Evolution In Education Is Transforming Student Learning

cover-profileTechnology, specifically the Internet and personal computing devices, have transformed the way students learn today,” states Avneet Gill-Dhaliwal, Administrator of Beyond Distance Learning (DL) School.  “Technology-based learning tools have helped create a new learning platform where instructional courses are personalized to each individual student.

In today’s world, students are called ‘digital natives’ because they absorb the world via gadgets such as smart phones, laptops, and gaming devices.  Even toddlers are introduced to multimedia devices such as Leapfrog or Nick Jr. in order to develop key learning skills.  Technology has definitively changed the way we communicate with each other as well as process information.  “The Internet has significantly connected us more to the world; we can quickly search a how-to video on YouTube, catch up on the world’s news, or access essentially any show or movie,” says Avneet,  “I can’t remember the last time I looked for a recipe in a recipe book or used the yellow pages to find a business. I always turn to ‘Google’ to search for answers because it’s quick, easy and mostly reliable.”

In 2010, the Ministry of Education outlined its vision for 21st century education and stated, “our knowledge base is expanding exponentially and requires an approach that individualizes learning. “The belief is that today’s children are part of the ‘digital era’ and have different learning needs than provided in a traditional classroom.The current education model needs to be modernized.

To understand the future in which education is headed, we must look at the past.  The Canadian Living Archives noted that during the early 19th century when, “the concept of schooling became widespread, the first schoolhouse consisted of 50 + students of all grades from 1-9 sharing only one teacher.” “Whether it be geography, history, or arithmetics, students learned by memorizing and working on a small blackboard slate.”

Evolution in the way students learn has exponentially evolved in the past 25-30 years

Up until the 1960s, the classroom system stayed relatively the same.  Soon after, classrooms evolved from using the slate blackboards to introducing the green-board.  20 years later, these green-boards were replaced with dry-erase boards to eliminate the chalk dust and the wasted hours of cleaning.  These whiteboards and markers are still being used in some classrooms however some teacher’s strategies have evolved to using overhead projectors, smart-boards and power-point lessons.  But in all of these teaching tools, the teaching strategy remains the same: The teacher is the holder of knowledge.  The teacher sets the pace of the course and the amount of content to be covered per day.  In our opinion, this model may work for some students but not the majority. Students need another option that will tap into using this revolutionary technology, which is being developed daily for education, and to keep up with the pace of individualized education for each and every student. The current traditional learning model feels dated much like the traditional green-board.

While this model may work for some students, as students and parents are becoming more aware and are able to access different knowledge on a daily basis, their learning requirements are changing.  We are noticing a shift of responsibility from the teacher to the student.

After years of research, discussions, planning and collaborating with other educators, the solution we found is Beyond (DL) School.  Offering a cutting edge program that is not only technology based, but also allows the teacher to focus on each individual student’s learning needs by working one-on-one with them.  In this evolutionary online classroom, students’ needs are factored into the development of their personalized learning plan.  Students no longer have one pace through the curriculum; their pace depends solely on how quickly the student masters the course content. “Students work at their own pace so they can achieve success.  Instruction and lessons are accessible to the student via the Internet regardless of their location.  The enriched multi-media text and resources can be used from anywhere and homework/assignments can be turned in online at any time and marked almost instantaneously for quicker feedback and conditioning,” says Avneet. “We find that students are the most successful through blended learning, where both live-class and rich-media components are combined to deliver an interactive-based learning experience.”

We consider students today as individualized learners because everyone learns at a different pace, different style, and in different environments. Thus, the teaching approach has shifted from teacher to student.

As an educator, the use of technology-based assessments has allowed for a better understanding on how students learn, what concept is grasped easily by whom and where more instruction is required. When I was in school, the teacher was considered the “teacher of education” and the students as passive recipients of learning.  This evolution has defined a one-to-one delivery where teachers are viewed as coaches, helping each student master concepts when they are struggling and accelerating the ones beyond this point, all while maintaining consistent forward momentum to education the class as a whole.

Beyond DL’s learning platform provides the flexibility of distributed learning with face-to-face learning, using virtual technologies such as online notes, video tutorials & live virtual classrooms with teacher office hours. This engaging learning environment is available to all BC Grade 8 to 12 students.  Many students and parents appreciate the fact that they can register with Beyond DL at any time of the year, with the full support of BC Certified teachers. “All of our courses are Ministry approved” Avneet explains, “Parents and students have the option to work with a teacher and tailor the program to suit the child’s needs. The schedule is flexible so that the student can learn at any time, any place, and at any pace.”

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According to Forbes and the U.S. College Board, in 2011, 65% Colleges/Universities in North America said online (DL) courses are the future of education; they play a critical role in their academic future. These Universities want a support system to help bridge the gap for students transitioning from High School to University/College expectations.