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Rethinking Education: Canadian Teachers Urge Evolving Classroom Models for the Digital Age

A recent survey of over 500 Canadian teachers and school leaders conducted by Microsoft Canada has revealed that only half of Canadian teachers believe students are being taught in ways that adequately prepare them for the skills needed in the future. The findings emphasize the urgent need to revolutionize classroom models to align with the demands of today's digital landscape and tomorrow's job market.

A recent survey of over 500 Canadian teachers and school leaders conducted by Microsoft Canada has revealed that only half of Canadian teachers believe students are being taught in ways that adequately prepare them for the skills needed in the future. The findings emphasize the urgent need to revolutionize classroom models to align with the demands of today’s digital landscape and tomorrow’s job market.

Embracing Change for Digital Innovation

In an era dominated by technological advancements, teachers recognize the crucial role of new classroom models. From Artificial Intelligence (AI) to interconnected smart devices, the survey underscores the rapid pace of technological innovation reshaping the workforce. However, a striking revelation is that only 52 percent of teachers feel current teaching methods align with the skills students need for the future.

According to the survey, 90 percent of teachers agree on the importance of imparting digital skills to students. Yet, a significant gap exists between this acknowledgment and its implementation in classrooms. While 79 percent of teachers identify data literacy and digital citizenship as essential, these topics are taught in only 22 and 53 percent of classrooms, respectively. Moreover, 41 percent of teachers believe that incorporating generative AI into the curriculum is vital for preparing students for life beyond school. That number rose to 50 percent among teachers of grades 7-12.

Elka Walsh, Associate Vice President, Learning & Teaching at Microsoft Canada, emphasizes the urgency, stating, “It’s crucial that we listen to teachers so we can better empower students in their learning and be prepared to contribute to Canada’s economic future.”

Digital Tools: A Pandemic-Induced Paradigm Shift

The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the adoption of digital tools in classrooms, with 82 percent of teachers noting an increase in their school’s use of these tools. However, the survey reveals a gap in effective utilization, with only 35 percent of teachers believing they have the best digital tools, and a similar number reporting adequate training. Six out of ten respondents said teaching methods should change to make the most of these tools.

The results also indicated a clear difference in approach to technology in the classroom between those schools with an established sustainable digital strategy and those without. When asked if students were more engaged when digital tools are used in the classroom, three quarters of respondents with a digital strategy agreed. Among teachers in schools without a digital strategy, fewer than half agreed technology helped to increase engagement.

Bridging the Engagement and Inclusion Gap

Engaging students and addressing their mental and emotional well-being remain significant challenges, exacerbated by the pandemic. Only 51 percent of teachers believe students are taught in ways that keep them engaged, and a mere 35 percent feel schools are succeeding in supporting students’ mental and emotional well-being.

Teachers emphasize the importance of inclusion and accessibility, with 95 percent stating that inclusive teaching resources are crucial. However, only 48 percent believe current teaching methods are inclusive, and just 46 percent feel that students are taught in ways responsive to their individual needs.

Marc Seaman, Vice President, Education Segment for Microsoft Canada, urges the adoption of new learning and classroom models, stating, “Canada’s teachers are telling us we need revitalized learning models so their students don’t get left behind.”

As we can see, the survey paints a compelling picture of the challenges and opportunities facing Canadian education. As educators, policymakers, and edtech providers join forces, the call for evolving classroom models becomes not just a necessity but a collective responsibility to prepare Canadian students for a future defined by digital innovation.

Original press release >

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Audrey Miller

Audrey Miller

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