3 Thoughts for Classrooms of the Future

Everyone is talking about the classroom of the future. Joel Rose of School of One points out that while we’ve made great strides creating blended learning models such as the flipped classroom or the rotational model, each lacks at least one core pillar of a truly effective future learning environment.

The pillars include:

  1. Personalized Learning
  2. Live Teacher Instruction
  3. Digital Automated Instruction

I would also throw in

4. Peer-to-peer Learning

5. Discovery Learning

6. Discussion-based learning

Including them all in one classroom of the future is a tall order. It can’t necessarily be done in the traditional classroom structure we are so accustomed to and take for granted today.

Here are some reimagined ways models could, or currently are, pushing the frontier of effective blended learning.

Self-directed learning and playlists

Summit Schools is pioneering a blended learning model where students self-direct their progress toward mastering content. The main avenue students use are highly manicured learning playlists. These, like the rotational model, facilitate 1) and 3). Combined with a teacher dashboard, playlists could also enable 2), and with some extra-special curation and planning could even create 5) and 6).

Flexible groupings

Rose states, “It’s nearly impossible for teachers to identify what each student has worked on that day [on online automated instruction] and immediately plan a live instructional lesson to reinforce that specific lesson.” So basically, automated instruction liberates learning such that students can progress at drastically different paces. I’ve seen cases, such as classes using Front Row, where the top third of the class can move ahead a year’s worth of math instruction in 3-4 weeks, while the bottom third may take much longer. Should they all be in the same class with the same teacher for the semester or school year? Probably not. Introducing classroom mobility where students can graduate from room to room based on their progress could help integrate 2) more fluidly into a rotation type model that already does 1) and 3) well.

Peer feedback

Fact: Students are more engaged by their peers than their teachers. In the past, facilitating great student-to-student feedback systems was only the penchant of master teachers. Such practitioners weaved together intricate systems whereby students could interact daily and help each other without dissolving into a chaotic classroom or needing immediate direction from the teacher. With technology, this can happen in a much more seamless manner, requiring less coordination. With the majority of students’ work captured within a device, students wouldn’t have to get up and move around (worrying some teachers about their delicate balance of classroom management). They could just send their work over to another student, even during quiet work time. With a combination of the ideas mentioned by others above, now we can throw 4) into the mix.

So what does this mean for Classkick? Well we certainly want to support your classrooms of the future, so we want to hear from you! Which of the 1) through 5) is most important to you? Are there are a 7), 8) and 9) that we need to consider? What other methods do you use to blend these into your students’ learning each day?