There Has Been A Massive Paradigm Shift In The Classroom.
Today’s students are an entirely new generation of completely digital learners. They approach learning differently than any other previous generation. They have a multi-tasking approach. Fifty years ago, learning was more sequential. Now, these learners are multi-tasking all the time between different applications, so the classroom needs to multi-task as well.
The Roles of Students, Parents, and Teachers Have Changed Dramatically.
These days, a teacher facilitates, guides, and encourages students in their pursuit of self-discovery, knowledge, and encourages them to drive their own learning. There is more integration between the parents and the whole education process than ever before. Today’s students are the most sophisticated generation of learners we have ever seen; they are more technologically and socially advanced and are the most demanding of any learner before.
Society’s Digital Transformation Has Completely Revolutionized the Way Humans Learn and Communicate.
Think about the impact of access to instant information. Students are used to having everything instantaneously and if there’s a delay in the information flow, they will stop. There must be more movement and action in the classroom in order keep the learner engaged.
The Classroom is Changing.
Traditional vs. Student-Centred Classroom
In the 1900’s, the classroom was considered a learning factory. It was basically an assembly line where students came into the institution and were taught while sitting in rows and columns of chairs.
There was no variation in the individual student’s participation and the focus was like a production line. This is very different than the education experience being focused on the individual student. Rather, it was focused on the collective outcome.
In the 1900’s, the classroom was considered a learning factory. It was an assembly line where students came into the institution and were taught while sitting in rows and columns of chairs. This is very different than the education experience being focused on the individual student. Rather, it was focused on the collective outcome. This approach continued through the 1950’s. Every student was taught in the same way and there was very little individuality. The students were expected to sit quietly in their rows and columns and follow the curriculum. Meaning, the teachers were the leaders of the class and they broadcasted information to the students. The students were receivers, listening to the information instead of being active participants. Even in the last 20 years, not much has changed. Many students are still expected to sit at their desk all day, passively receiving information and trying to internalize it. Then they are tested on occasion to see if they have retained the information that was broadcasted to them. For nearly 100 years this was the common way that educators taught and students learned.
Movement is important today. Most people don’t have to sit at a desk and not move for 8-hours. Why are students, who have smaller attention spans and are much more energetic than adults forced to sit still for hours on end? There are some very creative ways to incorporate movement and studies have shown that movement helps the retention of information in the learning process. Classroom furniture is critical because learning is situational and in the Student Centered Learning environment, topics in STEAM (Science, Technology, English, Arts, and Math) are moved through as the situation warrants. To support teaching these topics, the classroom should adjust as needed; it should move, it should be flexible, and it should be reconfigurable. For example, an educator could be teaching math and they might start at the front of the room with a lecture and then break the students into groups where they can collaborate and focus on solving the problem together. There could also be a study area where the students can be working on problems independently and those that need help may have a classmate assigned to them to help mentor them.
The Classroom is Changing.
Creating a New Generation of Digital Learners
Society’s digital transformation has changed the way we learn. Today’s students approach learning differently than any other previous generation.
Fifty years ago, learning was more sequential. Now, learners are constantly multi-tasking between different applications, which means the classroom needs to multi-task as well.
Social Media Behaviour
YouTube, Instagram, and Snapchat are being most used by teenagers. Facebook is less popular among teenagers, while YouTube, Instagram, and Snapchat usage is going through the roof. 85% of teens say they use YouTube, 72% say they use Instagram. Teenagers are used to and prefer an environment based upon instantaneous gratification.
The key pre-requisite for this generation is in the presentation of information. They are used to receiving functional and state of the art data. We need to create an environment that is conducive to these learners, not the learners of two generations ago.
Today’s teenagers spend two-thirds of their day online, either watching videos, listening to music, or on social media. Eight to ten-year old’s will spend 5 to 5.5 hours per day online listening to music and this trend is going up. This also means the classroom must change.
Learning in a Digital Age
Think about the impact of instant access to information. Students are used to having everything instantaneously and if there’s a delay in that information flow they will stop learning. There must be more movement and action in the classroom to keep the learner engaged.
The other difference between this generation and previous ones is that they are cooperators. Social media is all about collaboration and sharing. Today’s learners want to work together. In the past, the goal of education was to keep the students apart and quiet. This generation wants to converse and share their thought processes and the classroom should be designed to help them collaborate as they learn.
Designing the Student-Centred Classroom
The biggest objection that we hear adopting the Student Centered Classroom approach is, “Our classrooms are small. We have 30 students. How can we separate our class into sections?"
Changing the physical layout of the classroom to a balanced learning environment empowers students by not only recognizing their individual learning and communication styles but also supports the flexible teaching styles being used by educators across Alberta.
We can help your school maximize their space. We can also make recommendations on the exact furniture that will fit your teaching style best.
The Self-Aware Student
Traditionally, the teacher controlled everything and the student sat there trying the stay awake. As a result, there was a complete lack of individuality at the center of the learning environment. When students walked through the door of the classroom, they were expected to sit rigid in their chairs, pay attention, and not be a distraction to the other students. Overall this whole “factory” scheme of education, and the goal of consistency, was to improve the overall academic standard of the institution at the expense of the individual.
In a Student-Centered Classroom, the learners have the obligation, responsibility, and the opportunity to choose the topics they’re interested in learning about. Much of today’s learning is self-directed, instead of a generalized message being broadcast from the teacher the class.
The Growth-Minded Teacher
A growth mindset teacher is someone who facilitates, guides, and encourages students in their pursuit of self-discovery and knowledge and encourages them to drive their own learning. The teacher’s responsibility isn’t to solely administer a generic curriculum, but to create practical learning environments using real-world problems that the students solve. A growth mindset teacher is focused on technology and embraces it as part of the learning curriculum.
The Engaged Parent
Years ago, Mom and Dad were simply aware. They received report cards in the mail and usually only heard from the teacher on two occasions; a disciplinary issue or an exceptionally outstanding academic achievement.
Today, the parent’s role is more deeply integrated. They are involved online, personally engaged, and more likely to know what’s going on in the classroom. They know the status of every student’s assignment, are notified via email about performance and alerted via text about school problems and disruptions.
How Can CDI Spaces Help?
Your Classroom. Our Expertise.
Let’s Create a Successful Student-Centered Classroom.
Create a Pilot Classroom
Are you a teacher is eager to change your classroom? Why not conduct a pilot project? Analyze the results and present your results. We can help you with the classroom design and provide suggestions for best practices.
We can suggest some key pieces to help you get started. Rocker chairs, balance stools, and adjustable-height desks are a great place to start. You will see results in your classroom immediately!
Building Support For Your Cause
We believe in the value of a Student-Centered Classroom. We encourage the collaboration of parents, teachers, and students to achieve the optimal learning experience for all.
Our Digital Catalogue
Every day, CDI Spaces works with Educators in Alberta to find the best plans and furnishings possible to bring our schools into the 21st century. Our focus is on creating Student Centered Classrooms where students, parents, and teachers collaborate to encourage the best learning experience possible. You can browse and download our full educational furniture catalogue here.
How Can CDI Spaces Help You?
Let’s have a brainstorming session to Discover what you want to accomplish for your classroom or business. This is the first "D" in our process. We will figure out what your purpose is, what your goals are, and analyze the space plan for your space. A walkthrough of your space would be a very helpful tool in this process as well.
After this, we will come back with some ideas, and we will discuss the options together. If you need a budgetary quote on some items, we would be delighted to do that for you as well.
If you like, we can also schedule a time to take you on a site visit to show you some of our current projects. We also recommend a visit to our design centre, which will help you understand new trends and technology.
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