Two decades of fitting classrooms with computers and whiteboards have swallowed rich countries’ school budgets and done little for attainment, some would say. Is it really the end of the old school methods of teaching with books?
When students are using technology as a tool or a support for communicating with others, they are in an active role rather than the passive role of a recipient of information transmitted by a teacher, textbook, or broadcast.
Moreover, when technology is used as a tool to support students in performing authentic tasks, they are in the position of defining their own goals, making design decisions, and evaluating their progress. Well, the latest technology promises to improve teaching methods, rather than moving them from blackboard to screen, and to give all children a tailor-made education once only available to the rich. If used effectively and implemented purposefully, the latest innovations can help transform how our children experience school. Game style lessons let pupils progress at their own pace, getting instant feedback at every step. Even homework could be fun! Teachers can spend more time on individual coaching rather than routine tasks, they can easily see what has been learnt and who is having problems. Schools in Sweden and Iceland are already adopting this new learning method. Indications from broader independent studies are promising. Many have already shown that integrating technology into teaching helped children progress better, regardless of social background. Research has shown that kids who engaged in interactive media appear to retain information better than their peers who passively watch.
However, on the other side, teachers fear that device-driven classes would restrain spontaneity or cause pupils to ignore them. Teachers rightly reject education technologies that divert their attention from instruction. The teacher is no longer the center of attention as the dispenser of information, but rather plays the role of facilitator, setting project goals and providing guidelines and resources, moving from student to student or group to group, providing suggestions and support for student activity.
Online and high-tech programs not only often provide better context, a greater sense of perspective, and more arresting activities that allow them to better connect with students, they also frequently offer a more interesting and involving way to digest information.
It is possible for students to get so caught up in issues such as type font or audio clips that they pay less attention to the substantive content of their product. We observed one computer lab within which several students with a research paper assignment spent the entire period coloring and editing the computer graphics for the covers of their as-yet-unwritten reports, pixel by pixel. Teachers are developing strategies to make sure that students do not get distracted by some of the more enticing but less substantive features of technology, for example, by limiting the number of fonts and font sizes available to their students.
So will technology replace books?
Member since: 6th March 2014
A recent Marketing graduate who moved to Inverness to improve her English. Proud of being Italian and precisely proud to be born in one of the most amazing areas in Italy: Emilia Romagna, where Ferrari...