The 21st century classroom is incredibly dynamic, and educators are using every resource they can find to keep up with student needs and curriculum demands. While technology and data are playing larger roles in how schools and classrooms function, many educators from our ISTE Focus Groups shared what they saw as an challenging tradeoff: Is technological implementation beginning to eclipse creativity?
That sentiment has driven many teachers to explore constructive, project-based and collaborative learning environments and approaches. Makerspaces, flipped and blended learning models, passion projects and virtual tours/field trips are all gaining traction quickly. Why? Because they work to build engagement, independence, creativity and learning confidence.
Here’s what some of our participating educators had to say:
On Makerspaces and Collaborative Learning:
“I think the collaborative spaces are really exciting, and that’s the one thing that I wanted to make my room into. Some of the other teachers are starting to catch on and adopt blended or flipped learning models. It’s huge right now.”
“I don’t think project-based learning is going to go away, ever.”
“I think teachers see that their students are learning while doing and making something.”
“The kids will finish something and they don’t even care about the grade. They’re proud of what they did.”
“Students with specials needs will shine when they are able to create something. Rather than just simply having to write something or take a test, anything in the creative end those students tend to do well.”
“Nobody works in a silo anymore.”
On Virtual Content:
“I’m very drawn into virtual content. Google expeditions, virtual field trips, they’re awesome.”
“A lot of my students don’t have the background and opportunity to go to these places, so giving them the opportunity virtually to see the ocean or experience animal life … I think that’s where content should go.”
“There are these really cool [virtual learning programs] where you put glasses on and you can touch and build something. It’s all right there in front of you …”
On What Happened to Creativity (and how to get it back):
“I want to be honest with you. I am so over data. It’s been so over-collected and so over-analyzed … what happened to creativity?”
“I think that some educator’s 1:1 creativity can only come from what that one student needs. Only an educator can identify that need.”
“I think we’re pushing more towards the creativity side. We’re seeing a lot of makerspaces, genius hour, and 20 percent time.”
“There’s more collaboration with products coming out, and I really like that. Even the furniture has a focus on collaboration.”
“The whole way of thinking about collaboration is changing. It’s making sure kids can work as a team and simultaneously.”
Vendors trying to keep pace with 21st century educators and students need to stay on top of trends, listen to educators and learn how to connect the resources of one product to another. But not everything can be automated. Students are most engaged when they are allowed and encouraged to be creative. Educators are most effective when they have the tools to help students discover and use their growing skills, knowledge and talents.
Content. Collaboration. Creativity.
The 21st Century Classroom.