Digital Takeover in the Classroom
The landscape of the classroom changes very quickly in the modern age, fuelled by innovation and technology. Significant leaps have been made from the abacus to the calculator, the notepad to the iPad – making teaching one of the most rewarding and exciting modern careers to embark upon. Electronic learning is becoming one of the frontrunners in governing the way our children learn, streamlining education and pushing students to new heights. But what exactly is the future of education?
The advent of cloud technology has been an innovation across all sectors. Storing information and files on a virtual hard drive, facilitated by the internet, rather than on a physical drive allows for on-the-go access. Leaving your essay at home or forgetting to e-mail yourself coursework has become a thing of the past at higher level learning, but the cloud is beginning to make its way into classrooms of all age groups.
The cloud makes interactive virtual learning possible, allowing pupils to use devices together in the learning process and benefit from peer correction. Whether it’s multiplayer games to stimulate education or pure writing and editing, the cloud connects students to one another wherever they are in the classroom, school or world. The exciting thing about the cloud is independence, allowing a student to make their own decisions through accessing resources hosted online. Giving children a task with the cloud allows them to make their own decisions, to choose which resources to use and which techniques to adopt.
Mobile technology has been one of the most exciting technological innovations of the new millennium. Confined to PCs, we revelled in our connection to the internet but since laptops, smartphones and tablet PCs made their mark; we’ve taken this connectivity to a whole new level. The Google Nexus, the Asus Eee and of course the iPad – these are all mobile platforms which make use of mobile apps.
Each device’s individual app store has begun to be populated with educational applications – blending a cocktail of fun and learning to help our children stay motivated. Many apps utilise the cloud to help peers connect, whilst almost all are stuffed full of information and guidance on a variety of subject areas. Some schools are even beginning to design their own apps, catered to their individual teaching styles and demands.
eBooks have also done wonders for the education industry – introducing lower prices of materials to anybody with access to a computer or e-reader. Amazon’s Kindle is the most famous example of an e-reader and its online store is full of educational books aimed at all levels of intellect and education.
The ability to save pages, define words using the in-built dictionary and share quotes online – these features combine together to make reading and studying a more immersive and rewarding experience for children. For those without e-readers, most e-books can be read through smartphones, laptops and even computers with the right software.
There’s also a growing market to help children and students conduct their own technological learning. Gadgets including the ‘Iris Scan Book’ allow pupils to scan textbooks on the spot and turn them into a permanent digital copy. No more tearing pages from books or fretting about somebody checking it out from the library before you!
Mini “Mifi” devices are also becoming popular modes of getting internet access where there isn’t any Wifi. Relevant for all of the technology above, these Mifi dongles use prepaid allowances and make sure that students always have access to their great gadgets.
2013 and beyond are exciting times to embark upon a career in teaching (or innovate an existing one!) and, in fact, teaching jobs in London are fast becoming one of the most popular career choices, both for British graduates and those looking to relocate to the UK from the likes of Australia and New Zealand. The technology seen in classrooms today, across Britain and America in particular, is not only a breath of fresh, fun air – but also a welcome addition to the curriculum.
With computerised assistance and an imagination, teachers today have a creative freedom that will allow the next generation of young minds to flourish.