The Changing Nature of School Learning Environments

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Technology has created changes in the school learning environment that would have been unthinkable a few generations ago. Today, these positive changes have made a world of difference in the lives of so many students as well as educators. With the changing needs of the economy and the world we live in, the way education was approached traditionally had to make way for paradigm shifts that prepared youngsters for the new challenges that the world had to offer. Rote learning does not lead to success anymore. The challenges of today’s work environment can only be met with creative, out of the box thinking, which is what the learning environments in schools today are encouraging in children. This has led to changes not only in concrete ways, such as how physical spaces of classrooms and furniture are designed, but also in abstract ways, such how instruction is imparted.

One of the biggest ways in which school learning environments have changed is in the way technology has been seamlessly integrated into classrooms. Children, as early as the first grade, work on their own laptops. The Internet has pervaded how learning takes place, how information is sourced, where information is sourced from, etc. Classrooms can connect to other classrooms across the globe over the Internet, giving children a chance to become truly global citizens by understanding and interacting with their peers who are halfway across the globe.

Some of the standard technological equipment found in most schools today are tablets, laptops, Chromebooks, whiteboard, document camera, flat touchscreen panels, response systems, etc. Connected over the school’s Wi-Fi connection or Cloud, teachers and students can collaborate with each other and keep up to date with homework, assignments, test reports, etc. Teachers also have more resources at their disposal to make learning even more fun and engaging for children.

Schools are also changing in that they are moving beyond the limits of their brick-and-mortar buildings to expand beyond and touch the lives of students who may even be living in other countries. Students are also free to take courses from other schools or universities. No longer are they limited by what their school curriculum mandates them to study. Children with an aptitude and interest in different subjects can study these online, even for free, from prestigious universities, without having to worry about any age bar. The school environment has truly become fluid and global.

Schools that are full time virtual schools are mushrooming across the country. These schools either offers their content to other schools or have children exclusively enrolled with them. The changing nature of school environments like this means that education has become much more affordable, democratic, personalized, and self-paced in nature. Children can decide what courses they want to take, how many hours they want to put in to their studies, and where to study from. What was earlier a science fiction dream has now come true for millions of children across the world.