When transitioning from a traditional pen to paper classroom, to one immersed with modern technology, the first stages are crucial. It is not just a change in the learning itself but also a change in classroom dynamics. This can be anything from seating arrangements to appropriate online behavior, which is why Scholantis has created a list of top tips when designing a new learning space for your ed-tech classroom:
Initiate physical change – Seeing your physical space in an innovative way can help to match your new teaching methods. This might include creating different areas, for example a corner where children can sit on the floor or on beanbags, or aligning your desks in different shapes and angles. Creating space is important for students and getting rid of useless objects can help examine what is important to your class.
Initiate cultural change – Make your teaching about the students and not a report card. Implement technology that will help you achieve this. For example, blogging tools to help students self-evaluate or video recordings which students can watch at home to give them more flexibility. Continuous feedback from your students to see what they are enjoying or where there are gaps in learning is also a great way to initiate cultural change and make sure your classroom remains student-centric, whilst providing support.
Create a safe environment – One of the most important elements of creating your ed-tech classroom is establishing digital learning norms. For example, you can create a list with your students of expectations regarding online communication – a “what to do and what not to do” manifesto. This can include things like: always compliment your peers and be constructive, do not leave hurtful comments. Creating rules for online behavior will help to ensure the well-being of your students and also reduce any concerns with parents and admins.
Set goals for the classroom – Make this a collaborative learning journey. It’s always fun when new achievements are made as a team and it’s even more fun when you get to have a slice of cake together to celebrate. This could be anything from uploading one piece of work to an online portfolio, to recording a video that parents can watch at home. Working towards a common goal gives purpose and a sense of teamwork. It also means if someone is struggling, they have more people available to help.
Small group work – Allowing your students to work in small teams (groups of 3 or 4) to problem-solve and collaborate is a great way to introduce students to their new tech tools. Group work can make tasks less intimidating whilst also creating a fun environment. It gives you a chance as their teacher to take a step back and put the learning into the hands of your students. Giving them control over their own learning is a proven way to increase engagement.
Use the same tools for teaching and learning – By using the same tools as your students, you can set an example for contemporary learning whilst also encouraging students to explore. It’s up to you to demonstrate how diverse your ed-tech tools can be! It also helps you become an expert on the tools in your classroom. This is important so that if any questions arise, you are able to answer them sufficiently. Use them daily!
Designing a new learning space for your ed-tech classroom can be challenging at first, but we’ve seen great results from many of our school districts! Find out more here.