Then and Now: How the Classroom has Changed

Shifts in Teaching

Shifts in technology, home life and learning methods are changing how you teach

Today’s educators are teaching in a different academic climate than years past. Powered by new technology, classrooms are becoming complex education centers for a diverse student body, and a narrowing focus on global rankings has accelerated curriculum across grade levels raising the bar on accepted levels of academic achievement.

Current as well as would-be teachers are looking for solid credentials to prepare them for the modern classroom that includes specialized curriculum, rigorous coursework and applicable skills. Notre Dame College’s online education programs provide these educators with a solid academic foundation and real-world skills to enter the classroom with confidence and be prepared for a new age of learning.

Technology is Changing How Children Learn

New technology tools and resources are making it easier to engage students in complex studies at all age levels helping to foster a robust and interactive learning environment. From the integration of computers in every classroom to the use of web-based resources to support lessons, technology is changing how children get information, process it and apply it to their lives.

Students are seeing real benefits to the new wave of tech integration in the classroom. The U.S. Department of Education reports quantifiable results in today’s classroom due to the use of technology, including:

  • An active learning environment: Teachers are no longer at the center of the classroom in tech-driven learning climates because technology allows students to play a more active role in their education pushing them to be active thinkers about presented information, make critical choices and execute skills more efficiently. Teachers play more of a facilitator role guiding students through planned assignments and tasks with instructional support.
  • Motivated students: Teachers agree that technology boosts student motivation in the classroom. Not only are they eager to take on a task, but they are able to receive instant feedback through many computer programs giving students a sense of accomplishment.
  • Improved technical skills: Technology touches every part of a child’s day and will continue to do so throughout their future. Early exposure to computer programs and technical applications prepares them for future projects that are more complex and high-level.
  • A collaborative learning environment: In addition to increased motivation, teachers agree that technology-driven lessons help to facilitate collaborative learning environments where students interact with their peers providing academic and technical support to their classmates.

Standardized Tests are Changing Learning Models

Standardized testing was first introduced in America’s public schools around the time of World War I when schools administered an Intelligence Quotient (IQ test). Other forms of standardized tests were later implemented in many schools in the years following to provide a measurement of student learning patterns and achievement gaps as well as teacher and school quality. These tests are also used as a means of comparisons across national public education systems and would later be introduced to establish a global educational ranking system.

The implementation of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLBA) in 2002 mandated annual testing in all 50 states and tied many funding programs to a school’s overall performance outcome on these standardized tests. Today, standardized tests continue to be used as criterion for government funding of schools and specialized programs with the 2009 implementation of Race to the Top.

Funding’s dependency on test scores has made it essential that students consistently test well across all subjects. NCLBA and Race to the Top has pushed teachers to be more cognizant about test material when formulating lesson plans and designing coursework year-to-year. Standardized testing greatly influences how and what educators teach in the classroom in order to meet state-approved curriculum for testing success.

Home Life is Changing Learning Dynamics

Data from the National Center for Policy Analysis (NCPA) notes that the two paycheck household is now the majority in the U.S. This has changed the learning dynamics within families across the nation. Busy parents often have limited time to devote to their child’s studies, including attending parent-teacher conferences, volunteering at school functions or supporting their child through academic tutoring at home. Because of this new dynamic, the teacher must take on an expanded role as educator. Communication with parents is essential to ensuring a child’s educational needs are met in the classroom and at home.

Education programs are designed to help would-be teachers meet the new challenges in the classroom in order to succeed in teaching and reaching students from mastering new technologies and understanding how to maximize their value in the classroom to communicating with parents in an effort to facilitate a healthy learning dynamic at home. A specialized education degree can give you the tools and resources to be effective in the new age of teaching.