Top characteristics of a 21st century classroom

How do you imagine a modern 21st century classroom? The reality is that the school environment in which most students learn remains old-fashioned in terms of how the classroom is designed and how the students learn. There are many things that could help modernise the classroom as well as to improve teaching and learning. The improvements you can make for your classroom range from simply changing seating arrangements to integrating latest technologies into the classroom. There is no right answer and every school should choose what works for their classrooms. Here are some characteristics of a modern 21st century classroom.

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Technology integration

This is probably the most obvious solution for creating a modern classroom. Integrating technology into the classroom can make learning more fun and engaging and it can help to provide students with essential skills that will prepare them for the environment they will enter as modern day workers.

For instance, there is a number of easily accessible online learning resources that could be used for learning languages, practicing spelling or learning maths. You can also experiment with BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) where you allow your students to use their own devices for learning. This is a great way to encourage independent learning as well as for creating personalised learning plans. Not to mention the enthusiasm and excitement created by letting students use their own devices! Gamification is another amazing tool for creating a fun atmosphere in the classroom and for encouraging collaborative learning.

Flexible learning environment

Consider experimenting with seating arrangements and see what works best for your students. Think about whether your classroom layout and seating arrangements have a positive impact on learning. For instance, a traditional arrangement of the classroom where teacher is at the front and students are in rows facing the same direction, might not be the best solution for encouraging collaboration.

What is more, learning can take place anywhere and should not be limited to staying in the classroom all the time. Use other school facilities or other locations to make learning more engaging. Remember that a change to physical environment is believed to encourage creativity and collaborative work.

Teacher as facilitator

Most classrooms consist of tables and chairs, usually arranged so that children face a teacher and the teacher is considered as the source of all knowledge. However, the role of educators in the 21st century has evolved. That does not mean that the role of a teacher is less important. What it means is that teachers are expected to become facilitators in terms of inspiring students to take ownership in their own learning by providing them with opportunities to learn key concepts and to discover the tools they need for learning.

Collaborative learning

Learning through collaboration is one of the most effective forms of learning. As mentioned before, there are many ways for encouraging collaboration in the classroom. It can be done by integrating technology and using tools like gamification or engaging in discussions on social media. Other collaborative learning activities include group projects, debates or peer reviews. All these different activities are great for developing collaboration as well as for improving other useful skills like problem solving, creativity and critical thinking.

Although, there are many different ways in which any classroom can be changed to meet the needs of modern learners, technology plays a big role in developing most of these characteristics for modern classrooms. If you are interested in learning about the evolution of technology in schools, check our infographic here.

Author: Pano Savvidis