Hardware and software are being combined in the modern classroom, which is blending digital and physical environments, a process that has been accelerated by COVID-19. Technology is an inevitable part of education. Yet for applications to work in schools, training the trainers is indispensable. Teachers need to be empowered to learn and motivated to adapt the rigidly structured curriculums to customized and fluid content.
“Teacher retraining is very necessary for them to be effective guiders, it can’t be that fast and needs to be done properly. You may also need a team of people to facilitate collaboration,” says Professor Samuel Chu, from The University of Hong Kong’s Faculty of Education.
Gone are the days where students would do nothing more than sit, write notes, do their homework, and take exams. Many schools are using a ‘flipped classroom model’ which is a more collaborative learning model compared to the past. This way of learning encompasses the idea of a “modular classroom”, providing hands-on experience for students.
Instead of being in one place, students are able to research across different sites, with assessments rather than exams, and learning as a process where teachers inspire and cultivate students’ learning - a sea change from tradition. “What has made this possible is access to the tools such as mobile devices, internet, and stable Wi-Fi. Teaching kids to manage information flow, process, and the complexity of the internet, is a big priority here,” says Sunil Talwar, Deputy Director of Operations at Chinese International School.
The newest devices are a nice addition for any school, but more important is having leaders to drive change. “Investment in education is not just about physical hardware, but manpower and learning. Hardware can be bought but just throwing money at something doesn’t work. Having the basics, academic talent and right leaders to implement for the community will create success,” says Talwar.
With many children having mobile devices, educating them on being responsible is paramount. “Mindfulness, wellbeing and cybersecurity are a joint effort with families – it takes a village to raise a child,” Talwar adds. To add to that, building a global mindset is very important. “We have people from all over the world, and that opens up the kids to different cultures, this allows them to take on the world and be comfortable in any environment, and respect it as well,” Mr Talwar says.