Kollaborate.io is a collaboration platform that enables video chat with a whiteboard. The key marketing feature of this online app is that it is dead easy to get set up and invite others to your session.
Imagine yourself back in the classrooms of your school days. Chances are at the front of your classroom there was the teacher’s desk. From here the teacher conducted the class, giving orders, keeping a watchful eye on students, and standing to address the class in a lecture.
The teacher’s desk, which was built for the 20th century classroom, has become a symbol of power. Yet, in the age of the digital learner, is this still necessary?
There are many reasons why the teacher’s desk, in its traditional form, should no longer have a place in today’s classrooms. Firstly, it is no longer considered acceptable for instructors to deliver all content to students through lectures from the front of a classroom. Having the teacher being the sole transmitter of knowledge places the learner in a passive role that allows little opportunity for actual learning to take place (Boyce, 2011). Secondly, it is has also become rare in the modern learning environment for an instructor to have their own instructional space in which they are the only one teaching and preparing in that space. Instructors often move between several instructional spaces throughout the day/week, eliminating the need for a stationary desk to exist filled with items such as file folders and stationary. Finally, students are bringing a number of mobile devices to the classroom along with a desire to share and collaborate through them. The 21st century student is not a passive absorber of knowledge, but craves active learning opportunities.
Now is the perfect opportunity to cast aside the concept of a “teacher’s desk” and instead replace it with a space for all of those in the classroom to share information and ideas.
"Self-directed learning is conducted by the student and for the student."
-Gary Poole from The Culturally Sculpted Self in Self Directed Learning
21st century educational practices are focused on making students more active participants in the learning process. This includes allowing for students to direct the learning, having opportunities to express ideas through meaningful discussion, and collaborate with their peers. Research has shown a positive reaction from learners when student-centred approaches are used (Griffiths, Oates & Lockyer, 2007; Gill & Holton, 2006; Poindexter, 2003).
In this spirit the desk at the front of the room can be transformed into a presentation station, acting as a podium open to all learners to step up and be the transmitters of knowledge. This strategy leaves behind the traditional knowledge power structure in favour of a model in which the teacher becomes a facilitator of knowledge. Students primarily interact with each other, while the teacher is present to assist with questions/concerns and to guide students by asking open-ended questions.
Modern day instructional spaces allow for anyone to quickly plug their device (laptop, tablet, smartphone, etc) to the projector and audio making it the perfect space for the sharing of ideas amongst peers.
Like all aspects of our world, educators must look to evolve in order to be more effective. Adopting student-centred approaches is just one way that educators can update their practice to best serve students.
What do you think about turning the traditional teacher’s desk into a student focused presentation station? Share your ideas and opinions in the comments below.
Boyce, T. (2011). Applying social learning theory. Training Journal, July, 31-34.
Gill, T.G. and Holton C.F. (2006). A self-paced introductory programming course. Journal of Information Technology Education, VoI 5, 95-105.
Griffiths, G., Oates, B., & Lockyer, M. (2007). Evolving a facilitation process towards student centred learning: A case study in computing. Journal of Information Systems Education, 18(4), 459-467.
Poindexter, S. (2003), Assessing active alternatives for teaching programming. Journal of Information Technology Education, VoI 2, 257-265.
Poole, G. (2012). The culturally sculpted self in self-directed learning. Medical Education, 46(8), 728–737.
Gibbon is a web app which makes it easy to create learning playlists by simply adding specific article or video links to your custom-made content compilation. It can also strip away any styling allowing you to focus more on the content.
An uncommonly excellent marketing firm in Atlanta needed to hire a writer. In keeping with their culture and style, their help-wanted ad read: “Wanted: Defender of the English Language.”
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Failure is good because it leaves us the opportunity to reflect critically on our professional practice. What is reflective practice? How should teachers implement it? Check out our video on Reflective Practice to learn more.
Assessment in higher education shapes the experience of students and influences their behavior even more than the teaching they receive. (Gibbs & Simpson, 2004)
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This is a video of a Flipped Classroom workshop recently held at Lethbridge College. Workshop participants had a chance to speak with a panel of other instructors who have already begun “flipping” their classrooms.
The Open Professional Education Network website is a search tool for finding Open Access Resources. It includes courses, texts, pdfs, video, images and more for secondary and post-secondary.