Classrooms Of The Future

Classrooms Of The Future
By C Hoppe
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What will the educational experience be like in five years’ time?

This is the question fastcompany.com asked some of the world’s most innovative education companies... and you might be surprised by the answers.

While work-spaces and job-roles have evolved beyond all recognition over the past 30 years, classrooms and teaching methodology have really changed very little. OK, the chalkboard might have gone, but most concepts are still very much the same.

Joe Williams, executive director of Democrats for Education Reform says, “with some exciting exceptions, public schools are one of the few institutions in modern life that have not seen radical changes spurred by technology. I’m not talking about having computers in classrooms, but rather a lack of any seismic shift in the way things are done because technology is making the work easier or more efficient."

 

Remote Interaction

Hadley Ferguson, executive director of the Edcamp Foundation, says this is set to change, “kids will reach out beyond the walls of their classrooms to interact with other students, other teachers, and renowned authors, scientists, and experts to enhance their learning," she says.

 

Top Teachers

However, the experts do agree that any new developments will still require the input of great teachers.

Jake Schwartz, CEO and co-founder of General Assembly, predicts, "‘Online’ is not a cure-all for education issues in this country, but it can help provide greater access to new skills training. This is powerful when combined with curricula and programming created and led by practitioner educators. The human factor is always important," he says.

 

Higher Education Changes

Student debt, sky-rocketing living costs and stiff workforce competition will all drive significant change in tertiary education.

Jake Schwartz, CEO and co-founder of General Assembly says, “this will help to force an innovation drive with an un-bundling of degree offerings. The sector will see a shift towards more relevant competency-based programs and aggressive competition for students. The education-employment gap will force higher educators to think creatively about how to offer the training students need for a workforce that desperately needs them.

Shannon May, co-founder of Bridge International Academies says, “today, diplomas granted by years in school are the dominant certification of ‘learning.’ Yet, in almost all cases, these diplomas certify nothing other than the fact that the person in question spent x years in school. Competency-based certifications testing specific skills, and bundling individual skills into professional groupings will become a global currency for both employers and job seekers."

 

Forced Adaption

Globalisation, urbanization and the shift of economic dominance and population from West to Asia will require change and adaption to keep pace. To compete, Western schools will need to improve maths and science.

"For schools of all types, content or curriculum will not be the core differentiator, but rather they will be judged on how well they coordinate complex offerings into a useful package for their students and graduates," says Schwartz.

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