While the move to remote learning accelerated the uptake of education technology, it was not without its challenges. With the digital divide widening attainment gaps and increased pressures on educators to engage students from a distance, teacher and student wellbeing is a top priority as students continue to navigate the hybrid approach and edge toward the return to school. Dr John Collick, Head of International Education Strategy at Promethean, explains how schools can embrace the skills and competencies developed over the last 12 months to form the ‘new’ modern classroom and enhance the learning space to benefit students on their return.

The hybrid learning approach has opened up new teaching tools and techniques for educators, and schools will now be looking to implement a robust strategy which reintegrates students back into the classroom, effectively.

Rather than simply returning to traditional teaching practices, schools and educators across the Middle East have the opportunity to develop the new modern classroom. The new modern classroom overcomes issues with technology access, the attainment gap and engagement challenges, by focusing on three pillars, pedagogy, environment and technology.

Combining traditional teaching styles and classroom activities, with some of the methods developed whilst adopting a hybrid approach, schools can enhance the learning environment to support student engagement and properly integrate the most valuable edtech tools for the benefit of the educator and learner alike.

The Pillar of Pedagogy

Modern pedagogical practices blend traditional teaching methods with a variety of activities which target different learning profiles. Although students learn best when in social settings, like the classroom, each student learns in different ways.

As this generation of students are digitally native, pedagogical best practice is to create a diverse learning experience that satisfies different learners requirements, whilst offering access to tools and resources that will support them into their future.

When considering the role of the modern classroom, teachers can take action to maximise the impact their teaching methods have on each student.

For example, employing a range of lesson styles promotes enhanced learning across the board. Encouraging greater collaboration is one of the most effective ways to make students active rather than passive learners, practising tasks and problem-solving — all while developing social skills. Creating collaborative and connected learning environments helps to bolster overall class-wide participation, whilst encouraging students to engage with their learning. Taking this further, making lessons student-led gives them greater ownership of their learning and allows them to tailor activities to their strengths.

Using tools such as front of class display devices, like the Promethean ActivPanel, teachers can create time challenges, competitions and encourage discussions using pre-loaded or downloadable apps. With access to an interactive canvas that enables teachers and students to be immersed in lesson delivery, participation and peer-communication can be central to the education philosophy by embracing a connected hub of the classroom.

This approach, that blends traditional teaching with modern pedagogy by incorporating greater variety with differentiated approaches, not only caters for mixed-ability pupils, but also has the potential to ease the burden on the always-on teacher. A ‘flipped classroom’ encourages a greater relay between staff and student so they can engage with the content, rather than being left to consume it independently. The teacher therefore becomes a trusted mentor guiding them through their learning, instead of carrying the burden of one-way exchanges.

The Classroom Environment

Whilst pedagogy is the driving force behind any educational conversation, the modern classroom considers more than the syllabus and the people involved – it evaluates the space itself.

Making carefully considered choices about classroom configuration not only provides further variety, but reduces the strain on the teacher’s role. For example, static rows of desks facing forward have the potential to stagnate conversation. To encourage effective learning and stimulate discussion, adopting a rounded approach to classroom layout could better facilitate group discussions and classroom activities.

As the conventional classroom has served a vital purpose up until now, the distance between the classroom and its students has heightened the need for in-person collaboration. Exploring new set-ups which spark interest in students can reignite the social component and help to re-engage students when returning to school.

An important part of this structure is the front of class display device. Acting as the continuous focal point of the room, using a device such as an interactive flat panel display, can serve as a central anchor for teachers and students to work from. From educational games, to live-streamed videos or exploring 3D models, the display device can open up the space beyond the classroom.

Embracing Technology

Technology has played an influential role in technology over the years, but even more so over the last 12 months. Educators have first-hand experience of the role edtech plays in delivering hybrid learning, but the new modern classroom extends its benefits from an enabler to an enhancer.

Particularly when considering the modern classroom, elevating the impact of the teacher in a well-configured environment, edtech is essential to delivery of high-quality lessons.

With a generation of digitally native students coming out of a period of hybrid learning, they expect more than ever to use tech tools regularly, nurturing their creativity. Fundamental to how they interact with the world, students are predisposed to understanding ideas and topics through digital platforms. To leverage this opportunity, schools can adopt a digital-first strategy enabling students and teachers alike to benefit from wider technology use in classrooms.

Technology that has been designed for the learning space has been intrinsically researched to meet the requirements of the educators whilst bolstering the opportunities for students. Making lesson delivery more seamless, front of class display devices are equipped with a range of software solutions to encourage creative and dynamic lessons that are enhanced when using technology.

Beyond this, devices like the ActivPanel offer in-built multi-device mirroring, so teachers can efficiently share content and exemplar work. Embedding edtech in the classroom equips staff and students with a range of dynamic tools to engage with each other and the content.

Educators have an opportunity to re-evaluate teaching to thoroughly secure school objectives and support teacher and student wellbeing. Embracing the potential of the new modern classroom does not require radical change, but by focusing on each pillar can help to transform the learning environment into an interactive, collaborative and connected environment that supports teachers to achieve pedagogical best practice.

To find out more about how the Promethean ActivPanel can help you to maximise this educational opportunity and transform the classroom space, request an ActivPanel demonstration today.