Technology In Classrooms: To Which Extent Should Innovations Be Used?
A tablet instead of a textbook, an interactive whiteboard, and a robot teacher – is it a fantasy or perspective of a future school education? Won’t children need kilograms of books in the backpack? Will similar classes and boring lessons stay in the past? Or maybe the school, in the traditional sense, will disappear altogether?
From an early age, modern children get access to all sorts of gadgets and novelties of technological progress. No one is surprised when a two-year-old child easily finds a favorite cartoon in the parents’ smartphone. A few years later he will become a schoolboy, and the teacher will have to work hard to surprise him and evoke the interest at the lesson. Therefore, changing the conditions of learning is an inevitable process. What technologies and non-standard approaches to obtaining knowledge will the school be armed with in the future?
What opportunities may be opened by new technologies in education?
There are innovations that make lessons interesting and fascinating. Future classes will change the approach to learning: almost everything can be touched, tested for strength, or students can create their own model of the object.
Tablets and smartphones instead of textbooks
Modern young people cannot imagine their lives without gadgets – smartphones, tablets, laptops. This explains why many schools move from paper-based information carriers to digital ones. They are much more convenient, first of all, for the students themselves: instead of a heavy backpack, you can come to classes with a light handbag. The necessary textbooks are already uploaded to the tablet. Tasks and training materials are sent by e-mail.
Interactive textbooks have undeniable advantages over traditional ones. An example is Wired magazine for iPad. In it, bright photos can change their size. Each page is sounded with a corresponding melody. In addition to the text material, there are thematic videos. Interactive infographics easily responds to any user’s touch. How fascinating the studying of, for example, history on an electronic textbook will be with similar functions and visualization!
Although investors are not in a hurry to spend money on such projects, this is a matter of the near future. Already now, Apple and Amazon are interested in selling electronic textbooks.
A successful start-up in this direction is Inkling Systems, launched in 2009. Creators of the project develop and sell platforms that help authors of books to create their interactive copies. During its existence, Inkling collected 17 million dollars of investment.
Notebooks will not be needed. Instead of them, special flexible OLED-displays placed on the surface of the desk will be used. They seem to ordinary paper, very light and thin, can be twisted into a tube or piled up. In addition, such display cannot be torn. But the most important advantage is interactivity. Students can write, draw, read books and watch videos. Thus, one display will replace dozens of notebooks, diaries, textbooks and books at school lessons.
The digital paper from Sony, which weighs just 63 grams, has already been created and is widely used. On it, you can write with a special stylus, easily select and edit text, save files and share them with other users.
Interactive whiteboard or Smart Board
In the future, it will not be necessary to write on the traditional board with a chalk. It will be replaced by an interactive mechanism. Smart Board understands handwriting, can perceive and reproduce information. It is connected to a network of computers with a special software. All that is written or drawn on the interactive whiteboard is immediately displayed on the screens of these computers.
Today, more than 2 million Smart Boards are used worldwide. They are especially popular in the UK (about 73% of the classrooms have interactive whiteboards) and the US (40%).
In fact, this is an ordinary tablet, but large in size, with which several people can work simultaneously. For example, at the drawing lessons, children mix different colors and see what kind of result the combination gives. They do not need to use paints and albums. Everything happens instantly before their eyes.
Smart Table has numerous applications useful for training. So, at the lesson of natural history, it will be possible to make a virtual excursion to any museum in the world.
An example of using this technology is Samsung SUR40 for Microsoft Surface. This is the tablet enlarged to the size of the table. During lessons, students sit around it and can write using a virtual keyboard, view images or read a text.
This is a device that can create a real object on the basis of a virtual 3D model. For example, if you draw a computer model of a rocket in 3 dimensions, the 3D printer will recreate it in full size. Simulation is carried out in a special editor. Today, it’s not necessary to draw the model of the object itself, because ready-made options can be easily downloaded from various Internet sites.
For example, if you do not have a certain detail at the design and technology lesson, there is no need to spend time creating the model. You can quickly download it from the Internet, print and continue the lesson.
Class as a playground
Using elements of the game in learning allows the teacher to involve students in studying a particular topic. The potential of this approach has not yet been fully revealed. However, there are already many well-known and successful examples of the use of the game in the class.
Geography teacher from Seattle, David Hunter, developed a way to present his subject through “Zombie-Based Learning”, where elements of the game with zombies are used instead of the usual textbook. The entire course is turned into a quest with a thoughtful plot, characters, and locations in the world of zombie apocalypse.
Students must choose a safe route, get out of the epicenter and create a colony of people. Each “mission” is tied to a specific section of the geography, for example, migration, relief, climate, and others. After successful completion of the level, the next one opens and so on until the end.
A tablet or mobile phone is an important element in educational games, if the necessary applications are downloaded on gadget. For example, with the help of the portable Chemist lab, available for Android and iOS, students can feel as space explorers at chemistry lessons.