With officials predicting the effects of COVID-19 to last into the early new year, post-secondary campuses know better than anyone that it’s time to accept and prepare for this new reality. While society has generally hit a halt, educational institutions are investigating ways to continue academic services in a cautious and accessible manner. Unfortunately, going back to business, as usual, will not cut it this time. Institutions will need to come back smarter and better than before in order to stay open through the remainder of this outbreak, and possibly the next. While re-opening institutions may feel premature, safe returns to campus can be made possible through reinventing the physical university experience. To achieve this, you’ll want to look at reimagining and repurposing your spaces to support new health care policy changes and social distancing protocols.
With parents working remotely and students transitioning to full online learning, we’re facing a unique time in history where both parents and children are operating alongside each other at home. While remote working has become increasingly popular in the workforce, online learning will be a foreign experience to most young students. For some children, maintaining attention in a linear classroom setting is already challenging. As virtual learning continues to manifest over digital classrooms, parents are finding it difficult for their children to sit through a day’s worth of online lessons. However, rather than training children to sit still, consider advocating for healthy movement to help students channel pent-up energy into involvement.
With a focus on avid migration towards online learning, getting caught up in a standardized approach can be easy. While creating a uniform system can help make this transition smooth and seamless, we can’t neglect our attention to unique student learning styles. Where’s the balance between setting up a consistent teaching system and personalized learning approaches? How can we empower our students to take ownership of their learning while at home? The answer begins with us.
Creating a positive and successful learning experience for students with special needs is just as critical as that of their peers.
It starts with creating a learning environment that is not only physically inclusive but also facilitates academic growth and success. Learning styles and teaching strategies also need to be adapted in kind so that students with special education needs are empowered to learn alongside their peers and contribute to the class in beneficial and constructive ways.
As our population grows larger and larger as well as younger and younger, classrooms are evolving from an assembly line of rows and columns of chairs to a dynamic student-centered classroom. Modern classrooms now approach education differently with inclusive learning environments that reflect how teachers teach and how students learn. Due to increasing classroom sizes, teachers rely on technology and flexible classroom environments more than ever. It fosters collaboration and critical thinking skills plus meets the diverse needs of the modern student.
Today’s learners are a sophisticated bunch – brought up on a diet of handheld technology, brand marketing, and the sleekest product design. Experience-driven, they have high expectations when it comes to the environments they inhabit. If even a part of an educator’s task is to prepare them for the world, then the classroom has to meet and reflect real-world expectations. Rows of desks, learning by rote, one-size-fits all teaching methods are a hangover from the industrial revolution.
Because today’s young learners are a generation unlike any before them, classroom design has a massive impact on both engagement and performance. Because, as research shows, education isn’t just about technology or pedagogy, it’s also about environment.
In fact, research increasingly shows the impact classroom design has on student success: 25%, positive or negative depending on the environment, on annual academic progress. And Dr. Sheryl Reinisch, the Dean of Concordia University-Portland’s College of Education says that well designed classrooms can “ “help children feel safe, secure, and valued. As a result, self-esteem increases, and students are motivated to engage in the learning process.”
Is there a more necessary skill in today’s workforce than the ability to collaborate? It doesn’t appear to be so, with over 80 percent of white-collar workers claiming collaboration as a necessary part of their job.
It’s no wonder then, why educators are seeking out ways to create more collaborative classrooms. Because what better way to empower our children than by teaching them the skills they’ll need to contribute and thrive once they exit the school system and enter the workforce?
Furnishing a classroom isn’t just about tables and chairs. As most educators are already aware, there are numerous factors to consider – each impacting a student’s education in ways that may not be initially obvious.
Of course, quality, price, and durability are essential in the decision-making process, but what about the implications each piece of furniture has on a child’s learning?
There’s a Chinese proverb, which says, “Do not confine your children to your own learning, for they were born in another time.”
This aphorism is likely more true of today’s children than of any previous generation. Thanks in large part to rapid technological growth, the modern child (and the modern classroom) bears little resemblance to the past.
While traditional teaching consisted of the “stand and teach/sit still and listen” format, today’s teachers understand this isn’t ideal. Instead, educators must work harder to engage students in active learning, knowing that people learn best by doing.