“Smart classroom” has more to do with how teachers use emerging technologies
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to accelerate digitization in K-12 schools, the market for “smart classroom” ed-tech tools is estimated to be worth more than $117 billion in 2022 and nearly $260 billion by 2028, according to a recent report from Absolute Reports. With schools ramping up their adoption of emerging tech tools for instruction, the question of what makes a classroom “smart” tends to vary between educators and with time.
But for many teachers and other professions connected to the ed-tech space today, it’s all about how technology is used rather than the fact that a classroom adopts a wide array of tech in and of itself.
According to CIO Steven Langford of Beaverton School District, Ore., a smart classroom is defined by a variety of hardware and software tools that can be used to enhance teaching and learning.
Langford said he can’t remember exactly when “smart classroom” became a buzzword in the ed-tech lexicon, but the definition has evolved in recent years as a means of describing how schools use technology for instructional planning, as well as how teachers are trained to use new tools to enhance learning.
“It is critical that educators have the knowledge and skills to be able to integrate those hardware and software tools into learning experiences for students. This could look like students being able to cast their work on their device to a display to show their learning to classmates, students able to work individually or in groups on projects using a learning management system (LMS), or use of augmented reality or virtual reality for simulations,” he said. “A key component of a ‘smart classroom’ is the flexible use of technology hardware and software, coupled with teacher professional development that allows learning in a variety of ways.”
Langford said that years ago, interactive displays and audio systems would be examples of technologies used to describe a smart classroom. He said that’s starting to evolve as the ed-tech market develops a plethora of new tools using emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence and virtual reality.