Future of the Classroom

Through the Lens of Google Education – UK & Global Reports 2019

By Alex More

Research into classroom innovation and future thinking brought me to Google’s latest report ‘future of the classroom.’ The timing was spot on as we are planning to install our own future classroom at Shaftesbury School in 2020, a pioneering project sponsored by Epson and Smit visuals.

There are some interesting insights worthy of sharing, so if haven’t seen the report yet, check it out here: https://edu.google.com/latest-news/future-of-the-classroom/?modal_active=none

Here are some of the headlines that might be of interest to educators:

UK Trends identified in Google Education Report
Interesting that the average UK teacher works 51 hrs per week and that 94% of us believe Ed tech has the potential to improve engagement in the classroom

Google Identified some key areas within their report which they expand on and justify within the documentation. In total, there are 8 key ideas as outlined below:

Let’s focus for now on Innovating Pedagogy. I once read that the best classrooms are those students are in a hurry to get to. When designing a future classroom, the most effective element is surely the teacher stood infant of the students?

Sugata Mitra ran some interesting experiments to explore the concept of ‘teacher less lessons’ as he envisioned students teaching themselves remotely using technology over human teachers. This is an intriguing concept and became the blueprint for his £1 million TED-winning School in the Cloud https://www.theschoolinthecloud.org/

Equally, critics of the flipped learning movement are always fast to defend the need to keep the teacher, and, I agree with this. When I conducted research, I began by asking students who was the most important person in the learning process. Almost all of them felt this was the teacher and they felt this wouldn’t be changing anytime soon. So, if the teacher is staying and technology is changing, perhaps we need to change and evolve with it?

Teacher’s are in an amazing position to change the way students learn in school. A classroom of the future once equipped provides the canvas to do this. This is especially important as teachers are increasingly seen as ‘agents of change’. The 2018 Global Teacher Status Index found a direct correlation between the status of teachers in their country and students’ academic outcomes – and teacher status in the UK rose to 7th place in 2018 relative to other countries. This ranked it higher than the US (9th place in the same year) and the Netherlands (16th place), although still some way behind China and Malaysia (1st and 2nd place). So, schools are looking for ways to help motivate teachers and give them resource to focus on professional development, rather than spending time on administrative tasks. With a third of primary school teachers in the UK reporting they “lack confidence” teaching science, technology can also be used to fill gaps in knowledge.

In the next blog I am going to outline my thinking about what a future classroom should look like, what it should do and how it should be used. This I hope will provide some insight into what I think all the research is trying to tell us.

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