Conceptualising tommorrow’s classroom

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CONCEPTUALISING the future of learning has been shown to influence how we create curriculum, policy and how we approach the activities that we call ‘learning’. Of course it’s almost impossible to have ‘a vision’ because of the multiple contexts, ideologies and socio-economic influences, beliefs and experiences that we all have.

We are in an era of mass change; where the divisions and lines of centuries are being challenged and nothing is certain. Over recent decades teachers have been asked time and again to deliver more information, responding the multiple stakeholders in education, all with their own agenda. It is difficult for many of us to even know who these people are, let alone understand their role. Many teachers don’t feel they have adequate time in the classroom to deliver  current ‘content’ requirements – let alone explore virtual worlds or project based learning – that is not to say they don’t want to.

Creating co-curricula is a way to experiment with tools, activities and assessment. 

Examples: Using Quest Atlantis to transition elementary to middle school; getting involved in a collective action project (Global Kids); End Of Web Alternate Reality Game (plug); After school projects or Social Action.

Many of these projects require skills that reflect an increasingly knowledge-based society, where deeper learning and research are central to sustainable growth of individuals, communities and nations. Perhaps this is why so many co-curricula projects are able to demonstrate high levels of attainment for students as they challenge the persistence of traditional beliefs.

Co-curricula allows teachers a way to help reluctant curriculum leaders to conceptualise an renewed curriculum. This is what all administrators understand as ‘added value’, and does not present a risk, but an opportunity. Most will jump on the idea; especially if they are able to promote it to their superiors. But we don’t care about that right? We just shifted the curriculum.

The same approach can work on your hardened IT-Manager – creating an instance outside of the ‘hot zone’ – and allowing them to innovate and create – is bound to be more attractive.  Many IT Guys are actually really creative!

People will explore these perceptions and practices, given the right conditions – but at the same time – teachers don’t easily or immediately abandon familiar (often successful) strategies and teaching methods. You have to prime the pump and find ways for them to participate. That new IWB isn’t going to change anything; unless the person in front of it can conceptualise change beyond the tool itself. I would argue you can change a culture using one tool; but in doing so may have to abandon several beliefs – an no one is going to do that inside ‘core business’. You need an Alternate Reality 🙂