DEFINING A 21ST CENTURY LEARNING ENVIRONMENT

The environment of classroom learning is shifting as technology is now the equivalent of a #2 pencil.

Districts, schools, and teachers are learning new methods to support a 21st Century Learning environment through digital learning. With the world literally at student’s fingertips, these new 21st Century learners need quick access to information and are capable of learning at a whole new level with a constantly evolving array of technological tools and activities.

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Winston Churchill Middle School student working in 21st Century Computer Lab

 

Far more important is the educator’s role in employing material that is accessible and engaging in a technology-infused learning environment. The outcome of this transformation means fusing the traditional three R’s (Reading, Writing and Arithmetic) with the four C’s (Critical Thinking, Creativity, Communication, and Collaboration).

These 21st Century skills are now a requirement in the classrooms in order to prepare students for this progressing globalized workforce.

But in order for districts, schools, and teachers to understand the new pedagogy to support 21st century skills, it’s important to clearly define and describe what a 21st Century Learning Classroom is.

To do this, we spoke to some of our Associates at ATI.

“How do you define 21st Century Learning?”

“21st Century Learning uses technology to offer a variety of learning experiences for students.  It’s no longer about a teacher lecturing to a class. It’s about students working in small groups to solve problems together, working on projects from different vantage points to see patterns in the world, mixing student ages so that older kids can teach younger kids and in the process expand their own learning. Using technology to enhance learning, whether it’s researching a topic on the Internet, using virtual reality to explore a molecule’s structure, or teleconferencing with students their own age across the world. 21st Century Learning expands the learning possibilities beyond the four walls of the classroom.”

-Deborah Lesnefska
Associate, Project Manager

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21st Century classroom equipped with Apple TVs and WIFI for full connectivity.

 

 “What are some adjectives you might use to describe 21st Century Learning?”

“Mobility, flexibility, scalability → enduring use, longevity and relevance
Indoor/outdoor connectivity → learning environment without prescribed physical boundaries
Team-oriented, project-based → social, hands-on learning”

-Anna Win, AIA, LEED AP
Associate, Senior Project Manager

In this 3D video, you can see how ATI implemented some of these concepts at San Juan Unified School District’s Winston Churchill Middle School in Carmichael, CA.

Winston Churchill Middle School’s classrooms are fully integrated with wireless technology for individual connectivity to wall mounted flat screen displays. The rooms were prepared with white boards surrounding the classroom walls with no “front” of the classroom teaching spaces. In addition, each desk has wheels on the bottom, allowing anyone to easily move them. The flexible classroom design promotes an all-around collaborative learning environment.

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21st Classroom with desks that are easily moveable, allowing for flexible, collaborative spaces.

 

No longer does learning have to be teacher-centered, one-way, one-size-fits-all. More schools are transfiguring their classrooms into a very exciting environment.  Classrooms are no longer that quiet classroom, but rather a class that is vibrant, vocal, and where children are talking, collaborating, and helping one another. 21st Century Learning involves more than just the use of technology, but students using technology to achieve goals in a different way than what was possible before.

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