What is the Sustainable Classroom?
The meaningful integration of technology into the learning process is a challenging one, at best. While academic achievement is the end goal for the students, there are many other logistical factors that must be considered when designing a technology model for a classroom learning environment in a school or district:
- Original cost of procuring the equipment.
- Replacement cost of equipment in a 3-5 year cycle.
- The purpose for selecting the identified equipment.
- The kinds of instructional practices that the equipment is intended to support or enhance.
- Professional development for the teachers on the use of the equipment for the instructional practices.
- The essential conditions in the school's or district's culture that are required for sound and sustained technology integration.
The Sustainable Classroom is a classroom technology integration model that utilizes a broad number of highly visual, interactive technologies with a single computer in order to support the nine instructional strategies that are identified in Robert Marzano's book Classroom Instruction That Works (Marzano, Pickering and Pollock, 2001). The continued use of these technologies in a meaningful way is possible for many years to come, for the following reasons:
- Teachers build upon strategies that they already know and use, and focus on using the technology to support those strategies.
- In the 3-5 year replacement cycle, only one computer will need to be replaced in the classroom (as opposed to 6-10+ computers in a high-tech classroom), resulting in a reduced technology budget.
- The remaining interactive technologies will still serve their original purpose at that time, which is to increase visual and interactive learning in the classroom to support sound instruction.
- The need for additional training will be minimal during the replacement cycle.
- Schools that focus on sustainable classrooms narrow the range of technologies that require ongoing technical and network support.