10 ways to reinvent a traditional classroom
Millennials are students now and since they were born into technology and have never seen a world without computers and smartphones, it’s easier for them to perceive a world where day to day life is naturally dominated by technology. If that be so, how is it that the classrooms they are educated in, still belongs to an older era? Students, as we know them, attain a lot of information from online sources. However, this information needs streamlining and validation from learned educators. Despite this need of the hour, there is a grim resistance from institutions in reforming the current classroom setup. Let’s go through a few suggestions which can be adopted to dramatically upgrade a traditional classroom to a smart classroom in order to match the requirements of this age.
1. Accommodate Technology: As a progressive institution, your first need is to become accommodative of technology in a classroom. You can begin by getting your hands on the basic tools, for example, a projector, an internet connection, and a digital document reader, like Spark View. With these products, you wean away students from the traditional chalk-blackboard set up. There might be hurdles in the beginning, for example running the equipment, getting used to explaining concepts via images and videos. However, after overcoming the initial road-blocks and some hands-on experience of these devices, they can take you to the next stage; adopting more sophisticated technology for your students.
2. Advanced Educational Tools: Now that you’ve gotten a hang over the basic devices, it’s time to adopt more interactive and helpful technologies into your classroom. The Spark devices provide classrooms with an array of EdTech solutions which allow students and teachers to interact, collaborate and learn new concepts every day. The devices have built-in Wi-Fi and an app like AskEins, an efficient teaching assistant, that cuts down the teacher’s efforts to half by helping him or her instantly create lesson plans, fetch relevant audio-visual data for classes and preparing test material according to the need of the curriculum.
3. Optimise engagement: So, you’ve decided to introduce educational technology to your classroom and slowly you’re getting a hang of it, but how far has it helped your students interact with you, and more importantly with each other? Any good EdTech will allow your wards to freely voice their doubts, question each other, understand complex concepts, bring up fresh perspectives and provide feedback about the lesson being discussed in class. Many educators are afraid to give up control of a discussion to the students; however, that is how the symbiotic relationship between a teacher and a student grows. Class specific tables like Spark Prodigy and Spark Inspire, for the student and the teacher, respectively, allow everyone in the class interact on one platform in real-time. With all students pitching in and you monitoring the level of frankness in class, the focus remains on what is important: sharing knowledge.
4. Emphasize on collaborative-learning: While the conducting-lecture-taking-notes structure is becoming a thing of the past, collaborative learning is gaining popularity. In this format the teacher incubates a situation in which students come together to find answers to questions, conduct research and provide conclusions, or innovate solutions to a given task. They reflect and ideate on a common platform to arrive at a mutual understanding of topics in the curriculum. This process not only helps them remember better and form lasting friendships in class, but it also helps the become tolerant to new ideas and grow individually. Exclusive educational technologies aid this kind of scenarios where the mentor usually just guides and supervises the student as he or she learns concepts through combined efforts; Spark is one such line of educational solutions.
5. Effective individual growth: If you wish to mold the innovators of the future, who aim to make a difference in the world, they will need to work on their personality and grow as an individual. Mentors must treat students with the values they wish to see them imbibe. If students are treated with kindness, trust and respect in a classroom, they obviously feel valued and empowered enough to make sound choices and have the capability to make the right decisions. This provides a healthy environment for retrospections; providing them with the tools to collaborate, innovate and function well, both individually and in teams. The environment in the classroom should focus on getting students excited about learning; this is half the work done.
6. Speed of learning: As educators, you all can agree that everyone has a different pace of learning. But a traditional classroom has no place for students with a slow pace or special needs; all institutions are busy focusing on preparing students for the competition that is outside, in the real world. Thanks to novel teaching tools, like most of the Spark devices which are powered by Eins.ai, come with the option of remote access to an on-going class or a save class option, which allows you to save the classes you have conducted for your future reference or for students to check out in case they’ve missed something, need to go over a concept multiple times or just want to revise before a test. The remote access works well with students who, with your permission, can attend a class you are conducting if they’re ill or are on leave. Saved classes can be accessed on My Cloud and you can share it with your students who have different paces of learning so that all your students, average and geniuses alike, can perform well.
7. Blended learning: You must be thinking, is adopting technology going to rid a classroom of books, charts, notebooks, homework, and parent-teacher meetings? Is it the end of sturdy, tried-and-tested, and established methods of teaching? Plunging into the unknown is daunting. These inhibitions may come to life if you’re adopting inefficient educational tools with interfaces so complex, teaching seems like an uphill climb. Spark devices, on the other hand, can make you class-ready in no time. The interface and the apps are so user-friendly that the device easily blends into the environment. However, Spark doesn’t encourage you to completely get rid of homework or even notebooks. You can use both traditional teaching methods with such technology; a concept called blended learning. Blended learning allows you to control the ratio of technology and other teaching methods being used in class. While you can explain the concept of aerodynamics, you can show them videos of how planes fly. They can thereafter pose questions on the same platform as provided by Spark Inspire or Spark Touch.
8. Do more with less: Now you may be a little excited to get a few additions to your classroom. But don’t just rush in yet! You have a fixed budget and you want to get as many things as possible, which may (or may not) enhance the way you teach in class. Quality always trumps quantity. So, while you may think of getting an average set of devices; more often than not they will come with a nest of chords, tricky interfaces, peculiar interdependent software-hardware setups, etc. With that budget, you can get one of the Spark solutions. Each of these devices, be it Spark Touch, Spark Hub or Spark Inspire, comes with several but specific attributes which you may specify to be important for your class. However, every Spark solution ensures that your class can connect, collaborate, learn and have curated content at their disposal. You don’t need everything on the rack, you can, after all, do more with less.
9. Focus on stem subjects: Stem stands for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. While the opportunity market is inclusive of candidates from all walks of life, the innovators of the future need to keep in touch with these subjects in order to contribute to society. As a community, we must give students an opportunity to be innovative in school. With interactive technology in place in a classroom environment where understanding concepts become easier with visuals and projects which involves team-work, STEM subjects will become more commonplace than being perceived as difficult subjects which require a lot of effort.
10. Enhancing administrative efficiency: Apart from students and teachers as the major stakeholders in the educational sector are the parents and the administration. They are also included in the process. Spark products also take these two parties into consideration and involve them in tracking the type of learning that is happening in the realms of a classroom. Administration can track the quality of education by garnering feedback, handle classroom logistics, record the status of the curriculum and provide answers to parents who’re always inquisitive of how their ward is doing in class. If a technology can help the administration with these numbers and information, they can focus more on other pressing issues in hand like the safety of students and staff in schools and universities.