The digital classroom, transforming the way we learn

Now Is the Time to Redefine Learning — Not Recreate Traditional School Online

What needs to be in place for next year?

I just read this article in Edsurge, and it made me think about plans for the next school year. In Norway, we started up after the summer holiday with a so-called yellow plan. All our students back at school, good distance between the students no large gatherings, no out of school visits, every student at school every day. Then things got worse and we went into the red plan. Only groups of 15 or 20, meaning half the class present the first period, the second half after lunch.  Working from home and at school, but getting every student up and in school every day. That was my school’s priority. Many others chose to have students meet up at school every other day. Our county has said schools will go back to the yellow plan the second week of January, but I think we need to be prepared for red as well.

Unfortunately, we are not out of the woods quite yet. Computer models suggest that the pandemic could get even worse over the next month or so. We also need to learn more about a new variant of the virus that has appeared, which seems to spread faster but not to be more deadly. Bill Gates. 

That means this will not be over anytime soon although Bill Gates is predicting a more normalized period nearing the spring. Still, even if that is encouraging for us, it means students in Norway preparing for their spring exam, will be behind this year. And this is bad news for many of our students since the country has had different restrictions depending on where you live. But the exams will be the same for everyone. And our government is reluctant to cancel the exam the second year around, so we have to prepare for that. Here are some things teachers can do to help their students prepare and learn. Because school should not be all about exams and tests of course not. But the usual stress around tests and exams is something we must assume is at a much higher level now than before. At least in my neck of the woods.

Back to the article in Edsurge. If combining what worked best when working in total closedown with what we did when the students only were allowed to attend school half the time, and hold on to that, then we are truly working towards changing school for the better.

When technology is truly reimagining the task at hand, then we say that it is leading to redefinition—a totally new and different way of interacting with instructional material, building understanding or demonstrating mastery. In this case, it often comes down to fundamental changes to the very structure of virtual and hybrid learning models. Redefinition means thinking beyond existing paradigms and schedules that are built for an on-campus experience. It is the opportunity to imagine entirely new ways of teaching and learning—for example, attendance policies that emphasize engagement versus seat time, blended learning models that leverage technology for anywhere, anytime learning, and instructional design that allows increased student choice and participation. Edsurge

The flipped classroom

Let’s start here. If all our students have access to state of the art videos that explain difficult, complex problems for them, we are on to something. And if these are easily accessible, more students will be able to learn. Eager students can watch these videos from home as often as they need. At my school, we bought the school license for this software when we went into the red plan. We bought a school license to Ask Studio. There are many more options here, like Khan Academy. Most likely that is a good way to start since many teachers find it time-consuming and difficult to make these videos on their own. Read more about the flipped classroom in my new book here. And get ideas on how to make your own, and where to find ready-made videos.

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