How Times Have Changed: The Role of Technology in Today’s Schools
The education system has to adapt with changing times in order to prepare young people for the world which they will enter as adults at the end of their school careers. In our interconnected, digital world the role of technology has become increasingly important across all subject areas, not just those in which it is most obviously applicable. From harnessing the web to help students conduct research and collaborate on projects, to handing out tablet computers and laptops to pupils who might otherwise lack access, schools are moving with the flow of technology in a number of ways.
As part of a £300 million government scheme, over 270,000 of the poorest households in the UK have been given a free laptop in order to help with the education of children. While more affluent families can typically afford to equip kids with their own computers, or a shared family system, the digital divide is putting those with smaller incomes at a disadvantage.
Laptops are being integrated into lessons across the UK, but with the growth of the tablet industry, fuelled by the Apple iPad since 2010, there is an increasing focus on this type of technology. Tablets and laptops offer students the chance to experience a modern way of learning, researching and exploring their creative potential. School refurbishment plans now have to take into account the proliferation of this type of technology when designs are formulated.
Experts are encouraging many educational institutes to further embrace the mobile technology with which pupils are already familiar thanks to the popularity of smart phones. Professor Stephen Heppell is one of the many people calling for classrooms to be enhanced through mobile technology, with lessons taking into account embedded GPS functions, mobile VoIP services and many other features which are commonly found on contemporary handsets.
The creative potential of technology is easy to overlook given that the emphasis is typically placed on its use in the enhancement of traditional study techniques. However, with millions of UK adults now employed in creative industries involving digital media, it makes sense to prepare the next generation with the skills that will help them find employment in this sector.
From photo and video editing to software programming facilitated through affordable computers such as the Raspberry Pi, there are already plenty of ways for pupils to learn about the creative side of the market. However, there is still a call for this kind of opportunity to be made more widely available in schools across the country and not just in those that embrace technological innovation.
The Third Dimension
One of the best ways to engage students in education is through a medium with which they are already familiar and in which their interests are invested. This works with the implementation of mobile technology in the classroom and has similarly been applied to the world of 3D.
With 3D movies making the big money at the box office and 3D TVs entering living rooms across the country, it makes sense to bring this into the classroom as well. 3D projectors and monitors are beginning to appear, although the active-shutter glasses remain expensive, with passive lenses proving to be far cheaper.
Giving as many students as possible the access to technology-enhanced techniques for learning in British schools should be high on the agenda for anyone interested in education.
This guest post was produced on behalf of Innova Design Solutions.