Learning Beyond Classrooms

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By Maslina Mohamad Nasir

As the academic year comes to a close, educators are wrapping up the end of year assessments and starting to think about the next school year.
In 2023, educators and students will continue to play catch up for all the learnings lost during the lockdowns.
With the introduction of new hybrid classrooms in 2023, the big question is, how can educational institutions and educators make full use of the technology to reach this goal.
In this new era of learning, educators need to prepare students for an increasingly complex, digital, and hyper-connected future. The next generation of learners need to be equipped with crucial skills outside of the traditional syllabus to succeed for the future.
Soft skills such as flexibility, adaptability, entrepreneurship, and digital citizenship must become an important part of learning. And educators are at the forefront of this charge.
To bring learning beyond the classroom in a safe, secure environment, schools need to take a holistic approach – comprising of multi-layered solutions, integration with enterprise systems and new hardware, combined with technical competency and a can-do attitude.

Equip students with the right infrastructure

The future is digital, and it’s fundamental that students are equipped with digital solutions that facilitate their learning, no matter where they may be. Beyond devices, students also need robust technical support and managed services to ensure the product runs smoothly across its lifecycle while delivering productivity, security, and collaboration. 
Research by the McKinsey Global Institute identified three digital skill groups that will be foundational for the future of work – digital fluency and citizenship; software use and development; and an understanding of digital systems. Students must be supported with the right infrastructure to help them develop these skills.
For example, students can learn digital fluency and citizenship through their interactions with online communities (such as their school mates).
Educators should always encourage civic engagement, teaching them how to be proficient, responsible, and respectful in their use of digital technology.    

Training programs to develop digital competency

In an ever-evolving world, technology will continue to change and improve. The 2021 Lenovo-Microsoft Education Technology Study showed that students and educators have not yet unlocked the full potential of education technologies, such as Artificial Intelligence and Augmented Reality/Virtual Reality. These technologies will continue to grow in prominence in the coming years. To connect with students effectively and facilitate learning, educators need to maintain a solid grasp of the latest technology trends. 
It can be difficult for teachers to acquire and develop such competencies through self-learning, and often on their own personal time. Schools must prioritise digital literacy training, which may cover topics such as core digital skills, how to use hardware and software solutions, and the latest trends in the tech industry. Programs should be flexible, considering the background of teachers and their levels of ease. With a myriad of competencies to master in a short amount of time, schools can consider education technology solutions such as the Lenovo EdVision program, which includes an extensive range of device and training solutions in collaboration with industry partners such as Microsoft and Intel.

Build smart classrooms for the hybrid future

The classroom will also have to transform for the future. No longer just a physical space, educators must blend the best of both worlds from in-person and online teaching methods to encompass classroom activities, homework and learning reports. Meanwhile, students will need remain flexible, and become accustomed to interacting, collaborating, and sharing both in a classroom and digitally. With classroom and learning management software, schools can support a seamless transition and prevent disruptions to learning.
Finally, the next era of education must be collaborative. Digital transformation is about more than just the technology that powers it, its success is also driven by a robust ecosystem of collaboration between educators, parents, school administrators, IT teams and technology partners.
Ultimately, what students need more than anything – is a human touch in an increasingly digitalised world.

About the author: Maslina Mohamad Nasir is the Head of Public Sector – Sales Director, Key Account Business, Lenovo Malaysia. This is an opinion column. The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of this publication.

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