February 5, 2014
What Does the Classroom of the Future Look Like? with Douglas Kiang – from Beth Holland
Douglas begins by introducing himself and asking the question: What does the classroom of the future look like? Right now, people talk about the 21st century classroom, but we’re already here! We need instead to reexamine the present in order to envision the future. Douglas begins by taking a look at the past and showing his 2nd grade yearbook. Through his illustrations, we realize that the kids had accurately predicted the future: a Hawaiian president, Skype, iPads, robot basketball (school robotics tournaments). In the future, the classroom of the future emphasizes curriculum, classrooms, and community.
Curriculum needs to be flexible and adaptive. How do you learn something new?As an example, Douglas wanted to teach his son to shave. However, when he spoke to his son, he discovered that his son had already learned via YouTube. While Douglas said he had missed as a parent, he had succeeded as a teacher. Similarly, when his daughter wanted to be a princess for Halloween, she was able to look online, find directions, and then make her own costume. There’s a whole Maker Movement where not only are kids making, but they are sharing. Look at DIY.org to get the directions, motivation, and sharing possibilities to make their own projects. There’s also an app. What’s great is that the app page encourages students to “be awesome.” Through sharing, an entire community evolves. Kids are sharing, communicating, iterating, and learning. What’s really nice is that most of the things that involve learning don’t involve technology. The technology is for sharing, but not necessarily about making. The Maker Credo – if you can’t open it, you don’t own it. This ties to curriculum. Is it a black box or do students feel like they can get under the hood and tinker, modify, add to, and change. By making your curriculum open, kids can start to take ownership of their learning. Douglas says that our job as educators is to give students a framework, a map, based on a story that he told about some soldiers lost in the Pyrenees. They came out alive and said that it’s because they had a map.
- The Map gave them confidence
- The Map gave them impetus to get moving
- The Map reoriented them
Lessons Learned from GoogleTo get some ideas, Douglas took a tour of Google. In all spaces, there are fun and creative spaces. There’s a lack of top-down management, and no sense of central management. Employees are empowered to just create things – like community gardens. There’s food everywhere at Google, and everything is color coded by level of “healthiness.” There’s a sense of “incongruous juxtaposition of things” across the campus like a dinosaur skeleton on a volleyball court. There are examples of art everywhere – which raises the question of what is art’s role in the learning environment. Google newsletters are posted everywhere – like the men’s restroom – to just post information everywhere to empower people who want to share. Their help-desk waiting area has a serious of round tables – essentially encouraging spontaneous collaboration around creative things. This way, waiting isn’t wasted time.
Lessons from other schoolsThe Urban school has empowered students to have their own voice and put it up visually. They have created a sense of community that empowers students. At Nueva school, students can write poetry on the walls everywhere to let them communicate their ideas. At Punahou, they are looking at their concept of the library to reinvent it as a learning commons. The guiding principles of it are purpose, relationship & roles, and space. So Douglas challenged his students to design a learning commons. He asked them to create a space around what they do and how they learn. They created this in Minecraft – which they used as a 3D sketchpad. Every group had commonalities.
- Lots of group workrooms emerged
- Large arts studio, recording rooms, galleries, etc.
- Dream Area – a place where students can go take naps.
- Outdoor space and elements of the environment