By Bob Crain, General Manager of Steelcase Education Solutions
Schools are changing, from the physical layout of classrooms, laboratories and libraries to the way educators and pupils share information. Students are entering with a heightened digital acumen and lowered attention span, while educators feel pressure to deliver positive test scores, increase collaboration, and drive engagement. Today’s changes in schools suggest that it’s more important than ever to make every space an active learning space– spaces that help students connect, get inspired, and achieve deeper learning and better results.
For teachers, parents, and schools alike, American Education Week—November 11-17, 2012— presents an ideal opportunity to enhance curriculum delivery, student engagement and performance. Included below are five, simple ways to inspire innovation in five days developed by Steelcase Education Solutions:
- Try out new teaching techniques, don’t just read about them. Heard of the flipped classroom model – why don’t you put it into practice? Trial run with next week’s lesson plan using this model. Create an instructional video using a tool like showme on your smart phone and use class time for small projects to reinforce key concepts.
- Include small group learning into your lesson delivery plan and track the results. It will no longer be a lesson but a ‘learning community.’ Encourage students to get more production out of group-activities by allowing students to share their work and ideas at a more effective pace. Using media:scape lets students easily collaborate when working together.
- Try out technology tools that allow you to work side by side with your students rather than positioned next to the board. Find new ways to step away from the front of the class by exploring mobile learning tools to work side-by-side with your students. Tools like “Splashtop for eno”iPad app will help control the lesson content from anywhere in the room.
- Explore new learning opportunities by accessing a web portal and connecting with another classroom studying the same topic. As an example, you may be studying water purification systems as part of a STEM unit- why not grab some great resources online and connect with a different school in another country or state that are studying the same topic? Use a free service like Skype to connect, or try the fuse digital visualizer with its built-in web camera to connect classrooms together.
- Add new dimension to teaching and routine lessons. Consider taking advantage of professional development programs. Onsite engagements, online discussion boards, videos, virtual coaching and team teaching can all help provide the necessary experiences and tools to achieve the identified outcomes. Build a simple website to share updates in the classroom and exchange ideas with other teachers using free website creators such as Wix, Weebly or Lunar Pages.