As technology continues to sprint forward, it’s up to educational institutions to keep pace or risk falling behind. While traditional teaching methods have served us well until now, the huge opportunities presented to us by technology cannot be ignored — whether in a college or pre-K environment. And as a new generation of digital natives enters the education system, it’s important that the tools they encounter reflect the outside world — and technology plays a key role in delivering this.
In today’s article, we’re looking at classroom tech and how it can create a more engaging, interactive and collaborative learning experience for students.
The evolution of classroom tech
Tracing classroom tech back to its roots offers an interesting context for today’s partnerships. Since the days of blackboards and chalk, classrooms have incorporated a range of tech tools to enhance students’ learning. From overhead projectors displaying imagery through to the introduction of whiteboards and, now, touch-screen tablets and VR technology, educators have been making the most of recent advances to provide a more interactive and effective method of teaching.
In the 21st century, almost every job requires at least some level of adeptness when it comes to technology, so it makes sense that we introduce it to students at a young age. Sheltering learners from IT will only harm their professional and personal development, which is why the best modern schools make full use of the digital tools at their disposal. Let’s look a number of ways this partnership has the potential to transform the learning experience.
Field trips in just a few clicks
Virtual reality (VR) is at the forefront of technological innovation, yet it’s rarely explored as a viable medium for learning. But taking students beyond the classroom has never been easier thanks to VR, as, within a matter of minutes, students can be transported to places they’ve never been before — and this is can be a truly captivating experience.
Whether they’re standing at the foot of the Great Pyramid of Giza in a geography class or seeing dinosaurs up close and personal in a history lesson, the opportunities to make memorable experiences using VR are numerous.
Read more: 5 useful VR apps for the modern classroom
For many, VR seems like an expensive and complicated tool that doesn’t justify the cost or effort, but it doesn’t have to be. There are extremely affordable and easy-to-use models (such as Google Cardboard) out there for institutions looking to integrate this tech into their classrooms - so it’s well worth considering.
A library of resources at your fingertips
There’s little doubt in educators’ minds that some classroom topics are, conventionally, drier than others. It’s also nothing new to know that different learners process information in different ways — and therefore traditional pen and paper methods of learning aren’t effective for everyone. Thankfully, in the modern age, there’s a wealth of tools and resources online that educators can tap into in order to take individual learners into account.
For example, there are thousands of online educational podcasts covering topics from entrepreneurship to art and many of these use stop-and-start elements to engage students throughout. This provides not only a valuable learning experience for students, but what’s often a free lesson idea for teachers who are tight on time — a win-win for all.
Read more: Podcasting in the classroom: The digital tool you should be using
Thinking more outside of the box, the gamification of certain topics can also offer a refreshing way for learners to develop their knowledge and soft skills such as multitasking, creative thinking and teamwork.
Of course, facilities will be required to house hardware such as tablets, laptops and headsets, but they don’t have to eat into an already stretched budget. The school suppliers market now caters for this new technology with innovative ways to store away these new modes of tech in secure lockers for students’ laptops, which means your budget doesn’t have to stretch much further to accommodate these new tools - and the short-term and long-term benefits make the cost worth it.
Where are we heading next?
In the last couple of decades the world has seen such rapid development in technology that almost anything seems possible for the future. The partnership between classrooms and tech will only grow stronger as we move forward, and we expect that the two will go hand-in-hand in education across the globe as Generation Z grows from the educated to the educators. That can only be a good thing for students, providing personalized teaching, engaging methods and an altogether more creative and varied classroom.