There’s a growing realisation that schools will be different for some time to come, even beyond the summer holidaysWe’re looking at the challenges and opportunities this presents in a series of blogs imagining the ‘classroom of the future’. 

Our first article in the series looked at the future of teacher training and development. This article discusses the learning issues that will arise – how can students access learning in a blended way if working between school and home, or ‘socially distancing’ in school?  

Here are our thoughts on the changes that are likely, and how technology will be able to help! 

1. Work will have to follow the student

A huge change is that students may be going to school for several days in a week and then completing work at homeeither as a whole year group or as part of that group. The result is that lessons may start at school and finish at home (or vice versa), with students needing to use technology to keep up to date and work through tasks. Schools will need to be highly organised with effective learning management systems.  

2. Courses, not lessons, will be taught

With students not synchronized with each other, and perhaps some learning over school holidays through ‘catch-up’ schemes the concept of individual lessons will mean less, and students will need to adapt to longer sequences of tasks. This could have a positive impact in that students would be aware of their overall learning goals over time, rather than just ‘getting through’ each lesson.  

3. Content will come from a wider range of areas

An opportunity that many schools have been exploring in lockdown is to reduce the burden on teachers by bringing together content from a range of sources. These will include the classroom teachers, but perhaps also a subject expert in the school, external commercial content, or new, free material from the likes of Oak National or BBC Bitesize. The challenge for the school is not going to be accessing material but curating it into a coherent structure that children can follow. 

4. Students will find new ways to ask for help

Once new ideas have been presented, students have to use and apply them and that’s when teachers see mistakes and offer help in classrooms. If social distancing is to be maintained this might have to be replaced with regular low-stakes online quizzes and online submission of examples of workOn the downside, such access to technology will probably mean students contacting teachers outside school hours and a delay in getting feedback. 

5. There will be new ways of collaborating and recording work

Will exercise books and files become relics of the past as Government guidance is that they should not be taken away by teachers to be marked? Online workbooks, which can be shared between students for project work, may be the answer. Marking could even be outsourced and returned the next day, in the same way that national external exams are marked onscreen by workers in different time zones. 

6. Students and teachers will have to use technology better

All of the above changes mean that both students and teachers will need to be better at using educational technology. And while many in both groups have made great strides while in lockdown, there are still widely varying skill levels. Schools will need to invest in a series of ICT lessons focused on new technologies. And as we discussed in our last article, teacher training will have to include modules on distance and remote learning.  

The Classroom Of The Future is a series of blogs that discusses the future of classrooms and the overall school landscape, and how technology will play a vital role in helping teachers and school leaders be on top of these changes. Make sure to subscribe to our newsletter to receive the whole series and the final guide book at the end.