In this fast-paced revolutionary digital era, the question of what a future school shall look like baffles several experts and laymen as well.
Every other day, a new innovation takes place, most of them are impeccably exclusive; and often comes with a number of upgradation. And that’s what leave the individuals in awe.
Although we cannot predict what changes are going to take place in future, but are well aware of the ‘21st Century Skills.’ Knowing this, schools ponder upon the questions like what are the best ways to provide students with authentic, unique,and innovative learning experiences that will foster the development of these essential skills. And how can they make their schools future ready. However, developing a Future Ready School is definitely going to be a strenuous effort that would maximize the digital learning opportunities and help school districts move quickly towards preparing students for success in their school, college and career. The effort provides schools with resources and support to ensure that local technology and digital learning plans align accordingly with instructional best practices, implemented by highly trained teachers, and lead to a personalized learning experience for all students, particularly those from traditionally under-served communities.
To explore this question vastly, let us go through this article and understand what elements would contribute to a future ready-school.
The very-first and foremost, element required for building a future ready school is, the curriculum, inclusive of instructions and assessment. Incorporation of technology in the curricula makes a paradigm shift in the teaching methodology. Lessons become less teacher centered and more student-centred making way to collaborative learning where high-speed networks, wireless capabilities, and modern tech devices adds on. However, teachers need to keep an eye that a student learns the technologies for their own sake, not because it’s in their curricular practices. Laterally, they should instruct them about the techniques of using a tech devices. They could force students to think through multi-step problems, provide additional instructional support and be flexible in lessons & assignments to less or not at all tech-savvy students.
Needless to mention, assessments determine how successful a change in curriculum or instructions have been and what improvements are required. For instance, teachers could a keep a check on student’s blogs, vlogs or other platform, asses their capability and more. Therefore, technological advancement would allow educators for formative and summative data collection; also makes it possible to create better assessments of how well students are learning.
Ample usage of space and time
It has been a matter of grave concern for the teachers but fortunately embedding technology in the studies has led to lesser time and space consumption. These innovations and ever-growing mobile technology help alleviate this by making computer labs a thing of the past. Now, schools are able to convert their computer labs into regular classrooms, and students have quick and easy access to technology anywhere in the building; it would lead to more development in future as well. Well, probably this school culture may vanish.
Talking about space and time, a shift from paper-based materials to digital materials take up less space than traditional classroom materials. Also, when classroom devices are mobile and don’t require cords, everything is more streamlined; leading both students and teachers use their space and time more effectively by making the right tools available.
Robust and highly-equipped infrastructure
No matter how good your tech device is, it requires a right infrastructure to support its functioning, most importantly a strong and robust Wi-Fi connection. Therefore, first of all, a school must have access to a strong Wi-Fi connection, and in case of schools already having a Wi-Fi connection can easily incorporate wireless display devices, enhancing their current infrastructures with upgraded mobile devices and secondly, right mobile devices or tools to meet up to the learning requirements that may include laptop, tablets, smart class or other wireless devices.
Personalized professional learning
In order to improve the chances of student success and create broader understanding of the skills that comprise success in this ongoing digital age and its upcoming upgradation, a future ready school, ought to have access to high-quality, ongoing, job-embedded opportunities for professional learning for teachers, administrators, and other education professionals. It would ultimately help teachers understand the know-how of the technology, master upon them and help disseminate the same to students. Also, schools could arrange personalized professional learning community for traditional teachers according to their learning pace. Additionally, these ever-increasing learning resources, as well as non-traditional forms of professional learning, offer teachers and administrators enormous opportunities to collaborate, learn, share, and produce best practices with colleagues in school buildings across the country.
It’s uncommon to hear that an individual or school is concerned about their data. And, it is extraordinarily important for a school to safeguard its student data as data breach may lead to unexpected consequences. So, a future ready school may use software and mobile devices with advanced security features. They would also use a system of backups to prevent any data loss. In order to keep data’s more securely, school officials must also consider the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) while collecting and using data. They should ensure that staff are aware and update of their knowledge of laws and regulations. Also, have privacy plans to protect their institution, faculties and students.
Adequate Budget and Resources
The evolution to digital learning from traditional learning method would require strategic short-term and long-term budgeting and leveraging of resources. They need to allocate a budget according to the digital tools/resources and infrastructure to be setup; also need to stick to a budget to fulfill the requirements. Fortunately, becoming a future ready school by adopting mobile solutions doesn’t cost heavy. However, there are equipment which may be costly but districts or school could choose the technology carefully and keeping the existing infrastructure in mind, IT professionals and educators can stay within their budgets and build a future ready school. Districts or schools could also use District’s financial model that includes metrics and processes to determine Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) for developing and sustaining the digital learning environment and to ensure accountability for determining learning Return on Investment (ROI).Such measures would help schools use their resources effectively to engage students, help them succeed and be future ready.
Well, it’s rightly said, “when technology is integrated in the right ways, it has a huge impact on student success. Also, help institutions grow.” So, if you want to build a future ready school and help your apprentices become lifelong learners , be able to meet the requirements of future job-market and more ,then, do consider these seven(7) Gears of the Future Ready Schools Framework.
Also, suggest other elements, if any.