There's been a lot of discussion among educators about what the K12 classroom will look like 20 years from now. If current trends are any indication, it's safe to say that the use of technology within the classroom will increase significantly over the next two decades. How much influence will technology have inside the classroom and what impact will it have on the teacher’s role and on students' performance?
Prediction of the Future Classroom
Many educators think that a shift to virtual classrooms is already occurring. They believe that professionally produced lessons will be taught remotely by the best teachers in the world and viewed on large screens within the virtual classroom. These lessons will feature dynamic clips from YouTube, TED Talks, and other online video sources. Students will have the opportunity to interact online with other students throughout the world and participate in group projects. Even student testing and assessments will be done completely online.
Teacher’s Transition From Instructor to Facilitator
With technology taking over the classroom, the role of the teacher is likely to change drastically. Instead of spending their time focusing on providing students with information through a series of lesson plans and classroom activities, teachers are likely to focus primarily on facilitating the classroom. Teachers are already making use of the massive amounts of free and low-cost instructional resources that are readily available online.
This type of classroom is starting to appear, with teaching tactics like blended learning, flipped learning, and student-oriented learning. In all these learning strategies, teachers take a step back from formal instruction in the classroom. This provides the teacher with more time to focus on active learning strategies and to offer more student-centered learning opportunities.
Future Teacher’s Role
Some of the most dynamic teachers may maintain the traditional teacher's role, by creating video footage that will then be used in classrooms throughout the world. However, the majority of teachers are likely to see their role continue to shift from instructor to facilitator. Instead of providing students with information, teachers will be responsible for showing their students how to use technology and how shift through the massive amounts of online information to find credible and factual information.
Teachers will also be pressed to teach skills that technology cannot, such as teamwork, respect, social skills, and communication skills, as well as, handle classroom behavioral issues. This shift can already be seen in the type of professional development training courses offers to current teachers. Training sessions that used to focus on improving instructional skills have recently been replaced with sessions that show how to become a classroom facilitator and how to implement technology in the classroom.
Effect on Students
In this futuristic classroom, large-screen TVs will replace blackboards, tables for group project will take the place of individual desks, and computers will be used for student assessments. The primary question that many educators and parents have is, “What effect will this new type of classroom have on student performance?” This question may be difficult to answer until the transition to the virtual classroom is mainstream.
However, in this age of technology, it would be impossible to keep it out of the classroom. Many teachers believe that some these new teaching strategies, such as blended learning, makes the students excited to learn and keeps them focused for a longer period of time. In addition, it gives teachers more time to spend providing supportive services to students and it allows each student to learn at his/her own pace.
There is no doubt that technology is already changing the classroom structure and the teacher’s role. Over the next 20 years, the use of technology in the classroom is certain to increase. School districts are already embracing technological solutions because they offer more efficiency, standardized instruction and assessments, and substantial cost savings.
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