The ancient Greeks thought that the end of the world was today's Morocco and the titan named Atlas bore the weight of the world on his shoulders. Kids today learn about this myth and know better than the most civilized people in the ancient world.
Schools bear the same weight on their shoulders, because kids must always know more about our world.
There are a lot of aspects to learning and a lot of dedicated people that work together for a better education system. From old teaching methods to innovative technology, schools need to deliver the best education if we want our kids to stand a chance when facing the unknown future. The virtual classrooms might become the norm a few hundreds years from now - or maybe sooner.
Slowly but steady, teachers and schools take steps towards a more virtual classroom. While the human touch in the process of learning may never be replaced with a virtual one, some tech devices could be used even today for a better and more performant classroom. If we consider technology as an enabler to bridge the gap between the mostly present traditional classroom and the modern and fast-changing world our kids live in, the next five tech devices should become part of all classrooms.
1. Smart furniture
Desks that are bolted to the floor are not friendly with chats and discussions. Besides the individual learning times, and not cheating on tests by peeking in the next student's paper, kids need to collaborate in the classroom. By having folding tables and rolling chairs, they can rearrange their desks according to their many needs.
2. Mobile devices and WIFI
Because you can't use the former to its full potential without the latter.
It's not impossible, however, with many LMSs providing offline synchronization. But, with all the resources and e-learning course can have, it's still better to have access to a search engine for extra information.
All tablets — because most people think of tablets as the mobile devices in classrooms and very few think of smartphones — can be used for homework, as well as classwork. Tablets are on their way of becoming the classic notebooks of students.
3. Display technologies
My first school years meant a lot of white chalk on a really black blackboard. I wasn't a fan of the situation. Besides the mess created by the chalk, in some classes, I very much wished to be able to save all the written information on the blackboard — exactly as it was — and refer to it later, whenever necessary. Apparently, I was a bit ahead of my time.
My prayers have been answered, because today's smart whiteboards allow students to do just that. Projector screens, digital whiteboards, and even TVs now make the chalk and blackboard an ancient joke.
4. Document cameras
Teachers can use these cameras to display, notes, pictures, or any other physical learning materials on the above mentioned smart whiteboards. This will allow each student to check out a piece of information at the same time with his/her peers and therefore focus on all lesson part equally.
These are not exactly new tech, but rarely do we see teachers wearing a microphone or a headset while holding a class. Perhaps small classes of 10 to 15 students see no improvement whatsoever in using microphones, but anything above that could use a sound sound system. Of course, besides the microphones or headsets, the system should have amplifiers and speakers spread across the room.
Soft voices of teachers and/or loud colleagues and/or large rooms are the perfect recipe for lost engagement. If students can't hear the teacher, they lose interest.
And those were the five tech devices that should be part of all classrooms.
What would you add to this small list?
What disadvantages could these devices bring along as well?
Share your thoughts in the comments section.