Integrating technology into today’s classrooms offers students experience and knowledge relevant for today’s working world while simultaneously giving parents confidence that their student is receiving a high-quality education. While new technology can be enthralling for students and staff, it can be unnerving if not properly integrated and supported in the classroom. To properly supply students with a modern education experience, it’s important not to overlook the learning spaces as well.
When adding new technology to the classroom, first think about the technology itself. What level of support will teachers need to use the technology effectively? What would benefit students the most? What educational technology (Edtech) would move the district towards bettering the educational experience as a whole, and have an end result of student success? Adding technology to a school is a very individualized experience as each district will have their own desires, goals, support systems and needs.
Once the desired classroom technology has been chosen, the next step must be to focus on the instructional design. One of the very first questions to ask would be, “What does our district want out of instructional technology?” Once you know the skills and competencies you want for your learners and the learning experiences that will help develop those skills, you can begin to integrate specific technology into your plan that will enhance those experiences.
An equally important question to ask is, “How can our schools effectively integrate the chosen technology into learning spaces?” Each type of Edtech introduced requires a different type of supportive environment. It’s important that school districts don’t build an environment around any one type of technology due to the rapid pace at which Edtech is changing. Rather, each school’s instructional design should fit current needs as well as the changing needs of the foreseeable future to prevent future space issues.
Not only are aligned instructional practices and technology important, but classroom furniture is an important tool as well. Education is moving away from front-facing, lecture-heavy teaching to a more modern, collaborative, student-centered learning environment focused around relationships. Proper furniture choice becomes vital to the classroom as furniture that is easy to move determines the success of a classroom’s ability to collaborate in different ways. The right environment can allow students to seamlessly move from group to individual work and gives the learner the opportunity to control the time and pace at which they learn. This mobility allows students to create a space that helps them learn best.
Today’s technology is growing and changing at an incredible pace. For schools, this fact can be both exciting and daunting, leaving questions on how to effectively integrate technology into learning spaces, and what benefits it will have on student learning and the school environment. To properly integrate technology into learning environments, start by focusing on the desired learning experience. Finally, make certain to design supportive spaces that will provide for the experiences and results you seek. Properly integrated and sufficiently supported technology is the key to success.
Brandon Hillman, ALEP
MeTEOR Education VP of Sales, East Region
MeTEOR Education is a leader in instructional design. We keep learning and relationships the focus of our work. We strive to help schools design spaces that allow for effective utilization of today’s technological and instructional needs, while simultaneously creating the flexibility needed to support future Edtech and instructional delivery methods.
Brandon Hillman is a passionate industry thought leader and education advocate with over eight years of experience in creating High-impact Learning Environments. He has been with MeTEOR Education since 2013 and in that time has worked with districts across the country on transforming their learning environments in a planned, progressive, and programmatic manner. Brandon is an Accredited Learning Environment Planner (ALEP). This is the Association for Learning Environment’s (formally CEFPI) most comprehensive professional program in the educational facility industry. It is therefore the top industry standard for all professionals engaged in planning, designing, operating, maintaining, and equipping learning environments at all levels of education. His greatest joy comes from spending time with his wife Meghan, and their two sons: Easton and Jameson.