Getting connected in Education

broadband for education

Generation Z – born between 1995 and 2009 – most do not remember life without the internet, and have had technology like smartphones, iPads, smartboards and other devices available throughout most of their schooling.

Generation Alpha – born since 2010 – they are younger than smartphones, the iPad, 3D television, Instagram, and music streaming apps like Spotify. This is the first generation likely to see in the 22nd century in large numbers.

A 21st-century education is about giving students the skills they need to succeed in a new world and helping them grow the confidence to practice those skills. With so much information readily available to them, 21st-century skills focus more on making sense of that information, sharing and using it in smart ways. Schools, colleges and universities in the UK are changing; within the next decade we will no longer see the traditional classroom or lecture theatre. Smart devices, tablets and collaborative tools are going to significantly change the way young people will learn in the future.

As consumer trends like social networking, mobile applications and smart devices continue to make their way into the classroom, students are increasingly expecting an atmosphere of more interaction and less presentation. Beyond their expectations, the reality is that students learn more through interaction and doing things for themselves, rather than passively absorbing content.

Regional as well as global classrooms will develop; students collaborating with experts anywhere in the world through connected mobile devices. Textbooks are already being replaced by continually developing, interactive, multi-media online teaching aids. We are also beginning to question the whole way we teach and learn. Below are just 4 of the trends that we believe are reshaping the world of education.

Education Everywhere

It has never been easier to access education and often very cost-effectively, if not ‘Free’. From freely accessible training like YouTube, podcasts, The Khan Academy or the growing number of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) to paid premium courses such as (owned by LinkedIn) and The Open University. The ability to learn at any age, anywhere and using a blended learning approach has never been easier or accessible.

Changing Classrooms

“Flipped” learning is where pupils undertake some of their learning outside of the classroom (e.g. watching videos the night before that explain a new concept). This frees up the teacher’s time to focus on more useful classroom activities, such as providing formative feedback and giving more personalised support to pupils who are struggling. It also gives pupils more control over their own learning, leading to the development of better general learning skills. Classroom time is no longer spent taking in raw content, a largely passive process. Instead, while in classes, students do practice problems, discuss issues, or work on specific projects. The classroom becomes an interactive environment that engages students more directly in their education.

Peer to Peer Learning

Formalised peer learning can help students learn effectively. At a time when education resources are stretched and demands upon staff are increasing, it offers students the opportunity to learn from each other. It gives them considerably more practice than traditional teaching and learning methods in taking responsibility for their own learning and, more generally, learning how to learn. It is not a substitute for teaching and activities designed and conducted by staff members, but an important addition to the repertoire of teaching and learning activities that can enhance the quality of education.

School – Business Collaboration

Supporting young people to develop strong employability skills is important to help them enter the workforce successfully. A growing body of evidence indicates that the chance of school leavers gaining a job and enjoying a successful career increases substantially when they come into regular and sustained contact with employers whilst still at school. There is a central role for businesses to play in workplace skills education.

More and more local authorities are engaging with the business community to build links with their local schools, colleges and universities to provide workplace experience, skills support, youth enterprise initiatives and access to technology that they would ordinarily not have access to.

Quickline have the privilege of working with and advising many schools and colleges on the best and most cost-effective technology infrastructures to deploy in order to support learning. If you need advice on how best to meet the technology needs for your organisation please give us a call and we’d be delighted to help.

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