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A wired classroom is exactly what it sounds like, a classroom connected to the internet. More specifically, a wired classroom uses the internet and other aspects of modern technology to enhance learning for students. This type of learning can involve bringing wireless technology into schools and institutions or setting up completely virtual classrooms accessible via the internet.
Modern technology allows education to keep up with the trend in learning towards immediate feedback, real-time information, and a customized experience for each student. This trend is highlighted by the fact that now 4 in 1 students are enrolled in online courses.
The traditional lecture approach used in schools is one-size-fits-all, assuming that all students learn the same way. In reality, students vary with the ways in which they learn best. Many need to actively participate in their own education to be able to learn material effectively. This need is becoming more prevalent with the ease and speed at which information can be accessed today. Teachers are using the internet both in and outside of classrooms to enhance learning.
Using the Internet in the Classroom
Using the internet in physical classrooms is what the wired classroom is all about. The internet is a valuable method of supplementing typical lectures and enhancing learning through all types and levels of schooling. Bringing this to the classroom has many benefits such as reducing costs and increasing teaching efficiency.
Visual aid is a key aspect of learning. Digital images and videos found online are used to help students understand key lecture points. For example, there are many comprehensive animations of biological processes on YouTube which can aid biology students in understanding these molecular processes.
Connecting the internet to learning can also help with teaching time-sensitive data. For instance, teachers can incorporate current news or politics into lectures using real-time examples. Instead of being confined to the material in a textbook that was written years ago, the internet brings fresh information to a classroom on a daily basis.
Cloud computing allows for cheaper, cloud-based textbooks and abolishes the outdated material in these. Cloud-based materials can be easily updated with current events. This information can be accessed from any device, meaning students can connect to their material from computers, tablets, or smartphones.
Internet Technology for Teaching Feedback
The internet allows teachers to receive immediate feedback on their teaching. Teachers have implemented methods such as just-in-time teaching and clickers into their classrooms to monitor student feedback.
Just-in-time teaching is a web-based method that allows teachers to adjust and plan their lectures according to the amount of material their students have understood. This was developed by Gregor Novak, Ph.D., an Indiana University physics professor. Just-in-time teaching involves giving students a short assignment which they complete and hand in online before class. The teacher can then assess where the class is at regarding the lecture material and plan accordingly.
Similar, clickers rely on real-time student feedback by allowing teachers to elaborate on topics during class that students may not have understood. This involves the use of remote control devices given to each student. Students answer questions that the teacher asks by clicking buttons on these devices. This allows teachers to ask a question and elaborates on concepts if many students get the question wrong, indicating that they have misunderstood the material. These clickers also keep students more engaged in the class.
The benefits of virtual classrooms are vast. By allowing students to be involved in online distance learning, schools can avoid problems with crowded classrooms, boring lectures, and low engagement. Instead, distance learning through the use of the internet opens up education to people who may not have otherwise been able to participate in learning. For example, people with a difficult schedule may find it hard to attend institutions during particular hours. Or, people may not live within a convenient distance to an education center making institution-based education unrealistic for them.
The many aspects of online learning include streaming lectures, video conferencing, virtual learning spaces, and course management software. These tools all allow online learning to be optimally successful to those involved.
Course Management Software
Course management software, such as Blackboard Learn, Moodle, and ATutor, provides a useful content management system (CMS) for education materials. The purpose of the platform is to act as a virtual classroom. Teachers can provide materials and assignments. Students can learn, take tests, and participate in discussions.
Online classrooms are extremely cost-effective. Building costs are eliminated, as well as costs of textbooks or other physical materials. This allows education to be provided to people at a lower price which benefits those who may not be able to afford traditional education.
The learning space on course management software also allows students to interact with the learning material in a way that is not possible in a classroom environment. They can customize their own learning experience by choosing which material to read or watch. This way, students can learn using the method by which they learn best. For example, some people find it more useful to watch videos while others prefer to read the material. Students can also return to material multiple times if they need more assistance.
This type of software also increases the speed at which learning is possible. The teaching of material in physical classrooms can be delayed due to distractions, unrelated tangents, or class discussion cutting into lecture time. This is not an issue when learning online. Students can also be tested after each lecture to ensure that everyone is on the same page. These tests can be given easily, marked automatically, and scores delivered immediately. This allows for students and teachers to get instant feedback on their learning and teaching styles.
The Shift in Learning Responsibility
Of course, with online classrooms, the responsibility for learning is placed more on the learners and less on the teachers. This may present a problem for people who are used to the traditional style of education when they are suddenly faced with the necessity of time management and self-discipline.
With an online setting, learning can occur at any time. This means that students can pick and choose what days they want to spend participating in education. Students are also required to download lecture material and stay up to date on readings. Students will have to be able to motivate themselves to attend and keep track of their lessons.
Discussions are an important aspect of online learning. Students have to dedicate time to participate in these and ask questions to fellow classmates when they need assistance with course material. They also have to acquire good communication skills and be able to work independently. Just because learning has transitioned to the internet and can be done from the comfort of one’s own home, it does not make it easier.
The Future of Online Learning
The market for e-learning has grown extensively as more students are choosing the following online courses. This trend is leading to cost reductions for students and a higher availability of online course options to choose from. However, some have questioned whether online learning is as strong as traditional classroom learning.
Challenges to overcome involve educating teachers on how to use online resources effectively in their teaching practice. Teachers require direction on implementing internet technology to increase engagement and teaching efficiency. Overall, the move towards online learning is vastly positive by increasing accessibility of education for everyone and offering customizable learning environments to individuals.