The IT (information technology) and internet communications revolutions of the past two decades have transformed teaching-learning norms and systems around the world — particularly in post-industrial societies of the first world beyond recognition. With the introduction of ICT (instructional communication technologies) into classrooms of progressive top schools Hyderabad worldwide, it is now possible to supplement and enrich chalk-n-talk and textbook teaching with live multimedia presentations on smart boards, to facilitate deeper understanding of curricular concepts and subjects. Moreover, the internet revolution has created a vast universal digital library accessible to all, enabling students to reach the world’s best teachers with the click of a mouse.
As we move further into the new millennium, it becomes clear that the 21st Century classroom needs are very different from the 20th Century classroom needs. In the 21st Century classroom, teachers are facilitators of student learning and creators of productive classroom environments in which students can develop the skills they will need in the workplace. The focus of the 21st Century classroom is on students experiencing the environment they will enter as 21st Century workers. The collaborative project-based curriculum used in this classroom develops the higher order thinking skills, effective communication skills, and knowledge of technology that students will need in the 21st Century workplace. The interdisciplinary nature of the 21st Century classroom sets it apart from the 20th Century classroom. Lectures on a single subject at a time were the norm in the past and today collaboration is the thread for all students learning.
Despite the technology revolution beginning to dramatically impact learning outcomes worldwide, too many schools Hyderabad still continue to adhere to teaching-learning systems of the 1950s, which place a high premium on memorisation (of dates, places and facts that are quickly forgotten after formal examinations). The 21st century has heralded an era in which vast amounts of information must be assimilated and integrated by students — information they need to retain well after their exams. The human brain is a seeker of connections, and teachers’ focus must be on producing students well prepared to confront and manage a rapidly changing universe. Educational institutions also have a responsibility to produce not just academically qualified, but well-rounded and responsible global citizens.
If students are to be productive members of the 21st Century workplace, they must move beyond the skills of the 20th Century and master those of the 21st Century. Teachers are entrusted with mastering these skills as well and with modelling these skills in the classroom. The characteristics of the 21st Century classroom will be very different from those of in the classrooms of the past because the focus is on producing students who are highly productive, effective communicators, inventive thinkers, and masters of technology.