Contact innovator

Alex More
Lessons from the classroom of the Future

Classroom of the Future

location_on Shaftesbury, United Kingdom
I have designed a classroom that challenges the status quo. There are no desks and students have access to the latest technology in an agile learning space. I have partnered with industry to create an inspiring space, one that uses warm technology to push the boundaries of what is possible in the classroom. This is a learning space for the future!
Alex More, Lead Teacher of Innovation in Teaching & Learning Shaftesbury School
I wanted to create a classroom of tomorrow, a space to push the boundaries of what is possible in the classroom setting.

Alex More, Lead Teacher of Innovation in Teaching & Learning Shaftesbury School

Overview

HundrED has not validated this innovation

Anyone can submit their innovation to HundrED Open. All information on this page is provided by the innovator and has not been checked by HundrED. Innovation page has been created by Alex More on December 6th, 2020
Key figures

Innovation Overview

TEACHERS
Target Group
800
Children/Users
6
Countries
2020
Established
Not-for-profit
Organisation
661
Views
Updated on February 27th, 2021
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about the innovation

Why did you create this innovation?

I saw the potential to disrupt the existing model of teacher-led instruction from the front of the class. I wanted to create a space where knowledge and skills could co-exist, a space that was engaging and practical. Too many students are passive in lessons, too many teachers teach front the front of the classroom. I wanted to shake this model up and illuminate a viable alternative.

How does your innovation work in practice?

Students work in teams of four. They work in clusters on projects and concepts. When they arrive in the Future Classroom, they are assigned a role within their team; leader, scribe, presenter & data analysis. The roles align with industry and require a transdisciplinary approach to learning.
From the offset, students have access to warm technology. I have partnered with Epson, CatchBox, SamComs Innovation, Biotecture, RedBox VR and Gratnell's to equip the room with 3D modeling, Augmented and Virtual Reality, engagement microphones, living plant walls, and a live aquaponics project based on the STEAM principles. The room is surrounded by whiteboards which are the canvas for creation. Students work on a problem, such as; carbon absorption in Science, and create a presentation to pitch by the end of the lesson. This gives a real-world context to the learning, an approach that has attracted global interest in the project.

How has it been spreading?

Phase 1 is complete with five sponsors onboard with student survey data and staff training complete. This information has been shared via podcasts, blog posts, and newspaper articles which I can share. The goals for phase 1 was to open the Future Classroom and experiment with the new technology to find a place it could exist alongside high-quality teacher instruction. This included partnering with Ed-tech companies and start-ups that include; CatchBox, RedBox VR, SatComs Innovation, Biotecture, and Gratnells. We installed a plant wall and monitored 7 learning variables via a 'Learnometer' to assess CO2 levels and effects on learners' focus and retention.

Phase 2 goes live in January 2021 and is set to include biometrics, a hologram teacher & floor projection as we strive to innovate.

If I want to try it, what should I do?

Get in touch with Alex More via email at alex.more@shaftesburyschool.co.uk or check out the blog at www.educationalshipsters.com
Check out the YouTube Channel at Mr. More PE or find me on LinkedIn: Alex More, Lead Teacher of Innovation in Teaching & Learning at Shaftesbury School

Media

See this innovation in action

4 part NEO Chats about innovation from the Inside Out
We discuss Ofsted, Innovation from inside a traditional school setting, Corona Virus, Edtech and WISE (a new Social Emotional health VR ecosystem). Part 1: How do you implement "cutting edge" innovations but stay within the confines of the education system and inspections?Part 2: Do you find that technology is able to push pedagogy further rather than only supporting it?Part 3: Does there have to be a change in the traditional way of learning and should learning be completely transversal?Part 4: What is the motivation for what you do and the way you do it? Do you see yourself as part of a larger movement for change?
'It’s radically different to anything I’ve ever seen in education'
Shaftesbury School working with WISE and RedBoxVR
Catchbox - the engagement microphone
https://catchbox.com/blog/improve-your-hybrid-classroom-setupAs educators continue to grapple with shifting classroom rules, schools and universities increasingly look to the hybrid classroom model as a way to withstand any restrictions the pandemic might throw at them, whilst continuing to provide high-quality face-to-face lessons. The hybrid classroom setup has gained favor among teachers and parents alike, as it enables some students to attend in-class, while others connect remotely through Zoom or a different conferencing platform. This, in turn, minimizes on-site student numbers and helps ensure social distancing, allowing, for example, children of parents who cannot afford to supervise them at home to continue their education uninterrupted. All students have access to the classroom and can interact with the content of the lesson.In this article, we'll take a look at the importance of audio in a hybrid classroom setup. We'll also cover what are the pros and cons of a budget setup, and how a more advanced setup can help ensure seamless teacher-to-student and student-to-student communication in a hybrid classroom setting.Is a hybrid classroom setup the same as a typical remote teaching setup?Kind of. If you're an educator that has engaged in any form of remote teaching, then you probably already have the equipment for a rudimentary hybrid classroom setup - a computer, a webcam, and a microphone. This is sufficient as long as both the in-class students and the ones connecting remotely can hear and see you clearly enough to absorb the material presented, which is the main purpose of the hybrid classroom model.  While the webcam is likely to do a good enough job, the biggest problem with this setup is that you'll probably have to remain seated at your computer for the duration of the lessons, as the computer microphone will struggle to pick up your voice from afar. This can hurt engagement, as it limits your movement. That said, there's a simple solution to this - get a good quality external microphone.The pros and cons of a budget classroom microphone setupIf the teacher conducts the lesson sitting at their computer, rarely moving away from it, then almost any $15 microphone from the local tech store will suffice and serve to significantly improve the audio quality for students connecting remotely.These microphones typically are plug-and-play and will require no complex setups beyond just plugging it into the computer's audio jack or USB socket. Nowadays, even the cheaper solutions are likely to have some noise suppression/cancellation functionalities, helping minimize or eliminate anything other than the teacher's voice, and will all in all help enhance the quality of the lesson. However, these do come with limitations, the most notable being a lack of freedom of movement, which will be an issue with every desktop microphone. On top of that, in-class students will find it difficult to engage with their peers joining from home, as the single microphone at the front of the classroom will struggle to pick up what they're saying without the students having to shout. Any efforts to supplement the audio setup with additional microphones for the in-class students will significantly increase the complexity and cost of the setup unless a package solution is acquired.Outside the box: Why Catchbox Plus offers much more than a typical classroom microphone systemIn an ideal hybrid classroom setup, the teacher should be to move around freely, delivering the class without worrying about factors like background noise and echo. At the same time, there should be a possibility for distanced student-to-student interaction between those in-class and those joining remotely. This is where the Catchbox Plus system offers a unique solution.Consisting of two wireless microphones (a teacher mic and the throwable audience mic) and a receiver, The Catchbox plus system ensures perfect audio for any hybrid classroom setup. The Presenter mic is a light, hands-free wireless microphone typically worn on a lanyard or attached to a lavalier mic.The Catchbox audience mic is a throwable wireless microphone encased in a super-soft and ultra-lightweight material that allows it to be thrown around without risk of breaking the tech or hurting others. This allows for better student-to-student communication.Catchbox Plus classroom microphone systemWhen it comes to the setup, the Catchbox plus system is a plug-and-play solution, which means that all the teacher has to do is plug the receiver into their computer's USB socket and then set audio input to “Catchbox” in the audio settings of whatever conferencing platform they use - it'll be up and running in moments. The Presenter mic offers freedom of movement for the teacher while capturing every word said clearly and understandably for students connecting from home.For the students, the Catchbox audience mic is an ideal solution as it can be passed around to those looking to speak to their remote classmates without breaking distancing rules and having to come into close contact with their in-class friends. The students can throw the Catchbox to each other, which also makes for an engaging activity. By speaking into the Catchbox, the students at home will hear their classmates with the same clarity as they do the teacher and help break down communication barriers present in lesser hybrid classroom setups.Both the Presenter mic and the Audience mic have rechargeable batteries and hold enough power to last the entire duration of a school day, which means no replacing batteries every few days and no frantic charging during breaks.Be sure to check out our guide to hygiene best practices when using Catchbox Products!Improve your hybrid classroom setup in 4 simple stepsThe Catchbox Plus system can help to create a better hybrid learning experience by providing audio quality to both in-class and remote students. Here's how to get started:1) Plug the Catchbox receiver into your computer via USB and turn on the receiver2) Press the power button on the presenter mic to turn it on. The teacher should wear the Presenter mic on a lanyard or with a lavalier when giving a lesson3) Go to your computer's audio settings and set the audio input to the microphone. Make sure to also check your settings on your video conferencing software (Zoom, Microsoft teams etc.)4) Add the Audience mic so in-class students can also share what matters! Turn the mic on by pressing the power button on the Transmitter and then return the Transmitter to the Catchbox CoverThat's it! You now have a simple and professional hybrid classroom setup that will ensure students in class and at home can see and hear everything they need to. For a more in-depth setup guide and instructions for other use-cases, check out our detailed Plus system user manualhybrid classroom teacher microphoneFinal remarksA hybrid classroom setup with good audio is key for a smooth teaching and learning experience. While a budget setup can go a long way, additional elements that allow for a more natural communication process, such as freedom of movement and adequate student-to-student communication options, enhance the quality of the lesson and restore some normalcy to an otherwise limiting model.
Overworked teachers call for clarity and collaboration, new study finds
FE News Article
Build the classroom of the future with these 3 key pillars
Book Widgets Future Classroom post
The Classroom of the Future? – Ednology
Ednology blog post
Biotecture Supports Future Classroom Project | Biotecture
When biology and technology come together ...
Future Classroom Day 1
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GLbsBgRIi4c&list=PL6ogPVjKYBfqMyjMb77-0qqA6UQQL6JXD&index=9
Shaftesbury School tests the ‘future classroom’ project
Article from the Salisbury Journal, by Gemma Gibson 15th October 2020A SCHOOL has transformed what was once a traditional classroom into a futuristic learning space, with touch screens, a green screen, virtual reality, and augmented reality just some of its newest features.The ‘Future Classroom’ launched in Shaftesbury School last week, offering a new and technology-focussed learning experience for all pupils.Specialising in STEM subjects in particular - Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics - the school says it is one of ten in the country which is trialing the future classroom technology, and the school’s lead teacher of innovation in teaching and learning Alex More said it has launched “at a good time”.Speaking to the Journal Alex said: “We’re using this technology to improve and make learning more interesting, it’s just really exciting to be bringing this innovation and a new layer of teaching to the school."Before Covid-19 we were moving in this direction, the world is changing and fast because of technology and we need to embrace that.”He added: “We want students to be creators of knowledge rather than consumers, so it’s all about getting students to engage with this technology and make that divide from the older model.“There’s nothing wrong with the older traditional methods of teaching and there is a place for it, but we want to use this technology to continue embedding knowledge and skills.”Alex said that around 40 members of staff have already been trained within the school to use the new classroom, and pupils are “excited to try something different”.Alongside Alex and lead practitioner Olly Cooper, sponsors Epson, CatchBox, Gratnells, Biotecture and SamComs Innovation are involved with bringing the project to life.The classroom is equipped with an Epson projector, Mozaik 3D software and a visual board, as well as speaker and document cameras.Alongside the launch of the classroom, 12 students have also volunteered to be part of the ‘Experimental Class of Tomorrow’ case study, which has a focus on learning about issues facing the planet.External industries across the world have been in contact with the school to hear about the project, with Alex describing the global response as “phenomenal”.He added: “This is all in the experimental stage still, but [the classroom] has been amazing so far, better than what was advertised, and it’s had brilliant support from teachers, staff and the students, who are the most important part.”
Experimental Class of Tomorrow
12 students have volunteered to be part of ECOT, a new case study that focuses on 5 big issues facing our planet in the future, framed as ‘concepts’. ECOT stands for Experimental Class of Tomorrow. The team will tackle the pressing issues of their generation. We aim to harness their enthusiasm and curiosity to help create the next wave of scientists ready to face the challenges head-on.Inspired by the SPACE10 project, this concept tackles the challenge of growing healthy and sustainable food for a growing global population. Students will investigate how food can be grown sustainably using futureproof recipes to eat better, both for ourselves and for the planet. Table-top hydroponics, mealworm burgers, spirulina bioreactors, and dogless hotdogs are on the menu and could be the new normal, tasty and nutritious.Inspired by Mike Berners-Lee’s ‘There is no Planet B’ movement, this concept focuses on the climate challenge, specifically through glocal temperature rises, carbon budgets, exponential carbon growth, offshoring carbon, the ‘carbon curve’, the rebound effect, how to keep fossil fuels in the ground, other forms of greenhouse gases, renewable energy and how we can take carbon back out of the atmosphere.
Teaching from the Back of the Classroom
As a teacher of PE, I am used to coaching from the sidelines and this works in a practical subject. However, I have always struggled to make this transition in the classroom when teaching theory, until now. 2020 and the events that unfolded, notably the pandemic, forced me to teach from the sidelines through necessity rather than choice. As the education world came to grips with remote teaching and hybrid learning, I found myself delivering lessons from my laptop rather than face to face. Initially, this had its challenges. How would I engage students? How would I keep their interest without physically being there? Would they mind me boring? etc etc In the midst of the pandemic I was reunited with an old article which once sparked a fire in my own teaching: Alison King's famous article 'from sage on the stage to guide on the side'. This was a writing ahead of its time and one that challenged the education world to do better. So, what does the future of better look like? We know teachers are creatures of habit and there are good reasons for this. Routines are essential in creating healthy thriving learning environments. COVID forced me to reflect on my own teaching habits and sure enough direct instruction, with me at the front of the class was taking over again. If you walk the corridors of most schools you will see this model being played out over and over again. Typically, this involves students sat at desks and the teacher stood at the front of the class imparting knowledge. Traditionalists call this method the direct instruction method.The primary motivator for building the Future Classroom was to shake things up and challenge myself to think and teach in a different way. A small team of us starting renovating an old art room in March this year. A room that would become our classroom of the future.  I consulted students and asked for their views. The aim was to design an engaging place to learn, one that was equipped with technology and innovation in equal measures. Collectively, we opted for the 'no desks' approach. As liberating as it sounds, it was a bold move to go for a chairs only set up. Students would write on whiteboards around the room, the learning would be agile and flexible, like the workplace. This meant I would have to be flexible and adaptable to fit this model,  so no more teaching from the front! And so the reigns were off, the experiment was live and the jury was out. My inner jury was telling me this was the right thing to do, to become 10% braver and move outside of my comfort zone. The jury of my peers were skeptical and many couldn't see how the future classroom concept would work. However, the most important jury of all; the students were full of passion, ideas and suggestions for this bold new venture. They were onboard and welcomed the change. In September, the project went live and I found myself teaching from the side of the room. As part of a social media campaign, students were asked to vote on their preference for furniture and what teacher set up they preferred. Interestingly, they went for mobile teacher desk on wheels which could be transported around the room. Now I had a mobile desk I had no excuse to teach from the front. My students were telling me they wanted me to be agile and 'free from the front'. So, I obliged. So, what did I learn from experimenting with different places to teach from within the room? Firstly, teaching from the back of the room has two clear advantages.Students focus on the content rather than the teacher. I am quite animated when I teach so students often focus on my antics which can distract from the learning. I can see what they see so can iron out any imperfections as they ariseTeaching from the side of the room is more of a challenge as you have students' eye-line. I found that 'guiding from the side' works best in the last 27 minutes of the teaching model I use. Students tend to prefer direct instruction at the start, albeit from the back of the class in this context. At the root of the knowledge vs skills, the debate is the logical assumption that students require knowledge in the first instance so they can exercise their skill in asserting what is known. I agree with this. In conclusion, teaching away from the front of the classroom has been a challenge, but it's been a fun one. I like the new normal and prefer being based at the back or the side of the room. From here, I can coach, support, advise and guide rather than tell, inform and direct. I suppose the greatest takeaway has been the students responses to this model, they love it! It helps in our context that we have an amazing future classroom to experiment in. The technology has helped by giving students a medium to explore contents at greater depth in the last 27 minutes of the lesson. I'll finish this blog post with some images of students engaged in their learning. Note: I don't appear in any of the images because here the learners are the main actors on the stage, and the stage is  theirs. 

Milestones

Achievements & Awards

December 2020
Innovation page created on HundrED.org
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