20th Century vs. 21st Century: What are major differences in their classrooms?

We all know education has evolved over the years—and it even changes daily! Some of those differences can be hard to notice as you’re running through your day-to-day routine in your own classroom. We found this PDF from 21st Century Schools and Canadian Accredited Independent Schools helpful in understanding the changes in approach, pedagogy, and structure between 20th-century and 21st-century classrooms. Plus, it’s incredibly interesting!

This chart breaks down some key differences. For example, a class in the 20th century was a time-based, teacher-as-judge space isolated to one classroom with a fragmented curriculum and low expectations for students. Nowadays, you’re more likely to find a competency- or outcome-based,  student-centered class connecting ideas to a global environment and interdisciplinary lessons that raise the expectations for student success.

Of course, several changes to the classroom are due to the available technology we now have. Resources like Hawkes’s course management system give instructors the chance to focus more time with students on their learning rather than grading homework and tests. Society is becoming more high-tech than ever, and using technology in the classroom helps prepare students for the expectations set by most career paths in this fast-paced world.

Make sure to check out the document here and please let us know of other differences between last century’s classroom and our current one in the comments below!

“20th Century Classroom vs. the 21st Century Classroom.” CAIS. 21st Century Schools. n.d. Web. 19 July 2016.


Accenting the English Class with Technology

“We need technology in every classroom and in every student and teacher’s hand, because it is the pen and paper of our time, and it is the lens through which we experience much of our world.” – David Warlick

Technology in the classroom can daunt even the most seasoned instructor, but most have used PowerPoint or have shown videos to drive the lesson home to students. Here are 5 reasons why you should test the waters with technology!

Five Benefits of Adding Technology to Your Class

  1. Spend less time grading and more time teaching.

Having the right system in place to keep track of student progress and assignment completion frees you up to devote more time to lesson planning, answering students’ questions, or even grabbing that extra cup of coffee before the next class.

  1. Prepare students for jobs.

Students will need to know how to format emails and perform effective internet research by the time they graduate. Jobs in all disciplines—from architecture to geology to mechanical engineering—require a high level of comfort with technology that only comes with exposure and experience.

  1. Diversify learning opportunities.

Some may think that introducing more technology into the classroom takes away from your role as an instructor, but it actually gives you more options to customize your course! It’s now easier than ever to share readings and videos from your lesson plans by making them available online. And with discussion boards and live chats, students can keep learning from you and their peers before and after class.

  1. Further engage your students.

Incorporating technology in your class, such as by asking students to use their smartphones for projects, encouraging them to write blog posts, or assigning a Photoshop project to expand their ideas of composition, makes learning more interactive and meaningful. Additionally, these different projects cater to different learning styles. You may see previously quiet students perk up at the chance to try something new.

  1. Improve classroom organization.

Are scattered sticky notes and coffee-stained planners plaguing you instead of helping you? Help yourself and your students by taking advantage of email calendars and reminders; then show your class how these tools help with time management skills. Your students (and the planet) will thank you.

Bonebrake, Jon for UB Academic Advising. “Using Google Calendar for College Students.” Online video. YouTube. YouTube, 11 June 2014. Web. 22 Feb. 2016.

What are other reasons you use technology in your classroom? Let us know in the comments below!

3 Ways to Use Technology in Your English Class

Teaching an English course is no easy task, especially if students feel like they can’t connect with what they’re writing. If they hear they need to write a 1,000-word essay on a social issue by Thursday, students may feel overwhelmed with a blank Word document staring them in the face instead of feeling excited about relating to the topic.

Writing can be fun and interesting, and sometimes it’s the format that keeps students from understanding that. Perhaps thinking outside of the traditional academic paper will make writing less intimidating and more enjoyable for students.

Here are three easy ways to make writing assignments more relatable to your students:


Many students are probably already familiar with blogs, if they don’t have their own personal blog already. More and more businesses, institutions, and individuals have turned to this online source of communication to inform audiences of current events and maintain transparency. Why not let students try blogging their assignments?

Students can start their own blogs for free and post mini “essays” each week based on your class discussion. They can comment on other students’ posts and continue exploring the conversation outside of class.

Plenty of blogging platforms exist and are easy to learn. WordPress, Blogger, and others provide a free space for writers to share their thoughts with the online community.

Plus, you can share blog posts that tackle writing issues and grammar. The blog Hyperbole and a Half, for example, mixes grammar and fun in the post “The Alot is Better Than You at Everything.” You’re guaranteed to have a memorable lesson thanks to Allie Brosh’s humorous writing style and equally hysterical illustrations. Never see “alot” in a paper again!


This website places writing in a smartphone texting interface so it looks like you’re texting anyone—from a parent to a friend to a colleague. Students can practice different tones of voice by pretending they’re texting a friend vs. texting an older family member.

Students analyze their audiences and the situations surrounding their writing every day they text—they might just not be aware of it. They know which abbreviations and acronyms will be understood by friends and which need to be spelled out for parents. They understand they need to make their writing clear in a small space to get their point across. A quick exercise asking them to think critically about how they address certain people via text messages, when they text, and the timing or frequency of their responses will encourage interesting discussion points about writing!

Social media

Twitter being used in class? That’s right! Students need tight control of their language when composing a quick and pithy tweet. They can also analyze trends to judge which tweets are persuasive in their arguments, which miss the mark, and why. Encouraging students to tweet will get those creative juices flowing.

Another option of involving social media in your English class is a Facebook group. You can keep this group closed for stricter privacy so that only members can see the posts. Students can join and post articles that are relevant to class discussion, share their own thoughts, and enhance the community of the class outside of the classroom.

We hope these ideas will kick-start some creativity for your next writing assignment! Feel free to share your own ideas in the comments below!

Want to become a strong leader? eLearning can help!

Strengthening your leadership skills is no easy task! Joel Copeland’s article, “3 Reasons Why eLearning is Key to Leadership Training and Development,” highlights three ways eLearning has a positive impact on leadership training and development. The author, Joel Copeland, describes how eLearning gives you the following:

  • The ability to apply knowledge – Knowing something is great, but the true strength of knowledge comes in its application.
  • Relevant skill sets – After learning theories about creating and maintaining work relationships, making them relevant to your particular colleagues and environment is key.
  • Creativity & innovation – Many aspects of eLearning are low-risk, so it’s open for more creative solutions and opportunities to try new things.

Read the article here.

Copeland, Joel. “3 Reasons Why eLearning is Key to Leadership Training and Development.” Corporate eLearning. eLearning Industry, 8 Oct. 2015. Web. 9 Oct. 2015.

What do all great online instructors do?

We know that running an online class has several challenges not always faced by those that meet in a physical classroom on campus. Barbara A. Popp, the director of curriculum, instruction, and professional development for New Jersey’s Manville School District, lists out the top practices for online instructors to help guide the way. Among her advice, she suggests helping students with their time management and organization, crucial skills that often fall to the wayside because many students incorrectly assume online classes don’t take as much time and effort as their other classes. Another point she makes includes the fact that presenting material in different ways (videos, notes, discussion boards, etc.) engages students more profoundly.

Check out the eSchool News article here.

Popp, Barbara A. “10 things all great online educators do.” eSchool Media. eSchool News, 8 Oct. 2015. Web. 8 Oct. 2015.

The TED Talk “Unstoppable Learning” will get you thinking about thinking!

Inspiring TED Talks can stick with us for weeks after listening. This particular talk, “Unstoppable Learning,” did exactly that for us. While it focuses on learning during infancy and childhood, we all can relate to the truth that those years are some of the most crucial and informative for our education.

You know the phrase All you need to know you learned in kindergarten? Consider that idea while watching and reflect upon how the ways we learned as children shaped us into who we are today.  These five segments help shed light on alternative ways of thinking and challenging the mold of education worldwide.


  • How Much Can Children Teach Themselves? – Mitra Sugata tells his story involving how his views on teaching changed after he gave internet access to children in Indian slums. He highlights the large problem of not having the best schools where they’re most needed.


  • When Does Learning Begin? – This TED Talk puts forth the idea that learning begins before we are even born. It explains how behaviors and preferences are developed in the womb and how these stick with us as we get older.


  • What Do Babies Think? – This presentation provides fascinating information about the complex  intelligence-gathering and decision-making capabilities that babies utilize when they play.


  • What Role Do Relationships Play in Learning? – Teacher Rita Pierson talks about how she feels classrooms lack the kind of human connections kids need to feel inspired and to learn.


  • Can Schools Exist in the Cloud? – Sugata returns for another segment by explaining why he thinks self-organized classes are education’s future and how we can build a school in the cloud.

“Unstoppable Learning.” TED Radio Hour. NPR, 3 May 2013. Web. 2 Oct. 2015.