Digital Sandbox

This Blog is designed to provide the reader with information on how to adopt technology into the classroom by relooking at traditional classroom tools and transitioning into new ways of teaching and learning. The Digital Sandbox explores the future of learning through the recreation of 21st Century learning environments.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Connected Classroom

The connected classroom provides avenues for teachers to become facilitators of learning and move away from the sage on a stage approach to teaching. The foundational concepts of instructors guiding students or facilitating their progress are based on the idea that the instructor is no longer at the center of the interaction and application of knowledge. The instructor remains available to students as a facilitator of resources. The connected classroom teacher is a resource to the students by frequently checking student  understanding for their assigned learning.  The teacher, when necessary provides guidance to students in how to process information for a unit of study. The facilitators role in a connected classroom changes dramatically in that the teacher becomes a source to students in how to better use technology resources, access information and how to apply these resources to authentic task.

The connected classroom is a melting pot of knowledge where project based and problem based learning thrives. These are classrooms where high levels of engagement occur as students work cooperatively to access information, create new ideas, build artifacts from their experiences and formulate models through predicated learning. The connected classroom cannot be defined within the traditional classroom setting as it must simulate the workforce of tomorrow. Tony Wagner provides a definition of the how corporations have changed dramatically in the new world of work through a quoted section by Karen Bruett. Bruett states, "The way work is organized now is lots of networks of cross-functional teams that work together on specific projects."1  Work is no longer defined by a workers specific skill set, it is defined by the task the team has been given.  In summation, these are the workforces that thrive on co-creative environments. Workforces that thrive on meeting goals through creative problem solving. For students to gain an edge on employability schools will need to model, design and simulate co-creative learning environments. These are the learning environments that promote web found knowledge that use information as a source to skill development. These are the future networks in creating the classrooms without walls, were students participate in a universal learning experience, utilizing mobile tools to continually access and create multidimensional patterns of explanations of the world around them. Don Tapscott in his book Wikinomics states,  "Work has become more cognitively complex, more team-based and collaborative, more dependent on social skills, more timed pressured, more reliant on technological competence, more mobile and less dependent on geography."2 It is with these ideas that co-creating may become one of the most powerful engines of change and innovations that the education world will now have to explore.

These are the learning environments of the flipped classroom. The co-creative environments that has given birth to the millennial learner. A generation equipped with the mobile tools structured in the provision to create, and  share information across multiple platforms designed for a world of co-creating. This is the world that educators should capture.  These are the classrooms where students are allowed to tap into a knowledge pool of similar interest, a reservoir of creativity that may emerge through an enthusiastic wealth of talent producing warehouses of digital content. The digital content that is shared with those who have similar learning interest, through the creation of digital textbooks, wikis, or blogs. It will not be an easy change and many tough challenges lie ahead to offset the standardized models of the existing rigors of traditional education.  

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