How do you think some of the trends, challenges, and future technologies will impact the future of education? Will 21st century classes need to change? If so, describe how the learning environment might look different
Education is an organism like any animal or plant. And just as plants and animals have to adapt to their changing surroundings and evolve, so does our educational system. In a few generations, lecture-style classes will seem as boring, inefficient, and ineffective as they feel to students today (a little joke-although there are undoubtedly better ways to relay information than simply shouting at students). With the advent of Web 2.0 technology pertaining to informal and individual education, most notably MOOCs (massive open online courses), formal education will need to strive to compete with informal education. Classrooms in the 21st century can still function as a viable learning tool, but only if teachers focus on using the classroom not to teach the subject matter, but to elaborate on it.
The new classroom would be more akin to what we know now as a ‘flipped’ classroom. Students will use the technology available to them (Skype, WebAssign, something similar to eLC, YouTube, blogging/forum sites like WordPress or Edmodo, etc. etc. etc.) to learn the lesson on their own time. They will watch the videos that their professors will send them on their own time, and when the class meets as a whole, the students will work on ‘homework’ problems and discuss harder concepts together. In effect, there will be no silent lecture classes with projects out of class-the classroom will be lively and full of chatter as the students help each other out.
To accomodate this change in learning and teaching styles, the classroom will have to have an arrangement that is conducive to learning, such as movable desks for rearrangement or a circle format for Socratic seminars. The classroom will need to ditch the big chalkboards in the front of the room, and instead opt for individualized boards that many students can write on in their small groups. Gone away are the days of hand-raising-everything from attendance to class participation to sharing ideas would be done through the use of clickers or beeper systems. While these changes may come as a shock to the teachers of today, education has made may leaps and bounds from its humble origins-remember when one schoolmarm tried to command a one-room schoolhouse of dozens of students of different ages? We will move forward with education, and make sure that no child is ever truly left behind.