Human attention span has been decreasing gradually. In 2000, it was recorded at an average of 12 seconds. And in just 15 years, in 2015, it became 8 seconds! This decline can easily be accounted for by the advancements in technology and the radical increase in distractions. This has a significant and negative impact on students’ learning rates. Now while technology gets the major blame for the shrinkage in learning capabilities in young learners of that age, it can also be the perfect answer to make the situations better.

Technology can help create a more interactive and dynamic learning environment, allowing students to explore topics in a more engaging way. From online collaboration tools to virtual classrooms and learning management systems, there are so many options to leverage technology to enhance a learning experience. In this blog, we will explore how digital classrooms can effectively improve the learning experience for students and what you can do for easy implementation of the same.

What is a Digital Classroom?

A digital classroom is a learning environment that incorporates the use of hardware tools like computers and tablets and software tools like video conference rooms and LMS to aid student learning. This type of classroom can be an extension of the traditional physical classrooms that provide additional opportunities and scope for collaboration and research. It can also be the only classroom for students who cannot attend classes in person. Such virtual classrooms have synchronous instructions, videos for self-paced learning, and online assessments.

Different Types of Digital Classrooms

On the basis of the description above, we can categorize digital classrooms into the following categories:

Smart Classrooms

These are physical classrooms that blend traditional teaching methods with modern technology to create a comprehensive learning experience. Such smart classrooms have teachers or instructors like traditional classrooms, but in addition to that, they also have various other tools to create an interactive and engaging educational environment. Here’s a list of tools that are usually used to implement smart classrooms in educational institutes:

1. Interactive Whiteboards

An interactive whiteboard is a large interactive display that connects to a computer and/or projector. It allows teachers to display images and videos, present slideshows, and write or draw on the board so a large number of learners present in the class can view it. Since these whiteboards are only used to display the existing educational content and teachers are not required to draw instructions in real-time, both the speed and quality of instructions get enhanced. Moreover, since these whiteboards largely remain interactive, tutors can add dynamic elements to their course material to help students understand even more complex topics.

2. Laptops and Tablets 

Laptops like Chromebooks and tablets like iPads are becoming increasingly useful in the seamless implementation of smart classrooms. These individual devices help students access a variety of educational resources, engage in collaborative activities, and complete assignments digitally. Since these are mobile devices, they also enable students to work on their individual projects anytime and anywhere. These devices, when used within classrooms, can also be integrated with the interactive whiteboards to improve collaboration and engagement in the class by allowing students to share ideas in real time. These devices can also be used to assess every learner’s knowledge and learning pace, so the educational institute can automate progress tracking and reporting.

3. Smartphones

Just like laptops and tablets, smartphones can also be used in smart classrooms in a variety of ways. They can be used for online research, finding relevant resources for assignments, taking notes, participating in online group discussions, connecting with other students via apps, creating digital portfolios, and streaming educational videos. The major difference here is the portability. With tablets and laptops, students have to carry an additional device, which usually is only used for educational purposes, when heading to their smart classrooms. However, smartphones do not need any additional devices. You can simply hire an eLearning app development company to create a custom app for your learners and have them install it on their smartphones. They can then use it in combination with other necessary tools to get required instructions easily and cost-effectively. One drawback of using smartphones over laptops is the limited screen size and availability of other distractions on their personal phones.

Digitalize Your Classroom

Virtual Classrooms

Virtual classrooms are online learning platforms that enable students and instructors to interact and collaborate in a virtual environment. They allow for synchronous and asynchronous learning, where students can log in at any time to access course materials, participate in activities and discussions, and interact with their classmates and instructors from any remote location. Virtual classrooms, thus, offer all the advantages of smart classrooms with added benefits of cost-efficiency and easy accessibility. Students can continue to learn from any location and at any time, and educational institutes can target more students across the globe without many investments.

Video Conferencing Software

This is an essential technology solution used to set up a virtual classroom. It provides teachers, students, and administrators with an efficient way to stay connected and collaborate in the virtual learning environment. It enables both the teachers and students to give instruction and learn from a remote location, respectively. The video conferencing software also enables teachers and students to share resources such as documents, images, and videos, making it easy for them to collaborate. Not only that, but with the ability to share their computer screen, they allow teachers to provide visual instructions in a more immersive manner. Some popular video conferencing tools used by educational institutes include Skype, Zoom, Google Hangouts, and WebEx.

Learning Management System

Learning Management Systems or LMS are comprehensive solutions designed to manage and deliver online courses. They provide an easy-to-use platform for teachers and students to interact, share resources, and collaborate with each other. They also provide teachers with tools to create engaging digital environments for learners to access a wealth of features like assignments, tests, quizzes, recorded lectures, transcripts, etc., to aid their learning process. Usually, LMS is built with an intuitive interface, which makes it easy for teachers to use it even if they do not have much technical experience. Some popular LMS platforms available online are Canvas, OpenEdx, Edmodo, and Blackboard. If these solutions do not fit your organizational goals, you can instead choose custom LMS software development services to reach your classroom digitalization goals with ease.

Online Interactive Whiteboard

Like the interactive whiteboards of smart classrooms, online interactive whiteboards also offer an excellent way to provide interactive, engaging learning experiences for students. Through an online interactive whiteboard, teachers and students can collaborate in a synchronous environment, despite being located in different places. With the ability to provide an interactive and engaging learning environment, online whiteboards provide an additional benefit of global accessibility. Some popular examples of online interactive whiteboards are Miro, Google Jamboard, ClassFlow, Scribblar, Conceptboard, etc.

Benefits of Classroom Digitalization

When you digitalize a learning environment, you offer students with more engaging and interactive experiences that help them absorb knowledge in a more effective manner. Class digitalization also helps teachers save time and money and yet offers their teaching services to a larger base of learners. Here are some of the other major benefits associated with the digitalization of classrooms.

Increased Engagement

Digital classrooms can help in the creation of more interactive and engaging learning experiences for students. Using multimedia tools, such as videos, simulations, and virtual reality, teachers can create dynamic learning environments that keep students engaged and motivated, increasing their attention span and, consequently, their learning capacity.

Enhanced Collaboration

Whether a digitalized classroom is synchronous or asynchronous, it simplifies online collaboration for students seamlessly. It enables students to work together on projects or assignments from anywhere without having to meet in person. Additionally, the backend tools of such eLearning platforms also enable teachers to monitor and manage student collaboration, making it easier for them to provide real-time support and feedback.

Easy Accessibility

Digital classrooms, especially completely virtual classrooms, provide students with access to a variety of educational resources and materials that can help them to learn more effectively. For example, teachers can easily provide students with access to online learning materials, such as videos, simulations, and other interactive tools, which they can use to absorb knowledge at their own pace.

Assessment Automation

Modern classrooms with digital tools for assessments allow teachers to appraise student performance more accurately and efficiently through automation. The online tests and quizzes of online learning systems are equipped with logic to know which answer is right and which is not. This helps teachers to quickly and accurately measure students’ progress without any manual effort.

Conclusion

Digitalization can be a great way to enhance the classroom experience for both teachers and learners alike. Digital tools like online resources, video instructions, transcriptions, and gamification elements like quizzes, etc., make learning more engaging and enjoyable for students. At the same time, tools for automated assessments and interactive whiteboards can help reduce paperwork and administrative tasks for instructors and administration of educational institutes. By clearly knowing your objective of classroom digitalization, you can choose which type of digital solution is ideal for your services. Additionally, you can take consultation from a reliable and experienced  eLearning development company to explore opportunities and better understand your market prospects.

Anita Lindquist is the Head of Curriculum in a Secondary School in Stockholm. She is an advocate for excellence in public education and passionate about learning and teaching methodologies.



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