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Global News in Smarter Education

Innovative Instruction and Pedagogical Models in Smarter Classroom


Applying technology effectively on education and instruction is one of the main topics which educators concern with enthusiasm. Also, for advancing the national competitiveness, listing integrating information with instruction as an essential policy, investing large amounts of fund in purchasing related software and equipment, stating information education white paper and proclaiming precise schedule of information education construction are efforts which almost every national government is exerting. Undoubtedly, the best way in returning on education investment is duplicating successful experiences directly from domestic and international investigations and applications of instructional technology. (Q. W. Wu, H. Y. Wang, Z. Z. Wu, Y. H. Chang, & C. Z. Han, 2011) Among those, Smarter Classroom” is the most cutting edge design and application of all.
Smarter Classroom is a teaching-learning environment with information and communication technology (ICT) equipment settled according to the teaching needs. Hence, a digital classroom provides teachers intelligent instructional auxiliary of ICE with the core value of TEAM Model, is called TEAM Model Smarter Classroom. The TEAM Model Smarter Classroom could be constructed on the basis of the TEAM Model blueprint and the funding amount year-by-year and step-by-step. For example, settle basic devices such as computer, projector and interactive whiteboard at first. Secondly, introduce document camera, IRS(Interactive Response System) and ADAS (Automatic Diagnosing Analyzing Service) with minimized effort. Furthermore, build on-line scoring network, learning portfolio system, multi-port lecture capture system and remedial learning platform. (HABOOK Inc., 2011) We will discuss the innovative instruction and pedagogical models of Smarter Classroom from the aspects of investment and conversion benefits, indicators of technological innovative instruction and introduction and practical examples in ordinary schools of TEAM Model Smarter Classroom.

Benefits of Investment and Benefits of Converting
■ Benefits varies with Different Equipment InvestmentsIn Taiwan, most of the primary and secondary schools have been settled with computers and projectors. Teachers have already been applying the equipment on their instruction. With different kinds of devise configuration or different teaching methods and strategies, various e-classrooms are constructed. For example, multimedia classroom, future classroom, e-schoolbag and smarter classroom, etc.
Some of the classrooms mentioned above cost more than thirty thousand, but some of them only cost three to six thousand. The efficiency between different investments is varied. However, it is unnecessary for the efficiency being equal to the investing amount. A lot of elements could be influences on the efficiency of technology toward instruction. Besides equipment, the professionality of teachers, pedagogical models, instructional materials, course design and leaders’ management are also included in the elements. In order to get the maximum benefit, before investing in the instruction technology equipment, all of the elements should be carefully investigated. 

■ Minor Changes, Great BenefitsIn accordance with the author’s plenty of experiences in instruction technology engineering and promoting innovational instruction, “minor changes, great benefits” is accordingly a proverb of introducing technology into traditional classrooms. “Minor changes” discloses that the efficient technology could assist teachers not to changing the ways of teaching greatly they used to. “Great benefits” implies the great reward of teaching and learning after teachers adopting instructional technology. Changing the ways of teaching, is very difficult to most of teachers, especially for those senior ones. Electronic school-bag, for instance, is a “major change” for many teachers. If major change only makes “minor benefits,” it would not succeed in promoting electronic school bag. That is the major reason why for the principal who is trying to promote the application of e-schoolbag that not easy to seek for suitable teachers to do the experiments.
E-classroom is the most common type of digital classrooms in the schools. Usually, the e-classrooms are only settled with a computer, a projector and basic multimedia equipment. Some of the classrooms, which are the most economical, might have interactive whiteboard, document camera or IRS. These e-classrooms could be transformed into Smarter Classrooms simply by installing applicable hardware and software. Through feature of ICE, Smarter Classroom could assist teachers in developing pedagogical intelligence and polishing students’ intelligence—by providing technological intelligence.

Three Criteria for Evaluating Technological Innovative Instruction
Education leaders are not necessarily being experts of instructional technology. By evaluating the achievement of technological innovative instruction based on the value of instructional practices, the leaders could lead education from the restraint of technology. The criteria for evaluating technological innovative instruction are called “ICE:” Intelligence, Convenience, and Efficiency (Figure 1.).

Figure 1. ICE: Three Criteria of Evaluating Technology
Innovative Instruction (Wu, et al., 2011)

■ Convenience  
The criterion of “Convenience” is the easiest one to be evaluated.
“C” means each technological instruction equipment should be easy to be operated, less preparation and the user could use it with minimum training or technical knowledge.
■ Efficiency  
Being the most difficult evaluated criterion, “Efficiency” is educators’ great expectation of applying technology to education. When applying technology to instruction and learning, instruction becomes more efficient; when applying technology to learning, students learn more in shorter time; when applying technological innovative teaching and strategies, the learning effect and quality would be raised. The best mode of technological innovative instruction could maximize the effect and efficiency.
■ Intelligence  
“Intelligence” is the criterion that technology must have. Via technology intelligence, teachers could aware of learning situation of students all the time. Via technology intelligence, students could get their own personal learning result report anytime. Most of all, via technology intelligence teachers could assist students in reinforcing the concepts students do not comprehend.
The designing philosophy of TEAM Model Smarter Classroom is on ICE to optimize the process of instruction, which convers: teaching, assessing, diagnosing and remediation, utilizing the advantages of technology. “TEAM” Model is from the abbreviation of e-Teaching, e-assEssing, e-diAgnosing and e-reMediation. It means not only to team up instruction related persons but also the integration of technology and processes. (Figure 2. & Figure 3.) That is to say, TEAM Model Smarter Classroom is designed to put the ideality of “Minor Changes, Great Benefits” into implement and lower the barriers and burdens when integrating technology into instruction.


Figure 2. Operation of TEAM Model Smarter Classroom
(HABOOK Inc., 2011)

Figure 3. Learning Result Diagnosis of Students
(HABOOK Inc., 2011)

Introduction and Practical Examples of Smarter Classroom

■ Introduction of TEAM Model Smarter ClassroomTaipei Municipal Shuang Yuan Primary School, a joyful and vigor school, is in Wan Hua District, Taipei. Being led by Principle He, Fang-Xi, the integration of information and instruction is steady developing in the school. Through industry-academy collaboration, HABOOK Information Technology Inc., expert of deploying successful educational technology application, got the opportunity of introducing the TEAM Model Smarter Classroom into 4th class of 6th grade. The hardware in the classroom includes Haboard (IWB),ezVision (document camera), and IRS, which are automatically consolidates by a software, HiTeach. HiTeach eases the way teachers control the technological devices. Moreover, through internet, HiTeach could connect with the educational cloud computing service, ADAS (Automatically Diagnosing and Analyzing System), to diagnose students’ learning results instantly while they are doing the assessment activities.

Figure 4. Scene of the TEAM Model Smarter Classroom,
4th Class, 6th Grade of Shuang Yuan Primary School
■ Examples of the Application of Smarter Classroom 

Example 1: Instruction of Sentence-composing in the Language Art CourseIn the Smarter Classroom, it is easy for teachers to develop innovative instruction from the original one through the integrating character of technology. Composing sentences, for instance, teachers used to teaching in such process: giving examples and explaining, separating students into groups for composing sentence and getting group works, in the end, discussing and modifying each group’s answer. Through applying the process to the hardware and software of Smarter Classroom, a teaching flow could be carried out as shown in figure 5.

Figure 5. Teaching flow of Composing Sentences of the Language Art Course in the Smarter Classroom of Shuang Yuan Primary SchoolFirst, pressing on the document camera button on IWBd, the teacher has the students alternately place each group’s work under the document camera and presses the buttons on the screen. With repeating the two steps, all of the group works could be shown instantly on the IWB at the same time. Next, the teacher and the students have discussion and modification on the IWB. After the discussion, the teacher presses the voting button for students to vote on the best sentence they think. According to the voting result, the teacher could generalize the result. Last but not least, the teacher prepare some questions to estimate how much do students comprehend with the lesson and send the results to the cloud computing service to analyze students’ learning efficacy. Figure 6. is the scene of the sentence-composing instruction in Smarter Classroom in Shuang Yuan Primary School

Figure 6. Scene of the sentence-composing instruction
in Smarter Classroom in Shuang Yuan Primary School
Via group discussion and competition, the sentences that students compose become longer and their sentences-composing abilities are also polished. Figure 7 is the record of sentences-composing instruction process. The document camera automatically gathers the works of six groups, and the discussion on the IWB is also preserved.

Figure 7. The Record of Sentences-composing Instruction
Process in Smarter Classroom in Shuang Yuan Primary School

Example 2: Calligraphy Lesson of Language Art CourseSlightly revising the model of example 1, teachers could apply the model to the calligraphy lesson. Through document camera and IRS voting system, students select the best work from each group, and each group’s best will have a competition. (Figure 8.) The strategies of peer evaluation and group competition not only make students be more conscientious about their work, but improve students’ abilities of appreciation and evaluation.

Figure 8. Records of Calligraphy Lesson
Teaching Process in Smarter Classroom

Example 3: Problems Solving of Mathematic CourseThe main purpose of mathematic course is to cultivate students' abilities of solving math problems. By the integration of document camera and IWB, it is easier for the teacher to discuss different kinds of problem solving solutions simultaneously. Figure 9 shows four students’ different solutions for the same math question. Via this mode, students could get the chances to think deeper and then improve their problem solving abilities.

Figure 9. Record of Math Problem Solving Solutions
of Mathematic Class in Smarter Classroom

“Teaching method is the key point, technology is only catalyst.” According to related researches, instructional technology could make the quality of teaching and effect of learning more significant. Nevertheless, it is not inevitable for the teaching quality and learning effect being promoted even if schools introducing all the latest teaching technology into classrooms. In other words, introducing technology into classroom might be helpful or not. The key to success includes: Whether technology is used in a proper way? Do teachers use accurate teaching methods and strategies? Technology is only catalyst, especially in the field of education because the method and strategies teachers use are key points to elevate instruction quality. The research team of Dr. Eric Mazur, a physics professor of Harvard University who has been studying “peer instruction” for more than ten years, indicates in their report that as it for the users of interactive response system and tradit ional Flashcard, the learning effects are not distinct. However, there are many benefits of using interactive response system, including the instant feedback of students, preservation of students’ feedback records and enabling teachers to focus on the concept instruction, etc. (Lasry, 2006) “Developing teachers’ intelligence, providing instructional intelligence and polishing students’ intelligence” is the value of Smarter Classroom. In accomplishing the value, instructional technology product with high integrating ability is essential. The product of instructional technology must be able to give assistance to teaching methods and strategies. In short, products which could accomplish the idea “technology serves education, instruction and learning” are the most ideal ones.

HABOOK. (2011). TEAM Model Smarter Classroom. Retrieved May 30, 2011 from 20110428_Smarter_classroom.htm 

Lasry, N. (2006). Clickers or flashcards: Is there really a difference?Retrieved May 30, 2011, from

Wu, Quan-Wei, Wang, Xu-Yi, Wu, Zong-Che, Zhang, Yi-Hua, & Han, Chang-Ze. (2011). Instructional Technology and Innovative Teaching: Theory and Cases Taipei City: HABOOK.