Saturday, December 22, 2012

The Glass Classroom

The Glass ClassroomTM
(what's in a name?)

Preamble: the Glass Classroom has nothing to do with MOOCs or online education. This is a concept to coalesce attention on the lack of technical progress in education and provide a new, innovative framework to move forward. The concept isn't focused on one aspect of the problem, but the entire ecosystem. The future classroom is a place where the instructor and student is aware of progress and outcomes in real-time. They can collaborate, adjust, explore and engage with unimaginable fidelity. Again, the Glass Classroom encompasses the entire educational ecosystem, from course ware to the application of teaching strategies.

What's the Glass Classroom?

The Glass Classroom is an initiative designed to coalesce effort and accelerate transformation of courseware and the instructional ecosystem. Recent events emphasize the need to move swiftly forward or be left behind. This initiative focuses attention on the challenges and transformative opportunities ahead. 

This concept facilitates the employment of electronic text, dynamic/adaptive course ware able to adjust to meet educational objectives, real-time student performance metrics, seamless production and integration of rich media content and a new level of mobility that extends the reach of the classroom without the loss of engagement. It leverages technology to tailor the educational experience and eliminate barriers to access.

Envision a classroom where on-ground and distance students enjoy the same level of collaborative engagement. Recent advancements in cloud, mobile and social foreshadow the possibilities of this technology in education. Not unique, but one example of this concept in operation today is Google’s Hangout. This widely used collaboration suite allows several users to see, hear and interact in real-time within the same context; edit documents, view media or share a whiteboard. 
This (Google Hangout) is a glimpse into the classroom of the future.

A great concept is like a bright beacon that naturally attracts support, transmits vivid images of the possibilities and inspires innovation. More importantly it serves as a focal point that challenges us to accomplish more than we ordinarily could. The “Glass Classroom” is a single concept designed to inspire thematic innovation and focus institutional effort towards the goal of modernization instructional ecosystem.

What's In A Name?

The proposed name of this initiative, the Glass Classroom may seem somewhat offbeat at first. However, when you step back a strong parallel with the digital transformation in aviation emerges. In addition, metaphorically silicon, the component of glass, is the base substance used to create all advanced technical devices. Glass touch screens, processors, and fiber optics have a common bond, they are all just glass (and yes, a lot of plastic, but the Plastic Classroom just didn’t sound as exciting). The parallel in education relates to the promise of  technology (silicon) to transform education and the transparent nature of glass. Picture a classroom with glass walls. This represents new educational possibilities and its extension (technologically) beyond traditional boundaries.

Below is additional background on the “Glass Cockpit,” the genesis of the Glass Classroom's name.  

Before 1980 aircraft operated with crude mechanical controls and analog avionics. In the 1980s aircraft manufacturers introduced advanced liquid crystal display cockpit technology. The term “glass cockpit” was coined to describe this transformative effort. The radical departure from analog controls met strong resistance from pilots and federal agencies responsible for aircraft safety. However, by 1985 the first “glass cockpit” received an airworthiness certificate. A testament to its efficiency and safety, by 1995 all new commercial and executive jet aircraft produced had “glass cockpits.”

From the cockpit itself to fly-by-wire systems used to control the plane to new pilot requirements, the transformation to digital avionics (glass cockpit) encompassed every aspect of the aircraft and revolutionized flight.

Continue the conversation on twitter: #glassclassroom

Lee Johnston, 

© Lee Johnston and, 22-Dec-2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Lee Johnston and with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.