Shelby County Schools (SCS), Tennessee’s largest public school district, has created what they call a 21st-century classroom. There is no desk for the teacher or any whole-class instruction. Instead, students spend most of their time on digital devices,filling in sentences on an interactive whiteboard, and designing and printing objects on a 3D printer. The educators at SCS hope that the classroom will support what are known as the 4Cs of 21st-century learning: communication, creativity, collaboration, and critical thinking.
While students in this video share their excitement about the new space, it is not clear what the impact of the classroom is on student learning or teacher pedagogy. What about this space do you think enhances learning? Are there any elements that might negatively affect students’ development of core competencies? Share you perspective on Vialogues.
Excerpts from the discussion:
@00:39 RuthS: I wonder how so much technology in the classroom affects student creativity and artistic expression. On the one hand, it seems like it would diminish these things in students, but on the other, there is such a thing as technological creativity that students may hone instead.
@01:07 Tina Cunningham: I like that the students are clearly so excited by space this school has created, but I can't help feeling overwhelmed with everything going on… it seems excellent for self-directed learning, but far too distracting for any whole-class group learning. This isn't necessarily bad, but I do think that some students might be better served by it than others.