Is the classroom a place of the past?

Is the classroom outdated, a thing of the past? What a contentious question! And asking teachers too!  Perhaps the word classroom is, but as a collaborative space a place where students are brought together to learn (in what ever shape of form we see it) NO.  As I envision the future I think back to all those sci-fi movies and predictions. It fills me with horror to think that students might be sitting in their bedroom learning over the internet and through online spaces. Sure it will be self paced, self directed and highly game-based, PBL and CBL, but it won’t be social.  There won’t be parallel play, there won’t be name calling and dealing with difficult others.  So now that’s off my chest, may moment of ARGH…. What do I think the future of education and technology in education holds?
There is no doubt that educational practices are changing through technology. I its not just technology in the hands of our learners it is technology and the opportunity for collaboration world wide that lies firmly in the hands of educators.  From a purely personal point of view I look at how technology has changes and informed as a teacher. As a teaching students we would hit the volumes library and pour over journals, you know the paper kind.  It took effort and organisation to learn about current and innovative teaching styles.  My conversations were with my peers and my professors, and maybe the odd ‘real teacher’.  When I think about my learning now, even this course, the online world of journal, research, websites and blogs are at my finger tips.  I can strike up a conversation with any online teaching professional in the world.  This past summer I completed my first PTC course and each day we had a ‘tip from the trenches’ a real live teaching professional who let us know how the theories we were learning about in the classroom translated into practices.  These professionals Skyped in from all over the world, from Singapore, Thailand, Africa, America, on place was out of bounds and we could see what these lessons looked like in real life and varied contexts. This is the now of education and it excites me for the future.
So I can see how technology is impacting education in a positive way.  What will or learning environments look like in the future, hard to say.  In a previous post it shocked me to think about how tech is being integrated and how we are still basing our ideas and theories on research published in the 80’s.  I know we have moved on but just how much? Perhaps we are suffering from ‘attention blindness’ (Davidson, 2011).
Perhaps I’m thinking too big, I’m thinking flying cars when I should be thinking flying skateboards.  I wonder about the kinds of computers that we will be using, how we will be communicating.  I think that John Spencer has simplified  the future of education in that its about handing the learning over to the students.  More and more we are inspired to give our students the teaching reins and follow their interests and desires.  I see the future of education in the hands of the learners.  As teachers we need to learn how to harness the power of our students devices.  In my opinion, BYOD is certainly a way forward, there is nothing better than using what you know – I know that I am far more comfortable using my own computer, it’s set up the way I like it, it has the extensions that I use the most often etc…
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Much of the research on tech integration relies on technology being a part of our environment, that means that devices need to be close to hand, allowing students to use them when they are needed – not 2.30pm on Thursday because that is when the computer slot is.  One – to one programs are becoming far more popular and they really work.
Here are 10 reasons to have a BYOD classroom:
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Will education as we know it change because of technology?  Yes, I am sure that it will.  However what I really hope changes is initial teacher training. I hope more teachers will embrace technology and allow students to bring their own devices to school, using them is a variety of authentic situations. I hope that all teachers and school embrace the positive benefits of technology and, as Cofino, 2011, terms it we are all viewed as Technology teachers. She make parallels with the fact that is it now recognised in the diverse global classroom that we are all ESL teachers that there is little room for ‘computer class’ and that technology is an environmental thing.
“Students and teachers should expect that technology will naturally be a part of every class.” Cofino, 2011
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