Transforming the Classroom for Today’s Changing Students

LenewayblogWe are living in fascinating times. Our current education system is being questioned as never before, and many wonder how institutions will evolve to accommodate the changing world of technology. New tools, data systems and communication vehicles have already converged to change how we play, work, learn and interact with one another. Dr. Clayton Christensen (2010) claims that by 2020, over half of the students in the U.S. will be learning online, and schools will reach a tipping point when tax payers will ask, do we still need classrooms? If schools and classrooms are to survive, then how do they need to be transformed to respond to the rapidly changing needs of today’s students?

To adapt to the overwhelming amounts of information, and continual interaction with visual media and game playing, researchers, Carter, R. (2009), Feinstein, S. (2004), Goldstein, (2007), Kandel, E. (2006), and Small, G., & Vorgon, G. (2008), tell us that the newest generation of K-12 students have neurologically changed their brains to try to keep pace. Kids today literally see and learn differently than their parents and grandparents, in that they see and remember visual images in place of text. The television is being replaced by computer screens, mobile devices and game consoles are primary sources of information and entertainment (Prensky, M, 2006). Today’s paper textbooks are about to be replaced by intelligent, colorful, multimedia response programs that fit on mobile devices such as iPads, Kindles, smart phones and other digital gadgets that students are bringing to school. Meanwhile, our schools, our classrooms and our curriculum have remained relatively the same.

Given real world tools like those found in the Adobe Creative Cloud, students can learn to work together seamlessly with both real and virtual partners to create and share novel digital solutions to complex problems. The combined factors of widespread access to technology, increasingly sophisticated tools, online resources such as Adobe Educational Exchange, and advances in understanding of how individuals learn, provide a stunning opportunity to transform classrooms and education worldwide. As we start 2013, this is a challenging opportunity that I, as a 21st century educator, am looking forward to.

How do you think education should evolve to better prepare students for success? Join the conversation here or let me know what you think via my Twitter account.