Although personal computers have promised the transformation of education for quite a while, and much progress has been made, many classrooms are essentially the same as they were forty or fifty years ago.
Why is that?
I believe that one reason is because the teacher is "in control." What I mean is that, as the moderator and the facilitator of learning, the teacher is in a position of power in the classroom and that the classroom setting, its furniture and furnishings, its layout and even the activities that take place, are all in the teacher's control.
This is not a bad thing as such. We would want our teachers to be moderators and leaders of the learning environment. It's just that so many of these classrooms are teacher-centred rather than student-centred. And furthermore, when they appear as if they are student-focussed, they look like an adult's interpretation of a student-centred space.
Another reason is that, until now, the classroom and the teacher have been the centre of attention for many students. If you wanted to learn, if you wanted access to information and knowledge, the classroom was the place to be. The teacher held the keys and your relationship with the teacher became a crucial ingredient in the student's success or failure.
Things have changed.
Students now have ubiquitous access to knowledge and information. They participate in extensive online social networks. Teachers no longer hold all the keys. Some of them mistrust the new online world. When students come to school, they enter rooms that look the same as they did before they were born.
Things have changed. The classroom must change. Teaching must change.
We are at the crossroads.