Tech and education in a modern world by Sébastien Place
Everyone knows that the teaching and training universe is constantly evolving. New teaching methods are designed for a learning experience that is ever more effective and fun. In this context, collaboration is definitely the skill that requires the most development in terms of teaching. The ability to create digital learning environments and virtual classrooms where learning is a collaborative process has become a key step in changing the relationships that students and teachers have with mastering skills, knowledge, and expertise.
Cooperation is the cornerstone
More than ever, cooperation must become the cornerstone of learning communities based on a standardised experience. Schools are changing, and Brussels is no exception. To illustrate this, I can point out a digital transition experience shared by Laurent Friob, a mathematics teacher in the city of Brussels:
“I am a mathematics teacher at Dachsbeck High School. I give classes with a projector and an interactive whiteboard. I have been using OneNote as a classroom interface for two years. Learning how to use this programme is easy. It allows me to include any document, on the fly or prepared ahead of time. Students can then have access to it outside of class. Time is no longer a constraint for me, or for my students. The options for sharing are endless: the students may be absent on such and such a day, need to check their notes, want to consult scientific articles I would like to draw their attention to, want to try the experiments that YouTubers explain… Everything is also archived, which means I can view the evolution of my class throughout the years, and the improvements to make.
This applies to my colleagues as well. Teams allows them to build shared resources: notes from reference courses designed by several people, a library of documentaries, activities to understand the ideas behind a formula or geometry diagram, solved exercises, spectacular experiments that are filmed … The whole idea is to build a work environment that is simple, dynamic, and participative in the sense that several people can provide and improve content throughout time.
More recently (2018-19), each of my students has a Surface Go tablet in the classroom now. They learn how to produce statistics and run financial simulations (loans) with Excel, solve problems with the free software Geogebra, and have access to Khan Academy when they prepare for exams. This means that everyone—students and teachers—are more independent. The pace does not necessarily need to be the same for everyone.
The students, more than any other adult, know that technology is a one-way street, heading only to the future. They all want to be a part of it, and the challenge is to help them to find their place as stakeholders. The digital realm makes it possible for business (Amazon) and leisure (Netflix) to take place at a large scale. But it also makes it possible to imagine knowledge and collaboration with dimensions that go far beyond borders…”
The education of the future?
In light of this testimony, if I had to describe the education of the future, I would say that it will definitely be granular, mobile and accessible, social and collaborative, fun, digital, humane, and enriched with video and other augmented content. Beyond these trends, there seems to be an overall philosophy that is emerging: the need to (re)think systems for learning, based on the needs and practices of students, to get them more involved in the long term, and in collaborative work.
This article was written by Sébastien Place, Modern Classroom Expert at Microsoft.
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