Jan 26 2018

FETC 2018: 3 Trends to Embrace in the 21st-Century School

A CDW•G expert offers his insights on how schools can innovate their spaces.

Though teaching and learning have shifted dramatically in the past few decades, most physical classrooms haven’t really changed much.

“We’re no longer trying to teach all students the same way. We need to differentiate in the classroom space as well,” said Mike Peters, CDW•G’s audiovisual transformation lead, in a session on Jan. 26 at the Future of Education Technology Conference in Orlando, Fla.

Peters, who spoke in a modern learning environment complete with modular furniture from MooreCo, noted that to meet the demands of modern learning, schools need to embrace the emerging trends.

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1. Eliminate the Front of the Classroom

A traditional K–12 classroom is often built for “sage on stage” educators, who stand at the front of the classroom and mainly lecture. To better support personalized learning initiatives, Peters said that classrooms need to instead adopt a “guide on the side” model, where educators let students explore subject areas independently or in groups while providing occasional advice and assistance.

To do this, he suggested replacing traditional desks with modular furniture that moves easily to fit whatever a class might be doing that day. Modular furniture gives teachers freedom to be more mobile and collaborative.

Unsure of the effectiveness of shaking up classroom design? Research shows it works!

2. Introduce Content on Interactive Flat Panel Displays

Citing CDW•G sales data, Peters said that in the past few years, schools are moving towards flat panel displays, like those from Promethean.

As schools embrace more video content in classrooms, Peters said these displays create a more dynamic way for students to consume this content.

“They’re just overall brighter,” said Peters. “The panels today are coming in at a 4K resolution.”

3. Rethink the PA System

Peters noted that while schools have embraced technology in most spaces, many still use bell and paging systems that are 30 years old.

Instead of continuing to use antiquated technology, Peters said some schools have found success with IP-based audio solutions that run on their networks and tie into all other audio systems.

For example, Peters said schools can create an emergency management system where an alert would override audio in all classrooms.

Check out more of EdTech’s coverage of FETC 2018 on our conference landing page.

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