Learning beyond the classroom
Computers and technology are blurring the line between what we think of as traditional education – that is, going to school and sitting in classrooms; and what we think of as homework – that is, reading textbooks and studying for exams.

This was the topic of discussion at the second East Asia Regional ICT Conference entitled ‘Learning Beyond the Classroom: How ICT is Shaping the Learning Revolution‘, organised by the British Council (Thailand) in Bangkok, Thailand.

“What is happening now is we’ve been overtaken by students’ experience of ICT outside schools,” says Tony Hacking, director of education and development at the UK-based company UniServity, and a keynote speaker at the conference.

Because of the impact of ICT, policymakers and school administrations in countries like the UK and Singapore are re-examining the notion of learning. Experts agree that “learning” no longer confines students within the physical limits of a classroom.

The twenty-first century classroom, says Hacking, is one that allows students to learn in many different scenarios – not just ones where the teacher stands in front of the classroom. Settings should involve students engaged in authentic, real-life activities, not in contrived role-plays.

“The key concept is that we need to view learners as individuals in the learning communities,” says Hacking. With ICT as a catalyst, the learning model is shifting away from teacher-led to community-led and is heading toward personalised learning – enquiry-led, student-focused, student-developed, and student-led.

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