Classrooms – do they matter any more? Will your child need one? Will teachers need to be physically located in a school? Does learning have to occur between the hours of 8.30am and 3.30pm, Monday to Friday?
Parents often choose schools based on their own experience – the institution they attended not only taught them reading, writing and arithmetic – it also taught them to expect that schools operate in a certain way. So for most of us, that means learning takes place inside a classroom at a desk.
As we navigate the years toward 2030, the graduation year of our current crop of Reception/Foundation/Prep students, what is ‘normal’ is highly likely to change….in some schools this is already happening.
Flipped classrooms and online learning are not new concepts. We are seeing an increasing number of tutoring, teaching and learning apps and sites targeting students (and parents). These platforms target educators all over the world to work with them, offering the promise of flexibility and a bureaucracy free working environment. They market to parents the promise of expert tuition when and where their child needs it. Some offer bricks and mortar schools (and their Principal) the ability to provide subject delivery that would otherwise not be possible.
A few online classrooms to explore:
My Chinese Teacher – an Australian company offering “a cost effective Chinese language Program for your school, connecting your classrooms with our China based teachers.” It currently services around 100 schools across Australia, New Zealand and the UK.
VIPKid – a Chinese start up that targets Western educators to deliver lessons to children in China, their words ‘Part time teaching, Full time fun!’. Their website states that ‘VIPKID provides an international learning experience to Chinese children – all from the comfort of their homes. Our sophisticated virtual classroom streams passionate, qualified teachers into Chinese homes, linking the world through education.’ It currently has more than 5000 teachers on their ‘books’ for more than 50,000 students.
BYJU’s learning app – the first company to receive investment money from the Chan-Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI), Byju’s learning app launched in 2015 and had 2 million children using it within the first 3 months. It is India’s most-funded educational technology platform valued at $600 million.