Technology has arrived to change the future of education forever. It is one of the most rigid institutions in society, but there are a number of tools that, if well used, can be very useful for educational purposes.
As has been happening in almost all areas of our lives, technology has arrived to change forever, including that of education. As one of the most rigid institutions in society, it is not at all easy for the changes that are occurring to take shape in the short or medium term. However, the technological revolution of the last decades, and especially the advances of the last few years, provide a good number of tools that, if well exploited, can be very useful for educational purposes.
Video games, applications, and platforms for solving homework or communicating with parents, flexible spaces that adapt to the needs of increasingly collaborative work, and even robots that correct tests and send feedback almost in real time are some of the many changes that are being implemented and are coming, here and in the world. We were investigating what the main lines within what is the evolution of the educational system are, and this is what we found.
1. Children as protagonists
Children as protagonists are the main premise from which almost all educational and technological changes are derived. The model of the child sitting on a bench with a teacher who explains how things work is obsolete. Not only because children have at hand, on the Internet, many of the answers to their questions and unlimited information but also because their minds need to be constantly stimulated. The idea of solving problems that challenge them, and applying concepts from the curriculum, is much more appealing than sitting as passive subjects.
2. From teacher to coach
The roles of student/teacher are modified, with the latter becoming more of a coach-facilitator-moderator than a subject who transmits knowledge to others. In fact, this knowledge tends to be built collaboratively and is not focused on the individual.
3. Project work
By focusing on the child as the subject of knowledge, work is no longer exclusively subject-based but project-based, applying their knowledge to real contexts and bringing design thinking into play.
4. Flipped classrooms
Flopped classrooms: this model of inverted classrooms is a trend. It changes the focus of teaching: instead of prioritizing the teacher’s exposition in the classroom and sending homework to be put into practice, children watch at home through videos the theoretical explanation of the topics, and it is in the classroom where they apply that knowledge through exercises and proposals. In this way, video platforms make better use of class time.
5. New paradigm, new spaces
Collaborative and team learning, the irruption of screens in the classroom, and project-based work bring about a resounding change in both the furniture and the layout of learning spaces, as well as in the infrastructure of advanced institutions. Some schools no longer have computer labs as mobile devices move technology to where students go, and special rooms are reserved for multimedia, video editing, and graphic design labs.
Others, on the other hand, transform what used to be computer rooms into maker spaces where “doing” is in charge and digitalized classrooms with 3D printing, scanners, robotics, and even virtual reality. In many cases, the classrooms become more flexible, allowing them to be expanded to integrate with other grades, move tables to create authentic community spaces, and dismantle them. In this way, work can be developed in the same course that requires some students to be at tables, others at poufs navigating on digital tablets, and others at mouse tables using other devices.
6. Class times change
The time periods in which subjects take place also tend to become more flexible since project work requires other times. At the same time, the traditional classroom is complemented by the virtual classroom, so that the notion of time is also disrupted and goes beyond the limits of the classroom. The time required for content to be transmitted virtually can transform the requirements of between 40 minutes and an hour of the traditional system to pieces of only 8 to 12 minutes in which specific concepts are addressed. Technology is at the service of being able to learn more in less time.
7. Learning to learn
Children need to be taught how to learn by equipping them with skills that will serve them throughout their lives to solve different types of problems. These skills are critical thinking, metacognition (understanding the thought processes that occur), deduction, writing and reading popular essay topics and inference. All of this is important in a context in which self-study is a central and growing trend with the explosive development of MOOCs (massive open online courses already offered by many universities) and at a time when knowledge is always at hand (through textbooks, videos, and e-learning).
8. Personalized learning
Although the tendency is to work in a collaborative mode, at the same time, there is a personalization of teaching according to the level and interests of each student. This is achieved thanks to the systematization of student information through “learning analytics,” through apps and platforms where teachers can have a detailed record of each student and share it with their peers, and dashboards that allow them to see where each student is in the learning process and with respect to the general group.
9. Stimulation and gamification
The maxim that “school is boring” is being left behind. Making use of the devices to which they are accustomed, duplicating even video game modalities, such as prizes, medals, scores (what is called “gamification”), and even the creation of educational escape rooms, generates novel (and necessary) incentives and engaging ways to get students interested in continuous learning.
Textbooks, encyclopedias, and notebooks coexist with screens and digital devices. And, although both formats are likely to persist for some time, the truth is that the trend is for there to be fewer and fewer encapsulated supports, which tend to homogenize in printed and linear formats, to give way to curricular translations and platforms that propose new ways of presenting educational content in a personalized way.
11. Farewell to the ratio?
It is likely that this practice, which has left us with so many anecdotes, will be left behind. It happens that today many schools manage communication with parents through apps that report grades, schedule changes, homework, student info, and, yes, absences, that precious good that we had the power to manage with discretion.
12. Comprehensive training
The objective of empowering students is directly linked to the stimulation of creativity. In this context, formal and informal learning are perfectly combined, an area in which issues related to art, yoga, music, breathing techniques and the importance of healthy eating, care for the environment, and an education-oriented towards sustainability are seen. In this way, education is enriched by addressing the different spheres of reality, and the children learn to see everything from a different perspective.
Ode to recreation
By Laura Lewin. Author, trainer, and TEDx speaker.
The same class and recess schedules have always been used when, in reality, children’s times are no longer the same. Recess is the perfect opportunity to recharge their batteries and release tension. But, of course, not much can be done in 10 minutes. Let’s agree that a classroom with students who don’t concentrate, are distracted, or don’t listen to each other is not very productive. What if we thought of alternatives? Shorter classes and longer recesses can surprise any teacher and manager. Forty-five minutes of class, followed by fifteen minutes of recess, yields incredible results: more focused, more attentive, more energized students, and better-consolidated content. But what is recess for? It has many benefits, in addition to giving students a chance to take a break:
- From the socioemotional: children, through play, learn to communicate, negotiate, compete, handle the frustration of a lost game, solve problems, and improve their creativity and imagination.
- Recreational: children can run, play and move, which helps them to release tension and reduce stress.
- From the physical: moving, besides being good for health, helps cognitive processes. You have to move to learn better.
But recess also offers options for learning. Organizing “active recess” can help the school to organize and capitalize on this important leisure time. But, of course, if we have had the same playgrounds for centuries, where is creativity? Through pre-established stations, children can choose to play “CORRIDORS”: from something more sporty (soccer, volleyball, or climbing walls), to something more cognitive (board games), to a dance, music, choreography or construction station (with wood, for example). Inclusive playgrounds capitalize on space and playtime and are great for children who need more help integrating, offering a range of options.