For decades, if you walked into a classrooms in Boston and elsewhere you would see the same thing: a teacher at the front of the room writing on a chalkboard and lecturing to students seated at desks with textbooks in front of them. Now classroom layouts and dynamics are changing rapidly.
Here are a few ways that the “classroom of the future” is finally here:
Schools are now making the switch from heavy texts and library books to electronic versions on tablets. While cost is the main driver of this move, electronic books also help schools offer the most up-to-date versions. Along with tablets, classrooms also need ways to keep these tables charged, synced and updated for everyday use. Here are some products they are using to manage these devices.
Schools are exploring ways to gets students AND staff on their feet more often. The American Medical Association recently announced that mounting evidence shows sitting around for long periods of time is unhealthy and has called on employers to find alternatives to help employees stay fit and healthy. But children are also at risk from unhealthy lifestyles. At a time when more than 17 percent of the nation’s children are obese and schools are beginning to order larger chairs to accommodate them, there is also a move to have them stand more in the classroom. Sit-stand workstations help increase physical activity levels while providing outlets for energy not commonly found in the traditional sedentary classroom or lab environment.
Technologically-advanced classrooms are also employing virtual field trips and classes through advanced video-conferencing technologies. These advances make it easy for classrooms to “travel” to new places, have conversations with classrooms in other countries, and explore new cultures. In rural or remote locations, specialty teaching resources that may otherwise be limited to only one physical location can be explored.
Teachers are now using advancing technology to turn daily lectures into homework. This allows more time in the classroom for kids to work on interactive projects and get help from the teacher, resulting in what is called “flipped” classrooms. Having flexible work environments in the classroom to facilitate this collaborate interaction is key, as are flexible computing tools to accommodate the type of digital homework required.
All of these advances can help students get the most out of their education each day and provide educators the opportunities to do things never before possible. New advances continue to propel us further into the future of education, and while the landscape may appear different, the traditional educational goals are the same – to engage learners and promote healthy learning styles for all involved.
Sheila Veschusio is Education Industry Manager at Ergotron, a global manufacturer of ergonomic solutions – digital display mounting, sit-stand computing, furniture and mobile products – for the office, industrial/manufacturing, healthcare and education facilities.
The author is solely responsible for the content.
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