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Is this your future classroom?

Posted by Peter Barnes on September 11, 2017 at 2:25 PM

Rear view of students raising hands with a teacher in the college lecture hall.jpegSydney University has published a very interesting article about how it's classrooms have changed.  To read Sydney Uni's complete post, go here.

Here is a summary of the article, which starts with this comment: 

"Today, the classroom is flexible, creative, and agile – our students are logging in and learning from all over the globe. The modern tutorial room, lecture theatre and laboratory are still hives of activity, but not in the way you remember it. Here are a handful of ways the classrooms at Sydney have changed."

Service learning: meaningful contributions and reciprocal education

Service learning combines hands-on community service with instruction and reflection, so the teaching and learning experience is enriched through reciprocal benefits. An example is instead of reading a textbook about pest management in the Northern Territory, students travel to Kakadu and check it out for themselves. They meet local indigenous people and help them map and control the spread of weeds using software and real-world solutions. 

Sydney Uni students now learn in new classrooms in Kakadu, far west New South Wales, western Sydney, and the Tiwi Islands. 

Study abroad and student exchange

The university students also learn in many other countries via more than 270 exchange programs in 41 countries. By 2020, the university is aiming to have half it's graduating students take up an international exchange during their studies.  

Online learning: from the comfort of home

Sydney University students don't have to attend the campus for all their lectures, with more than 100 units of study available for students through the Open Learning Environment.  This enables them to learn online from home or anywhere with an interenet connection. 

Collaborative spaces and virtual reality: equipping students for the workplace

Gone are the days of university classrooms consisting simply of a lectern, a blackboard, and a passive sea of desks. The new undergraduate curriculum is no longer didactic – it fosters interaction, collaboration, dynamism and real-time problem solving.

Sydney Uni's Immersive Learning Laboratory was launched in August, 2017. It allows students to interact with virtual environments through virtual reality. Examples include going into space or into a Syrian refugee camp. 

The university's article concludes, "Our classrooms are going global, virtual, and reciprocal alongside community needs. Students are making big gains in the areas of cultural competence, international experiences, and breadth of knowledge. To match modern challenges and the rapidly shifting landscape, their experiences of ‘going to class’ will be different to yours, arming them as leaders of the future."

How fast do you think our primary and secondary schools will be able to move towards a future classroom that includes some of the features Sydney Uni already has available for it's students?

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Topics: eLearning, School, Teaching, For Principals

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