Classroom 2.0: How it affects 21st-Century educators

Technology is changing education. It's becoming more collaborative and portable. It's opening doors to what teachers and students can do. How is your classroom changing?

Technology is changing education. It’s becoming more collaborative and portable. It’s opening doors to what teachers and students can do. How is your classroom changing?

(This post is written by Lucas Blackburn, a graduate student, part-time educator and freelance writer for Techie Doodlers. He has successfully finished numerous courses on Coursera and edX to satisfy his hunger for learning. Contact him via Twitter or add him on Google+.)

The teaching model not too long ago looked like this: a man or a woman shooting a stream of information towards an attentive class.

This paradigm was the classic setup even decades and centuries ago. Ancient Greeks, Chinese, and Arabs utilized this ‘master to masses’ education method.

Fast forward to 2013 and we see a massive change. New media, mainly consisting of the Internet, upgraded traditional learning to a whole new level.

We are now learning inside Classroom 2.0.

Learning anytime, anywhere

Advances in the tech sector directly affected the educational landscape. For example, when the popularity of the iPad skyrocketed to unprecedented levels, the education sector was one of the first industries to quickly note its potential. New models such as the 1:1 (or one tablet for one student) arose. In 2013, a number of technological innovations upgraded traditional learning into what we now call Classroom 2.0.

The education of students was affected by new advances in consumer-level mobile computing technology, such as:

  • Tablets
  • Smartphones
  • Lightning-fast cellular data networks
  • Digital audio and video communication (like voice over Internet Protocol)

The encompassing theme here is mobility and ease of access. Technology was made more accessible to everyone. Thus, teachers and students alike were given a key to a chest of information, benefiting the pursuit of learning.

Additionally, applications and software which are designed for mobile use provide new opportunities for learning. Known as Web 2.0 (or Classroom 2.0) apps, these are easily installed and used on mobile devices. Skype, Facetime, Google Drive, and Pinterest are some examples of these apps.

Visual stimulation

New media is a visual medium. Tech manufacturers emphasize the displays on their devices because we are a visual generation.

“We know that 75 percent of students are visual learners,” said Robert Castellano, principal of J. P. Case Middle School in a report by Verizon this year. “Technology is something they use every day so we wanted to tap into what they are already doing and use that as a springboard to enhance learning.”

J. P. Case Middle School is among the first schools in the country to fully adapt the Classroom 2.0 paradigm. Teachers in this school post YouTube videos as course refreshers that anyone can view anytime. Students follow their teachers on social media. In fact, Twitter and Facebook are the common mediums of choice for announcing homework and projects.

“We would be doing our students an injustice if we didn’t recognize that and have technology come alive for them in the classroom,” Castellano said.

The future is collaboration

The evolution seemed to be from the traditional to the digital, and then to the mobile.

In the future, it will not be enough that learning is portable and can be accessed without hassle. It should be collaborative.

One great example is our traditional encyclopedia. Series of bulky books were replaced by four-part or six-part CD roms (Microsoft’s popular 90’s Encarta program).

In turn, the information in these devices are readily accessed through the Internet. Encyclopedic apps were introduced, and now we have Wikipedia – a collaborative effort of Internet users to build a database on everything that ever existed.

Learning the traditional way should follow this path. Tools for teaching become digitized and portable. Geography is no longer a hindrance for communication in learning. Collaborative learning will flourish when Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) guidelines are improved and technology takes more strides towards Internet security.

We are living in an age where we see the influx of new students in Facebook more than any other. Their social nature will bring about a welcome change of pace in the teaching environment where communication lines are open and widespread. The ultimate goal of the educator is to manage these lines. Social media and proper guidance, coupled with productivity and collaboration, lead to a hugely successful learning experience for everyone involved.

How are you adapting in the changing state of the classroom? Tell us in the comments section below.

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