Technology in education is the greatest blessing of 21st century. Technology has made education accessible with ease, pace and effectiveness.
It has minimized efforts and made so many things possible that were impossible earlier. Education with technology is a great combination and today, there are a number of educational establishments that are embracing tech for learning.
Technology is transforming education day-by-day. But in this technological upsurge, somewhere we are forgetting that just adopting and implementing technology cannot create the right learning environment. Just investing in technology and having a piece of tech in hands of all kids will not necessarily create the right learning environments and learning outcomes. There are other key things like holistic curriculum, 21st century skills development, innovative pedagogy and teacher training which need to be kept in mind to create the right learning environment.
Creating Right Learning Environment for the Students
The objective of parents behind sending their kids to school is to acquire knowledge and develop potential to survive in this constantly changing world. The important theories behind holistic curriculum are emotional and social development, knowing about oneself, developing healthy relationship etc. Holistic curriculum takes good care of the student’s emotional well-being which is mandatory for surviving in this century.
Holistic curriculum creates right learning environment in the classroom because:
- Emotions influence learning.
- Emotional health is necessary for innovation.
- Feelings like inspiration drive the desire to learn more and more.
- Feeling good promotes productive learning.
- Emotional well-being connects students with life and knowledge which make learning more meaningful.
- Integrating holistic curriculum develops interpersonal skills.
21st Century Skill Development
Creative and critical thinking, collaborating, communicating, leadership, flexibility are some of the skills that are required in 21st century. A right learning environment is one that allows students to develop these set of skills. Although, in many ways technology has supported 21st century learning but it is not necessary that all the 21st century skills like leadership or collaboration can only be developed using technology.
A variety of learning models - inquiry-based learning, project-based learning, direct instruction, peer-to-peer learning, school-to-school, e-Learning, Mobile learning, the flipped classroom can be used to embrace the above mentioned points.
Teacher Training and Professional Development
Teacher’s training is one of the crucial aspects for creating right learning environment for the students. When tech is integrated in the classroom without adequate teacher training, it is somewhat a waste of resources. When teachers struggle with the use and integration of technology that is being implemented in the classroom, they will not be able to teach their students at their best. So just by bringing technology in the education we cannot create right learning environment for the students.
Teacher’s motivation towards using a technology for teaching is also one of the vital components of creating right learning environment for students, and teacher’s motivation can only occur when they have complete (not literally) knowledge about it. Effective teacher training is one of the ways to motivate teachers towards the use of technology.
Creating Engaging and Interesting Lessons
Creating interesting lessons that engage and retain student’s interest are also necessary to create right learning environment. This is because research has shown that even when tech is integrated in the classroom but the lessons do not engage and involve the students, the purpose is not solved and the desired outcomes are not achieved. When the students ask the questions i.e. good questions/doubts, that is where you have really engaged them.
An educator in an online discussion on Google+ said, “We've just started with 1:1 and those of my colleagues who hasn't prepared themselves for this giant step of school have lots and lots of problems today. Because they haven’t made their lessons interesting enough, the students rather hang on Facebook or play games. Every lesson they have to take 5-15 min to ban this behavior, it takes negative energy.”
What tips do you suggest to teachers and educational leaders for creating the right learning environment? Suggest in the comment box.