21st Century Classroom

Kristen Mason - EDU 5313 - Professor Niessen

Photo Caption: Image from: http://www.edudemic.com/classroom-pieces/ "20 Must-See Facts About the 21st Century Classroom" by Jeff Dunn

The 21st Century classroom is an ever evolving place.  In fact, in some cases the 21st Century classroom is not a classroom at all.  That's the beauty of it!  Learning can take place anywhere at any time as long as students have a computer and internet access.  This means that students can be more engaged in class than ever before.  The biggest change I have seen come out of this is a student's ability to collaborate.  I have seen kids in my own class that without a computer never say a word, but with the keyboard at their fingertips they are able to vocalize high level thoughts and interact with others.  Instead of having to raise their hand to be called on by the teacher students can share thoughts and ideas instantly as well as receive instant feedback from the teacher or their peers.  This type of interact takes learning and thinking to a whole new level.  

Students are also able to control the pace of their learning which leads to a type of differentiated instruction that has never been possible in other centuries.  Teachers can now better tailor lessons to meet individual students' needs and can provide them access to tools that are not only engaging, but allow for constant assessment of skills.  This is exactly the type of learning environment kids today thrive on!  Most schools make kids power down when they walk in the doors when all their lives revolve around is powering up when they are outside of school.  The more we can incorporate the tools and technologies kids use in their everyday lives the more they will benefit from the education we infuse within that.

With all of these things in mind I have incorporated a technology aspect into every unit this school year (and with only 4 sets of laptop carts for 3 grades this hasn't been very easy).  I have also transformed my classroom website to a Google site so that my students can connect it with their school Google accounts and always be up-to-date with what is going on in my class.  This has made my life much easier when students are absent because all they have to do is check our website and they can bring what they missed to school when they return.  I have also tried out various new tools (like this one) for students to use to share their learning.  It has been a challenge, but one that has only resulted in reward!