how developments in tech could shape the classrooms of the future.

Whether through changes in laws, regulations or attitudes, every workplace evolves over time. The classroom is no different to this, and one of the key factors that is causing a change in our classrooms today is technology and its continuing advancements. 
From newspaper articles to water cooler chat, there are countless opinions on how technology will impact the future of teaching our students. Will AI and robots  replace teachers? Unlikely according to the BBC. Will education become fully digital? Despite the debate, what is certain is that technology will shape the classrooms of the future in some way, just as it has done in our everyday lives with things like smartphones and voice controlled devices. At Randstad, we have explored some of the ways that tech could do just this:
  • Gamification within schools
  • The internet of teaching
  • Virtual opportunities and automation

1) Gamification

First of all, what exactly is gamification? It’s not just a term that’s reserved for hardcore gamers. Essentially, it is what it says on the tin: the process of implementing game mechanics to encourage participation and engagement. So, using gaming principles to help our students to take part in lessons and absorb the content. 

But, will this really work? One school in the West Midlands is already experimenting with this concept, by incorporating popular video game Minecraft into their curriculum, and asking students to build a fully-functioning virtual city in a team. The school’s headteacher has explained that it helps students to apply skills such as budgeting, teamwork, creativity, and communication in an engaging environment. 

This real-life example suggests that along with the process of gamification, technology will help education to become more project-based over time: lessons will incorporate video content and diagnostic quizzes, whilst using exciting technological platforms and channels, mirroring the platforms that students will be using in their lives outside the classroom.

2) The internet of teaching

You may have heard of the ‘internet of things’ - the increasing connection of devices to the internet and/or each other, such as in a smart home where connected devices can “talk” to each other. Well, this could be coming to schools. For example, the classroom has the potential to become a smart learning space: sensory devices could be used to help teachers overseas students’ progress more easily, so enhancing the teaching experience.

3) Virtual opportunities and automation

At the moment, when asked to picture a classroom in our heads, the majority of us will immediately think of a room in a school, probably complete with desks, chairs, a whiteboard, and some display boards. However, technology is challenging this normality and other countries such as Singapore are already ahead of the curve. 

In the future, the introduction of virtual technology could enable students to interact with teachers outside of school hours, for example by using live chat support, just as we do now when we want some customer support when shopping online. In addition to this virtual examiners could take the strain off teachers by marking coursework and tasks (a recent Teacher Network Survey found that of the 1,000 school staff interviewed, 75% found their workload unmanageable), and coursework collation tools such as Moodle could be incorporated more to free up teachers to engage with their students.

And, virtual technology could enable some classes to be taught online. For example, the online maths company Third Space Learning has partnered with University College London to offer 4,000 British primary school children weekly one-to-one maths lessons with tutors based in Sri Lanka and India.

So, how will technology play a part in educating our students?

The above example clearly suggests ways in which introducing additional technology to our classrooms can work alongside traditional teaching methods to offer students the extra support they need to achieve their full potential. Forget ‘teachers vs technology’ and instead think 'teachers harnessing tech': no one can predict exactly what will happen to teaching in the future, but the ever-increasing technological tools can work alongside the fundamentals of teaching to support our students. 

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