Have you ever heard of a smart classroom, or maybe even taught in one? Smart classes and smart technology are buzzwords that have been flying around schools for years, but what actually is a smart classroom?
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What is a Smart Classroom? Simple Definition
You’ll find many definitions of the smart classroom out there, so our Educational Specialists here at ClassVR have pulled together what we think is the complete definition:
“A smart classroom is a learning space that’s been enhanced with educational technology and is designed to improve the teaching and learning experience.” @cath_avantis - Educational Specialist, Avantis Education
Imagine a traditional classroom with pens, pencils, paper and textbooks. Now add a range of engaging educational technologies that are designed to help educators transform the learning experience!
Why are Smart Classrooms Important?
“Smart classrooms allow teachers to adapt their teaching styles to meet the needs of their students. By using a range of technologies and smart classroom management, teachers can support their students’ educational and additional needs, and cater for each child's individual learning plan.” @cath_avantis - Educational Specialist, Avantis Education
Everyone learns differently. Every child takes on information in different ways and has different needs. Thanks to the technology provided in modern classrooms, educators can easily adapt their teaching styles to meet these individual needs!
Smart classes are equipped with a range of interactive edtech tools that allow students to learn, collaborate and innovate in incredible ways, all while supporting the needs of every learner. For example, some students may find immersive learning with augmented and virtual reality the most engaging, whereas others may be better suited to physically learning with interactive whiteboards. In a smart classroom, every learning need is catered for!
Types of Smart Classrooms
Now you know what a smart classroom is and why they’re important, let’s discuss what types of smart class are out there.
Standard Smart Classroom
The initial level of smart classroom! Standard smart classrooms are teacher-led learning spaces that usually include a computer, interactive whiteboard and projector. Like a traditional class, teachers deliver front-of-class learning – but the smart technologies provide students more opportunities to interact with the content, the teacher and each other.
Intermediate Smart Classroom
The next level up! Intermediate smart classrooms typically feature all the edtech from a standard smart class plus educational equipment like a digital podium, laptops, and VR & AR headsets. In this type of modern classroom there won’t be enough for 1-to-1 devices, so the technologies will be shared between students – meaning these classes lend themselves to a combination of teacher-led and independent learning.
Student-led Smart Classroom
Finally, the completely integrated smart classroom. Student-led smart classes include 1-to-1 personal devices, meaning every student has access to educational technologies, at any time. In a student-led smart classroom, students lead the learning, exploring and investigating topics themselves. These integrated spaces will include full classroom sets of edtech including the likes of virtual reality headsets, tablets and laptops. It’s not all hardware though, as these classes also include software that students can use to create their own content, like CoSpaces, ThingLink and more!
However, it’s important to remember that every smart classroom is different! There isn’t a set rule for what tools should be included, and the way educators use this smart classroom equipment to deliver their teaching is also crucial. It’s up to each educator to differentiate the tools and teaching depending on the specific context and students’ needs.
“When building a smart classroom, teachers and SLT should be completely focused on their students’ needs. While there are a range of different educational technologies out there, the tools in a smart classroom should be specific to the context of their school and the pupils who attend it.” @cath_avantis - Educational Specialist, Avantis Education
Benefits of Smart Classrooms
Next up, what are the advantages of smart classrooms?
- Flexible Learning
- Time saving
- Excitement and Engagement
- Accessible Education
- Interactive Lessons
Let’s get straight into them!
With a smart class, teachers can adapt the learning speed and style for their students. Instead of being confined to textbooks for most of the lesson, educators have a range of edtech tools at their disposal. Whether it’s interactive whiteboards or virtual and augmented reality, teachers can use these smart classroom technologies to deliver flexible learning experiences. They can ensure each student learns in the most effective way, meeting their specific learning needs.
Lesson planning is one of the most time-consuming parts of teaching. Creating resources, printing out worksheets and planning lessons can take up hours of teachers’ time every single week... but smart classrooms can help! Endless pre-made resources and learning possibilities are available with just a few clicks, meaning educators can easily build, plan and deliver lessons with ease. What’s more, online resources are constantly updated and instantly accessible – so there’s no hunting for the latest edition of textbooks, and no photocopying!
Excitement and Engagement
What’s more engaging, reading from a textbook or experiencing the learning topic with captivating technologies, like augmented and virtual reality? Using engaging smart classroom equipment, educators can grab their students’ attention! From exploring the impossible with ClassVR to creating virtual worlds in CoSpaces, teachers can truly spark their students’ imaginations and improve learning engagement in the classroom.
Everyone has a right to education, and smart classrooms help make learning accessible for all students. Whether that’s providing new opportunities, tailoring the lesson to different learning needs and styles or translating content into different languages, learning in a smart classroom levels the playing field in education. It doesn’t matter who the student is or where they’re from, everyone can access the same learning opportunities!
Smart classrooms encourage interaction. It’s as simple as that! When using interactive technologies in the classroom, students play an active role in the learning. This not only encourages student-to-student interaction, but also student-to-teacher interaction – helping to develop teamwork, critical thinking and problem-solving skills.