“If we teach today’s students as we taught yesterday’s, we rob them of tomorrow”   - John Dewey 


The 4th industrial revolution is already here. The world is now changing rapidly and we have seen the behaviour of the millennials in the class. 

The old education system cannot sustain, but to adapt itself to suit the environment in the 21st century. What was considered a good education 50 years ago, is no longer enough for success in college and career for the next twenty or even ten years.

The National Education Association (NEA), USA proposed a framework highlighting what skills are required for the students to survive in this century. Although the emphasise is for the K-12 education, I think the framework is still relevant to be implemented in the higher education.

The four skills needed for students to enter the more complex global society in the 21st century are:

1.    Creativity and Innovation

2.    Critical Thinking

3.    Communication

4.    Collaboration

When we agree that the 4C’s elements are the essential ingredients for the students to ‘grow’ and by considering the characteristics of the millennial students, then we may ask a few questions (these are actually my own reflections):

Is the conventional classroom where students sitting in rows and  listening to content delivered through the lecture still effective today? 

Answer: No. The students cannot focus during the class. The class then becomes a bit noisy or students are busy with the mobile phones.

Typical learning style in university classroom. 

If the students are so engaged with technology, can we use the technology to excite them to learn?

Answer: Yes.

How? Upload all our contents into the e-Learning system and expect them to effectively learn themselves?

Answer: No. We will likely fail to make them interested in learning our subject if the contents are just the ‘static’ power point or pdf lecture notes (becomes worst if the notes have bad visual communication/bad design elements)

Answer: Yes. If the contents are interactive to keep the students engaged with the subjects (animation white board videos, HTML animations, relevant YouTube videos and iBooks)

If they already have the engaging contents and they can learn  themselves outside the class, what are we doing in the class? Deliver the same style of lecturing?

Answer: Of course NOT. We can focus with the activities of problem solving, discussion and reflections in the class. The arrangement must be in the form of collaborative learning where students sits in groups. Thanks to the Collaborative Learning Room (CLEAR) in our faculty 

Should we use the technology as well during the class session?

Answer: Of course YES. The students already carry the technology with them...their smartphones. But remember that it must come with the right pedagogy and lesson plan, so that the process of learning can address all the 4C elements. 


“Classroom in Your Hand” is the framework I propose to design the course so that it can become a ‘personal classroom’ for the students where they can independently learn with their own pace, anywhere, anytime within their chosen environment. At the canteen, at the cafe, in the bus or on the bed.

The workflow is Design, Build, Cultivate and Deploy/Publish.

During my undergraduate, although the Professors were so inspiring when giving the lecture in the class, I could perform in a subject because I trained myself a lot with exercises at home or had discussion with my friends in a group. If most parts of the basic theory can be accessed online before the class, then in in the class the activities can be focused more on problem solving exercises to strengthen the fundamental concepts and to improve the critical thinking 💭🤔 of the students. The collaborative learning approach can then be employed in the classroom to let the teamwork happen among the students and also to make the conversation (and relationship) between the students and the lecturer to be much more convenient. The role of the lecturer is now more as the facilitator in the class.   

The framework is summarized in the following video.

The quality of the digital content is the key point for the Classroom in Your Hand. It is the content that represents the lecturer, and it must be engaging to the students, not to bore them. 

The content must also be clear and details to deliver the fundamental concept of a theory, as if we design the digital content itself to be sufficient for the students to learn themselves, even without face-to-face learning with the lecturer. The role of the lecturer is therefore to design the learning (a learning designer) and to facilitate the students for the higher-order thinking activity in the class (facilitator, not a lecturer).

This following chapter in "Development of Interactive and Engaging Digital Contents" explain what I have done in developing my digital contents for the Classroom in Your Hand

They are:

  1. Design and Visual Communication
  2. Engaging Animation Whiteboard Videos
  3. Interactive HTML Animation
  4. Multi-touch book