Two Paradigm Shifts for the 21st Century “Classroom”

Time-Bound & Place-Bound – NO LONGER!

I have noodling for several weeks on the 21st century definition of the “classroom.”  Yesterday, I had lunch with a family member who also happened to do her dissertation on developmental achievement gaps and she ran head long into this same conundrum.

After over an hour of engaging discussion, the world made sense and the prophets of old, the late nineties, had predicted the disruption that is taking place in 2012. She directed me to a book from Terry O’Banien, A College for the 21st Century, published 1997.  Two areas of his book, which I am now engrossed in, jumped off the pages.

The first is that the reliance on time, as a unit of measure, is an irrelevant metric on the mastery of any subject.  As O’Banien points out, “…it’s time on task, recognizing what is understood: human beings learn at different rates. Students should not have to serve time. Time should serve them.”  With 21st century learning tools and the help of Tech Ed, we allow students to learn and master subjects at THEIR rate of learning.  Through participation, collaboration and formative assessment platforms like Via Response, instructors can create, and to a great degree automate, environments for each student to have time on task and to develop proficiency in specific subject matter.

Second is the concept of school as a place.  This concept has been deeply embedded in ours subconscious thought patterns since the founding of higher education. O’Banien thoughts are poignant. “ [T]he conventional classroom…is the isolation cell, the lock up.  If the student is to be freed for more powerful learning in a more powerful way, then the wall must crumble, the boundaries made limitless.” He continues, “if reform efforts are successful, the campus, the classroom, and the library will be turned inside out.

I don’t think O’Banien was suggesting the end of the institution. He was simply signaling a shift where instructors would leverage new technology to augment and restructure pedagogy to take advantage of the internet’s ability to erase the confines of time and place. Students would demand new models with more flexibility. By definition, that is what the Internet does.  We are witnessing a massive disruption in the education model from every corner and facet.

The age of bricks and clicks is upon us! Research will continue at full speed. Learning will continue at full speed. All will happen with the power of the Internet and its ability to extend beyond the four walls of the classroom and provide asynchronous learning to foster individual growth.  Personalization of experiences is the new normal.  Every model is challenged. Every supporting industry will be challenged. We have entered a period of tremendous growth and opportunity for instructors and students alike.

This is the passion that drives us at Via Response.  Via Response enables instructors to make powerful connections with their students in and out of the physical confines of the classroom. Relentless innovation around collaboration and participation tools for formative assessments give instructors and students universal access and compatibility on any device, anywhere, anytime.

Drop us a line anytime.   We look forward to 2012 with anticipation and excitement and potentially working with you!

Derrick Meer, COO Via Response Technologies

About viaresponse

Via Response Technologies provides an easy to use, cloud-based, mobile application that connects students with teachers. The platform blends response technology with social media, cloud computing and mobile devices, creating possibilities for dynamic class activities that help to maintain a constant connection between the student, teacher and educational content all while simplifying the instructor’s work load.
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