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. The second looked at how teaching and learning may adapt and change.  This third blog in the series looks at the opportunities to develop a new and engaging curriculum and the changes and threats that face it when students are working in different places.

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

Classroom of the future

1. Greater choice and diversity

Some students and parents have been managing their school work while trying new and interesting areas – whether that be Eton X courses in communication and critical thinkingFutureLearn Schools’ tasters of higher education or cloud computing courses offered by AmazoWeb Services and others. The latest virtual learning environments allow greater integration of ideas from around the world. Will this challenge what has been considered a restricted curriculum at both GCSE and A-level in recent years? 

2. Some topics for home and other topics for school 

In this article, Zoe Enser argues coherently that some ideas will be more difficult to explain and explore remotely, while others may lend themselves to extended home-based project work. That means that schools might have to plan in much more detail or perhaps collaborate with others to share the burden, creating new roles for teachers who are skilled in these areas.  Whether this leads to the start of a part-time school movement is another question!  

3. Remote assessment to save classroom time 

Following on from the previous point, classroom time may be too valuable for lengthy assessments. However, many teachers have found while working remotely that low stakes digital tests (Microsoft Forms quizzes, Kahoot! Sessions) can be as useful and provide more immediate data than a written test. While it might seem that this lends itself more to subjects such as Maths, the work of No More Marking and others on comparative judgement techniques mean that there is growing potential for similar time savings in longer written work.  

4. Focused and slimmed-down national curriculums

Over recent years there has been a clear trend in adding more content at all stages of learning in many countries, including England. Covering all this material was a challenge without the demands of remote working and many are concerned that 2021 exams will be difficult to conduct fairly, due to lack of teaching time (this article suggests they might be ‘open book’ while others have suggested GCSEs should be abolished)Will the next iteration of National Curriculums, GCSEs and A-levels focus on less content with more opportunity to practice 

5. A different approach to inspection?  

The last OFSTED framework had a strong focus on curriculum, welcomed by many schools and teachers. The ‘3Is’ – intent, implementation and impact – have been the bedrock of many schools’ responses and inspectors have pioneered ‘deep dives’ into subjects on inspection visits. It has already been suggested that inspections should be postponed until 2021 and this might be needed to prepare inspectors to focus on the areas above, exploring how schools ensure and validate learning in a new remote environment. Inspectors may for example need to sample online learning and get the views of remote learners. A library of video lessons could be a great asset for schools in this situation.

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.

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