise lessons for students according to their learning abilities. Further, these systems facilitate online assessment creation. These dynamic assessments are more intuitive and enable students as well as teachers to save time. Tracking the progress of students becomes much simpler once online assessments are put in place. Apart from tests and learning assignments, learning management systems also facilitate independent learning as students can use their own devices to access the learning platform.
One of the most pertinent challenges in the traditional classroom is that teachers set the pace of learning and many students might lag behind. Learning platforms allow students to learn at their own pace and retain information much better than they would in a classroom setting. Learning management systems are thus becoming common features in tech-centric classrooms.
The 21st-century classroom is not just about learning but also about doing. Teachers aim to help students retain information by working on practical projects. When students apply their learning to a hands-on project, they understand the topic on a much deeper level. The best way to carry out project-based learning in the classroom is by assigning two or more partners to a single project. This is because collaboration and team-playing are particularly important skills for the workplace and imbibing these into the students’ personalities at a young age can help them tremendously in the long run.
Collaboration is a common feature in a 21st-century classroom, which makes group projects the perfect way to help students learn. Additionally, creating and presenting projects before teachers and classmates can help boost the confidence of students, further preparing them for the competitive business landscape.
Evidently, the 21st-century classroom is high-tech and progressive both in teaching methods and in the thought process that goes behind the creation of these methods. By studying in a 21st-century classroom a student receives all-round development. It equips students with the knowledge and the confidence that can help them achieve their goals and thrive beyond their educational journey.
The author is vice chairman and managing director, Shemford & Shemrock Group of Schools