Classroom in Your Hand

Learning in the 21st century

The 4th industrial revolution is already here and the world is now changing rapidly. The old education system cannot sustain, but to adapt itself to suit the environment in the 21st century. What was considered a good education 50 years ago, is no longer enough for success in career in the 21st century.

The National Education Association (NEA), USA developed a framework highlighting what skills are required for the students to survive in this century. Although the emphasise is for the K-12 education, I think the framework is still relevant to be implemented in the higher education.

The four skills needed for students to enter the more complex global society in the 21st century are:

  1. Creativity and Innovation
  2. Critical Thinking
  3. Communication
  4. Collaboration

When we agree that the 4C’s elements are the essential ingredients for the students to ‘grow’ and by considering the characteristics of the millennials students, then we may ask a few questions (these are actually my own reflections, again):

1.  Is the conventional classroom where students sitting in rows and listening to content delivered through a lecture still effective today?

Answer: No. The environment reflects a space where the students are expected to only sit and listen. The students tend to be distracted due to their smartphones. 

2.  If the students are so engaged with technology, can we use the technology to excite them to learn?

Answer: Yes, absolutely.

3.  How? Upload all our contents into the e-Learning system and expect them to effectively learn themselves?

Answer: No. If we fail to make them interested in learning our subject and the contents are just the ‘static’ Powerpoint or pdf lecture notes (becomes worst if the notes have bad visual communication/bad design elements)

Answer: Yes. If the contents are quite interactive to keep the students engaged with the subjects (animation white board videos, HTML animations, relevant YouTube videos and interactive Books)

4.  If they already have the engaging contents and they can learn themselves outside the class, what are we doing in the class? Deliver the same style of lecturing?

Answer: Of course NOT. We can focus with the activities of problem solving, discussion and reflections in the class. The arrangement must be in the form of collaborative learning where students sits in groups. 

I will discuss this in Flipped Learning and Collaborative Learning.

5.  Should we use the technology as well during the class session?

Answer: Of course YES. The students already carry the technology with them…their smartphones. But remember that it must come with the right pedagogy, so that the process of learning can address all the 4C elements.

The Framework of CiYH

During my undergraduate, although the Professors were so inspiring when delivering the lecture in the class, I could perform in a subject because I trained myself a lot with exercises at home or had discussion with my friends in a group.

If most parts of the basic theory can be accessed online before the class, then in in the class the activities can be focused more on problem solving exercises to strengthen the fundamental concepts and to improve the critical thinking of the students. The collaborative learning approach can then be employed in the classroom to let the teamwork happen among the students and also to make the conversation (and relationship) between the students and the lecturer to be much more convenient. The role of the lecturer is now more as the facilitator in the class.

The Classroom in Your Hand is summarised in the following video.

Classroom in Your Hand is the framework I propose to develop the digital content/course so that it can become a ‘personal classroom’ for the students where they can independently learn with their own pace, anywhere, anytime.

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Analyse and plan the lesson by knowing the learners, knowing the learning outcomes, and knowing the digital media.

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Create the digital contents from various media with the intention of interactivity and engagement with the learners.

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Develop and scaffold the learning in the LMS platform. The access should be convenient for learners using the mobile device.

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This is the continuous quality improvement to ensure our CiYH give good impact to the students’ learning.

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