Before the emergence of Internet-based technologies, the classroom was still a room. It featured a teacher at the front delivering learning content to a group of students. Much of today’s teaching and learning is stillconducted within the four walls of the classroom. However, the ubiquity of the Internet, mobile devices, wireless networks and other technologies has torn down the walls of the classroom, enabling a variety of unconventional, location-independent learning environments. By allowing students fl exible learning options, schools can provide more individualized instruction. If implemented properly, online and hybrid learning engage students of all ages, ensure equal access to underserved areas, provide learning opportunities for students with family and job responsibilities, and give older learners a second chance at a college degree. This Special Report will focus on the evolution of learning settings from traditional, instructor-led classrooms to completely virtual, student-centric classes and schools. We will describe and illustrate myriad K-12, college and university learning environments, give examples of how evolving classroom models impact students and teachers, and highlight the technologies that make it possible.
Today’s students use technology to make decisions, manage information and engage socially. They require new ways of learning, communicating, thinking, finding information and problem-solving. To continue to keep students engaged in learning in an environment of ever changing technology, the classroom — be it a familiar on-campus environment or a student’s home or even acoffee shop — must evolve.