Educating in the Same Way as in the Past
The methods of the past don’t make much sense to today’s students who learn and think differently, and they don’t make much sense in an evolving workplace where the use of information is now much more valuable than just knowing things.
Unfortunately, most students continue to be educated in the same way as in the past, receiving a standard curriculum through rote learning and individual testing at a pace that suits everyone. Now technology is advancing at such a pace that traditional methods of teaching and learning do not allow students and teachers to reach their full potential.
A Teacher’s Role as a Motivator
The future of education now is what great teachers have been striving for centuries: to inspire children to learn and use their talents. Teachers should be facilitators and motivators of learning so that they, in turn, can empower their students. Big change requires leadership in the classroom and throughout the school community, but any teacher can take immediate action to help their students succeed.
Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Mathematics
Because STEAM is an approach, educators need to understand how to adjust learning standards, create comprehensive assessments, and design curriculum to ensure both arts and STEM fields are taught with integrity and specific strategies that can be used with students. Whatever you choose, just make sure teachers have the opportunity to learn more about how STEAM works and how to use it in the classroom. Many schools integrate STEAM into their improvement plans without knowing how to incorporate STEAM into and through the learning path.
Real-life Connections in Learning
It is essential that the teaching methods used help students connect with their learning. Real-life connections make learning interesting and relevant for learners. Students will be much more engaged and these connections to the real world will help students understand the content and theories you teach much better than just reading a textbook.
This helps students to enhance experiential learning by maintaining their focus continuously. Sometimes students may find it difficult to listen when they are enthusiastically exploring their virtual environment, so we encourage an in/out rhythm; teachers allow students to explore for a minute or two, then ask students to take off their headphones to ask questions and talk to students face-to-face.
Teachers also love the excitement students experience when they bring VR and AR into the classroom, so they are finding many new ways to incorporate VR into the classroom. Teachers don’t actually know enough strategies to keep students actively engaged in content, and teacher training programs don’t provide teachers with enough strategies.
Teaching Unnecessary Material
It was here during the Future of Learning session that Professor David Perkins asked the audience to think about what they learned in their first ten years of school that is really important in their lives today, beyond basics like learning to read, and not including specific professional skills.
Professor David Perkins says that instead of gaining experience in a subject as complex as calculus, which almost never appears in our lives during the first 12 years of study, students can become “amateur experts” in something like statistics: a strict argument that is also used in everyday life.
These days, he says, we teach a lot that doesn’t really matter in the lives of students. Professor David Perkins argues that in today’s world, younger students must first master the basics of key learning and then decide where they want to specialize.
Professor David Perkins says that without those connections, he’s not surprised that so many people can’t name things they’ve learned before that still matter today, or that aloof students are raising their hands, asking why they need it to know something.
During the “Future of Learning” conference, Professor David Perkins asked the hundreds of people present to raise their hands if they were studying mitosis in high school. We visited a class that taught archaeology and the study of ancient civilizations. The teacher then used augmented reality to show some Mesoamerican artifacts in the class and asked the students what they could learn about civilization from each artifact.
The Use of Technology in Learning
The shift to 1-to-1 computing, where each student (and/or teacher) has their own dedicated laptop, can somehow be seen as a further extension of this belief. If the school (or, even better, the classroom) has many computers with full Internet access, students can in principle manage their learning more independently than if there were few computers.
However, it is also recognized that if you want computers and other ICTs to directly influence the learning process in core subjects, you need to place them where core subjects are taught, such as in the classroom.
Students are becoming increasingly advanced users of technology even when they first enter school, so this can often mean they are open to the possibilities presented rather than trying to teach and prescribe the use of certain programs.
Expressing Opinions is a Powerful Way to Learn
When students come up with ideas in writing, they are forced to synthesize information that has entered their brain only passively, then interrupting the instructions from time to time for students to write short summaries or express their opinions about the things they are learning is really effective way to consolidate your learning.
Asking students to memorize information is a great way to help them absorb it better, but I don’t mean exactly how they remember information on worksheets. While it appears that students take a lot of “notes” in class, it is not clear if this is done in a way that ensures high quality learning.