So, it would appear that chalkboards are a thing of the past right now.
Gone are the days when it was just textbooks, pens and paper and the chalk on the little metal thing at the bottom of the board. It would appear that we’re really moving on now in the world of education.
The traditionalists among you may despair, but I think it’s time to take stock of what’s going on in the world of education. After all, if you don’t know what’s out there, you won’t know what to expect and what might or might not be considered the norm for schools and universities.
Classroom Technology (CT) can be defined my eyes as different learning tools and methods of presentation in schools, colleges and universities. It doesn’t have to be just limited to the classroom either – lecture theatres, libraries and sports facilities can even be included in that too.
So let’s have a quick run-through then…
- The chalkboards (and even the whiteboards) are on their way out – Definitely a major development in schools has been the phasing out of the once-traditional idea of writing with chalk. It’s a stereotype of old-fashioned schools that is slowly fading away as we get more integration with computers. The most famous example of this has got to be the Interactive Whiteboard – of which the SMART board is probably the most renowned. They often retail for around £1,500 – quite the investment then. However, with schools getting grants to update technology these are quite attractive options for schools, especially given their reputation as greatly interactive tools that help multiple groups of people with different functions at the same time.
- Finally… They’re modernising the computers – It’s safe to say that the days of computers still running Windows 98 are over in schools. As times have moved on the demands placed on IT have increased and it has called for some faster tech. I remember the good old days of only a handful of PCs in my school even running the latest system at the time. Of course, when I went back to go and talk to some of the kids later I found that every PC was now running some of the most advanced software I’ve ever seen. Everything is more powerful and much faster than it used to be.
Why though? Well, part of the reason is down to the fact that graphics-based courses and the like are on the rise. IT classes are trying to keep up with the modern world too, so all of a sudden we’re having to catch up. I can remember having a disk space quota I couldn’t exceed – it doubled every year, starting from 10MB in Year 7. Looking back on my A Level in IT… No way would I have been allowed to do any of my work when I was younger… Everything is adapting to keep up.
- QR Codes and Smart Phones are here to stay – Recently, we found a great guide to some of the best QR Codes out there in the educational world (which can be found here) – it indeed got me thinking… With more and more people owning Smart Phones and the like, is the education world keeping up? The simple answer appears to be yes – we’ve got quick ways to access a whole host of information. For some, that information can be found quickly via a mobile phone using the internet.
Remember also, that some Smart Phones are capable of downloading podcasts and other educational tools for students. Phones have got basic calculators nowadays, some even carry graph creators. With all of this, the answer becomes a little closer and requires a little less work – or effort, depending on your view.
- Tablets are replacing traditional pen and paper – Is it any surprise that handwriting skills are perhaps less important now? I talked about the idea of handwriting skills in a previous article, and there’s a perfectly good reason for this.
At university, I often see students taking notes on tablets in lectures. Suddenly that A4 Jotter Pad seems a little old fashioned, doesn’t it? Having a tablet means you can do many different things – advanced systems allow the creation of graphs and other complex features. Even the PowerPoint presentation you’re reading in that lecturer is probably viewable.
These are just a few things that have changed over time, based on what I’ve seen. But is that a good thing? And where will it stop?
I’ve always enjoyed the benefits of taking notes by hand, for example. For some reason I find it more personalised and it means I can revise better. Some, however, like to be modern and keep with the latest trends, meaning that they are at the cutting edge, so to speak.
In an economy where modern skills are highly prized it’s probably no bad thing to keep up. However, having some knowledge of the old-fashioned (so to speak) can of course be appreciated by the so-called ‘old guard.’
Where do you sit? Let us know.