Earlier today I was looking through my ‘camera roll’ on my smartphone and found a bunch of pictures that I had saved from a couple of months ago of what I predicted to be ‘the future learning spaces of the 21st century’. And boy have my predictions changed…
Prior to undertaking the online unit EDFD459: Learning Spaces, I understood the future of learning on a quite superficial level. I predicted that technologies would continue and continue to evolve and modernize and learning would no longer even have to take place in a typical school environment- everything would be driven by TECHNOLOGY.
In a way you could say my understandings were somewhat ignorant and oblivious to the ‘bigger picture’- our environment. I didn’t consider how our resources were not limitless and they would inevitably deplete, at the expense of our environment. I rarely thought about the endless benefits of learning THROUGH nature and working towards a sustainable future. Instead my vision was blurred by technology- children were indoors sitting on fancy futuristic furniture using fancy futuristic computers.
I have really begun to see the future of education through a new lens. I now see children with their gumboots on getting muddy, digging and gardening, feeding animals, and learning about sustaining the earth. Yes we live in the ‘digital age’ but rather than using and abusing these resources and damaging our earth, educators can redirect learning to focus on sustainability by using (not depending on) technology as a tool to help achieve it. Technology is so powerful and can be so effective and engaging, so if used collaboratively and efficiently, I am hopeful that the ‘future of learning’ can ultimately improve our world.
I invite you all to visit my ‘page’ on Future Learning Spaces for more information on how the future of learning might look in the year 2063.
Teachers Training International. (2013). Two Different Views Of The Classroom Of The Future? [Digital Image]. Retrieved from: http://teacherstraining.com.au/two-different-views-of-the-classroom-of-the-future/
A great example of Open Plan Learning put into practice at Twickenham Academy.
Learning in the 21st Century
Education Technology Specialists. (2013). Why Open Plan Learning Spaces? [Digital Image]. Retrieved from http://edtechs.com.au/products/why-open-plan-learning
The electronic learning space is something that if embraced and used effectively, can really bring learning to a more dynamic and stimulating level. From a pre-service teacher’s perspective, the incorporation of ICT within the classroom should be authentic and purposeful rather than simply being a means to occupy students.
It is certainly one thing to get excited over the limitless opportunities that this abundance of new technologies provides us with, but it is another to carefully examine the purposes and benefits of some of these tools for their use and relevance in a classroom setting. From some research I have undertaken on this topic, I have discovered that a fundamental element in the incorporation of ICT (whether it be using applications on an iPad or activities on an interactive whiteboard) is the ‘collaboration’ component. This doesn’t mean talking to the student next to you about the game you just played but rather refers to a deeper level of learning where students are given the opportunity to perhaps share their own work and interact with lesson content via their own devices (i.e. iPad) (Murray & Olcese, 2011).
Ultimately, if teachers only intend on providing students with an excess of animated maths games or literacy activities that are well below the students’ capabilities (more than likely used as a means of babysitting or keeping the students occupied), then it is unlikely that the incorporation of such ICT will become revolutionary within the education system any time soon. HOWEVER, if WE start to look at these interactive technologies with a much more collaborative approach then perhaps we really could start a revolution in our classrooms.
Murray, O., & Olcese, N. (2011). Teaching and Learning with iPads, Ready or Not? TechTrends, 55(6), 42-48.