The global classroom gets media attention!
Forget the blackboard and the chalk. In fact, forget the whiteboard and the markers.
The exercise books, the textbooks and the stationery can also be packed away. There is no need for any of them in the classroom of the future. A room full of students with a tablet each and a teacher with an enthusiasm for social media is all that is required to engage developing minds. At least in one school in Norway this isn’t a vision of the future. This is now.
Every student in Ms Michaelsen’s English class is taught how to set up their own blog. This becomes where they display their work, which others can comment on, and the teacher can mark online. “I don’t use textbooks at all because I think that limits how you teach. I post something on the front of my blog and tell my students: ‘This is what we’re going to do today’, ” she says. The aim of this method, she adds, is to create a “digitally rich” environment where pupils drive learning and classrooms are constantly online, allowing students to be creative by making their own discoveries rather than being led by a teacher. “You can’t grade being inventive,” she adds.
The class also uses Quadblogging – software that allows four schools to join up online and interact and comment on each other’s blogs. “It’s been really exciting because we can read, comment and exchange information with students in other countries,” says Haaken Bakker, a 17-year-old student at Sandvika.
Updates and instructions are given via a group Facebook page. Being a member of a group means Ms Michaelsen doesn’t need to address the tricky issue of friend requests from students as people can interact on the page without needing to be Facebook friends first. Twitter is used to gain inspiration from classes and teachers around the world. “If you’re an English teacher and you’re not using Twitter then you’re missing out,” she explains.
Could Haaken and Hanne imagine a school life without social media now?
They both laugh. “No, just simply no.