Michael C. Warren

Technology and Education

Learning Environment: 2015

without comments

Learning Environment: 2015

Michael C. Warren

Lamar University


When I think about the classroom of the future, I don’t want to think about a classroom, but the learning environment.  The learning environment of 2015 will not just consist of the classroom, but also the school, the home, the town, and the world.  By incorporating a number of technologies into teaching we can expand the model classroom of today into the learning environment of the future.  Learning will be a mobile event, not tied to a particular classroom or building, it will take place at any time and at any place.  Implementing communications technologies and adapting to a growth of new technologies will allow this change to occur with ease.

When we stop thinking about a model classroom of today and start thinking about a model learning environment of the future we see that students will need to be able to access their learning tools at any time.  In order to do this we need to begin adding some additional technologies over the next several years that will allow global access to and from their classroom.  With the idea that a current classroom has a few computers that are connected to the Internet, let us build on this base to design the learning environment of 2015.

Broadening our communication with the students should be our first focus. For the most part students have between a 50 to 90 minute block of time with a teacher for any given project, and if they need to get extra help they are limited to the small amount of time after school and before school that competes with work, extracurricular activities and their social life.  By implementing some technologies that are currently available, such as e-mail, instant messaging and chat services students can contact the teacher and other students outside of classroom to answer questions.  As reported in the 2009 Horizon Report  “Many schools are now beginning to see instant messaging as a learning tool rather than a distraction”.(The New Media Consortium, 2009)  In many cases web based e-mail service or chat programs are also available in a mobile platform.  A student would not even have to be at a computer to send a message to other students or to their teacher.  This should be the first step Maypearl ISD takes to step into a model classroom of today.

Second we will see that students will need to collaborate together. Classroom collaboration will begin with a course management system. “Course management systems are software packages designed for teachers and students to easily share information relevant to their course”.(“WikiaEducation,” n.d.) They are Internet based and allow students to collaborate with other students in school, take tests, write papers, and turn in assignments from any computer with Internet connection.    One of the greatest assets to teachers is the use of question banks that can be built either by a single teacher or by a group of teachers and be used in a test year after year. Course management systems allow tests to pull from these question banks, and placed either in a specific order or in a random order that can help reduce the possibility of cheating. In addition the system then auto grades the test allowing the student to know instantly how they did.  Students who take dual credit courses are already using this technology through the Navarro Blackboard system.  Maypearl could place this type of offering into service with no cost by installing Moodle.

Once we have allowed students to access their coursework and their teachers outside of the standard classroom setting, we should focus on allowing learning inside the school to be more mobile. Just weeks ago Apple introduced the iPad, advancing the standard e-reader to a multimedia tool for both entertainment and education.  Similar readers such as Amazon’s Kindle were limited by black and white display and often only able to read.  The iPad could change the way we read.  Digital music players began appearing in 1999, with the first iPod debuting in 2001. By 2009 Apple has sold over 220 Million iPods that now offer the ability to play music, take pictures and movies run applications and offer the ability to read books.  Just like film and music (records, tapes, and CDs), will paper become primarily digital? “A great many developers and publishers are working on applications that will run on the iPad and other digital devices”. (Links to Me*dia, 2010)  If the trend follows then learning environments will need to be ready for portable devices such as the iPad that can allow textbooks, interaction, and communication.  Without the need to carry around heavy textbooks, laptops, or many of the school supplies they currently carry students can be anywhere and do work.  Not only will e-readers allow us to allow education to become more mobile, we will begin to use applications that are cloud based. Cloud based applications are programs that run on remote computers and have interfaces that we connect to often through a web browser or applications that allow direct connection to the service.  The benefit of such applications is that we do not have to carry around hardware or buy software to install on systems.  Students and teachers could use an application such as Google Docs or other online based document systems to work collaboratively on a paper from anywhere with Internet connection and a web browser.  In order to be ready to handle cloud technology classrooms need to begin now to incorporate it into their technology plan. By making changes now schools can look at reducing technology costs in the near future. “In the professional world, the trend of discovering and using technologies in your personal life, and then bringing it into your professional life is called “consumerization”. Our education system should take advantage of this same trend, which will both enrich our student’s technology-enabled education, and importantly, reduce our budget impact.” (Bittman, 2008)  Maypearl ISD could reduce the strain of their current technology department by implementing tools and services that are based in the cloud. Reducing cost and maintenance time, both students and faculty would have the opportunity for greater technology service, without searching for ways to keep up with costs.

As we can see the model classroom will extend to consist of anywhere the students and teacher are at any given moment.  The model classroom will become a model learning environment where students collaborate on assignments and learn at any given place and time.  These changes can produce new opportunities for students and teachers to expand their lessons out of the standard classroom of today and into a learning environment that is always with them.


Bittman, T. (2008, November 26) Cloud Computing and K-12 Education. Message Posted to http://blogs.gartner.com/thomas_bittman/2008/11/26/cloud-computing-and-k-12-education/

Course Management Systems. (n.d.) In WikiaEducation. Retrieved from http://schoolcomputing.wikia.com

Johnson, L., Levine, A., Smith R., and Smythe, T. (2009). The 2009 Horizon Report K-12 Edition. Austin, Texas: The New Media Consortium.

Links to Me*dia  (2010, February 3). iPad eTextbooks Coming to a Classroom Near You?, Message posted to http://newmedialink.blogspot.com/2010/02/ipad-etextbooks-coming-to-classroom.html

Leave a Reply