How students around the world are learning in new ways
5:51 AM EDT, Thu September 20, 2018
Bangladesh, solar-powered floating schools —
All around the world, schools are reinventing education. During monsoon season in Bangladesh, almost one third of the country is flooded, making school attendance next to impossible. Nonprofit Shidhulai Swanirvar Sangstha came up with a way to bring education to the children most affected: by creating solar-paneled floating schools. Each morning, the elementary schools travel to different communities, picking up children along the way. The boats then docks and teach up to 30 children at a time. The schools contain a laptop, hundreds of books and electronic resources powered by energy generated from the solar panels.
Immersive technology is having a big moment in education right now, making its way into classrooms around the world. Among those adopting the technology is Sevenoaks School, in the UK, which has introduced VR into its classrooms for a range of subjects including art, history and geography. Students are using the technology to go on virtual field trips and creating three dimensional paintings that move.
As the Green School in Bali demonstrates, innovation doesn't always equal technology. Nestled between rainforests and made entirely from bamboo, the school's mission is to educate its students about sustainability by using a holistic approach. Students from nursery to high school learn how to be more environmentally-conscious while studying traditional topics like math and languages. The Green School boasts a diverse student body from all over the world and aims to create the next generation of green leaders. The school runs on three simple principles: be local, let the environment lead and think of your grandchildren's future.
Putu Sayoga/Getty Images AsiaPac/Getty Images
Ghana, empower playgrounds —
In many parts of rural Ghana, electricity is either limited or unavailable. Students in these areas are unable to study after it gets dark, which hinders their chances of getting into a secondary school. So Empower Playgrounds created merry-go-rounds that use the children's energy to charge a battery, which then powers a small lantern. Each recharge lasts for over 40 hours and allows students to study in the evening.
Crys Kevan Lee Empower Playgrounds Inc.
Canada, paper and desk-free classrooms —
It's hard to imagine a classroom without desks and paper but it's now a reality. In some schools in Canada and the U.S., for example, recent trends of creating more comfortable and open classrooms have seen traditional desks disappear. Instead, bouncy balls, bean bags and seating mats having taken their place, while iPads and computers replace traditional pen and paper. Students submit their work via different tools, such as Google Classroom, and teachers are able to give feedback and mark assignments in real time. Even chalkboards and whiteboards are being replaced by interactive smartboards.
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Netherlands, personalized learning —
Steve Jobs Schools are inspired by, but not affiliated with, the Apple founder. Their philosophy is to encourage personalized learning by giving their students, all of primary age, more control. Pupils choose which subjects they study, how they want to learn and at what pace. Teachers are known as coaches and students are grouped not by age but by their strengths and interests. Schedules are flexible and students are each given an iPad. Starting out in the Netherlands, they opened a school in Johannesburg in 2016.
Sweden, gender-neutral schools —
At Egalia preschool in Stockholm, the words "he" and "her" are never used. Boys can play with dolls and girls with firetrucks. There are no designated areas for each gender and books are carefully selected to avoid traditional stereotyping. Egalia and other similar preschools in Sweden, reject gender stereotypes and hope to help children fight societal gender norms, which they believe can hinder growth and acceptance.
FREDRIK SANDBERG/Scanpix Sweden/AP
Singapore, robot teachers —
Pepper is a robot that interacts with students and answers their questions. Introduced last year as part of a pilot project in Singapore, Pepper helped preschool teachers deliver lessons and told pupils stories. Teachers reported that the robot helped shy students come out of their shell and created a fun, interactive atmosphere to learn in.
BERTRAND GUAY/AFP/AFP/Getty Images
Denmark, forest preschools —
While nature-centered schools are not uncommon around the world, in Denmark teaching children the importance of Mother Nature starts at a very young age. According to the Danish Forest and Nature Agency, over 10 percent of Danish preschools are located in forests or other natural settings. These schools use their surroundings as teaching tools, where eating organic food, hiking and raising chickens are all part of the daily lessons. Proponents of forest preschools say that children develop better motor skills when there is more space and time to play in nature rather than sitting in a classroom.
HENNING BAGGER/AFP/Getty Images
USA, the world as your classroom —
Students at the THINK Global School in New York spend each semester in a different nation. They learn languages and in each new place they visit, they work with local experts to gain insights into the historical, cultural, and socioeconomic aspects of their host country. Destinations for the 2018-19 school year include India, Botswana, Japan and Spain.