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With both the education and technology landscapes evolving at breakneck speeds, the relationship between the two has become increasingly complicated. But when it comes down to the core purpose of education - to inspire, upskill and develop - technology is a partner schools can’t afford not to invest in.
Today’s school students are known as Generation Z, the ‘digital native’ generation - those who have been born and raised with the internet at their fingertips.
The way they learn will be wildly different to the chalkboards and notepads of days gone by, so classroom tech will surely, before long, become the new ‘normal’.
This article explores three of the key ways that inviting state-of-the-art tech into the classroom can change the future of learning for the better - allowing the teachers of today and tomorrow to communicate with their classes in the new mother tongue.
Replacing pens and notepads with tablets and laptops opens up a world of possibility when it comes to everyday classroom tasks. As all manners of workplaces are swiftly moving towards a paperless system involving integrated office technology, adept and professional usage of devices is a valuable skill to have going forward in life.
In addition to this, it can have a transformative effect in terms of making lessons more fun and interactive. Utilising tablets for competitive classroom quizzes and giving students an opportunity to flex their creative muscles by using the full suite of applications on a laptop for a project can lead to a more vibrant classroom experience.
What’s more, it’s very easy to store classroom devices in purpose-built lockers that will keep them secure when not in use. As we all know, a device such as a laptop can be a big distraction when used improperly, so only using them in targeted learning contexts will boost their effectiveness in the classroom.
Virtual reality can take students far beyond the classroom without the hassle of organising a trip, giving them a chance to explore their surroundings. Whether they’re walking along the Great Wall of China in a history lesson or diving deep into the Great Barrier Reef during biology, VR technology can give pupils an unforgettable experience without them ever having to leave the classroom.
With a mammoth 70% of children between the ages of 8 and 15 expressing an interest in the use of virtual reality, integrating devices into an educational environment could pay dividends in classroom engagement - which can easily translate into success in examinations and through other assessment vectors.
Augmented reality is another frontier that classrooms can exploit, which can bring just about anything into the classroom - from making atomic structures visible in 3D graphics to modelling design projects before they’re built. Could you imagine a virtual Tutankhamun making an experience in a school history project a few years ago? With this technology, it’s possible.
The days of squeaky TV racks on wheels are now largely behind us, though the benefits that come with educational videos are not. Thankfully, with modern technology, the world wide web is only a click away - with a treasure trove of podcasts, apps, educational videos and more, all accessible in mere seconds.
While there are wonderful resources online that can aid collaborative learning all across the internet, making sure your students use this resource safely and responsibly should be the first port of call when considering classroom tech upgrades. The latest trends and practices in online safeguarding are well worth a read to make sure your students stay safe online.
The worlds of tech and education are both in flux, constantly adapting to our changing world. Bringing these together and harnessing technologically driven change that helps to educate the next generation is a noble goal and one the education sector should be striving towards at all times.
Tom Brialey, Founder and Director of Action Storage Marketplace