Schools of the Future
What will the typical school be like in 2020?
Today, I am going to present a number of different technologies, and evaluate the likelihood that they will succeed in the classroom in years to come. I believe that the typical school in 2020 will be very different than the school that students are accustomed to today. By 2020, there will likely be a lot more innovative and incorporated technology in the classroom, including the technology that I will be talking about today: interactive whiteboards, the 1-1 laptop project, and text books vs. e-books. The typical school in 2020 will likely incorporate all of these different technologies into one classroom, so that the typical student will be able to interact and learn more than ever before.
What changes will technology cause?
There is a potential that technology will change a lot for students, not just in the classroom, but at home, as well. If technology is effectively incorporated into a classroom, then the students will likely have opportunities to take home some of that technology, and use it to do homework, or better themselves at home. Technology, however, may also cause negative changes. While the benefits of using technology in the classroom are outstanding, there are some drawbacks. Students may become too dependent on technology, and might not get the entirety of the education that is required for them. Another drawback to such incorporated technology is the thought of the digital divide. While most schools may provide technology in the classroom with their own money, if they wish to implement new technology, there is also the possibility that parents will have to pay for some of the technology, as well, creating a potential digital divide between parents that can pay for their child's technology, and parents that cannot.
What will be new?
When incorporating technology into the classroom in the future, there is a potential for a lot of new, up-and-coming technology to be tested on or implemented in students' lives, and there is a potential for new discoveries and new ways of learning. Learning will be new when using this technology, because the Internet, and the idea of having integrated, interactive technology that every student can use, is very beneficial to education, and is very helpful to students when they grow up and live in such a technologically based world. The technology and the idea that technology will be good for students will also be new. Children are increasingly exposed to technology in everyday lives: out in the world and even at home, so it makes sense to incorporate technology into their school lives, as well. The theory that technology will be beneficial to students will be very new, because for many years, technology was viewed as a possible hindrance to children in their everyday lives.
What technology will succeed, and what technology will be forgotten?
Technology is unpredictable. It is changing every single day, so there is no definitive answer to this question: some technology, such as interactive whiteboards, and the idea of the 1-1 laptop program might succeed for some schools, but for others, it might not, and the idea of staying traditional, and not as incorporated with technology as others might be more beneficial in their minds. I do think that by 2020, many schools will have incorporated technology in the classroom starting from a very young age, and so different technologies may succeed with different ages. For elementary-aged children, the interactive whiteboard might be successful, whereas with junior high and high school students, the 1-1 laptop program, or e-books rather than textbooks will be more successful. Technology that will perhaps be forgotten is also unpredictable. 2020 is only six years away, but a lot can happen in six years, so it is nearly impossible to tell what will be forgotten by then, because perhaps it may not have even been invented yet. I think that technology that will possibly be forgotten will be textbooks, though they aren't exactly a technology. I think that by 2020, most, if not all textbooks will be e-books, and textbooks will be a thing of the past. I also think that desktop computers will be nearly obsolete, and laptops or tablets will be much more common, as they are easier to carry around, and can be personalized to each individual student, rather than a desktop that is shared by many students.
Interactive whiteboards, such as the Smart Board, are already being used today in classrooms around the world. In many elementary and junior high classrooms, even in HEB, interactive whiteboards are being incorporated into everyday teaching, so that kids can become more engaged with their learning, and can become much more comfortable with technology in their lives, and see that it has a great purpose for their lives. A benefit of these interactive whiteboards would be that it has great educational benefits for the students it is being used with. Students can easily interact with the whiteboard, along with their teachers, and can potentially learn more from hands-on learning. A drawback of interactive whiteboards might be that a school might only be able to afford one or two interactive whiteboards, so not every classroom, and not every student might be able to get the chance to experience and learn with one of these whiteboards. A way to fix this problem might be that if schools don't have enough money to get interactive whiteboards for every teacher, they either don't get them at all, so that every student will have a fair opportunity to learn with the whiteboard, or they try to apply for a grant of state or federal money to gain access to interactive whiteboards. The interactive whiteboards mostly relate to hardware, though software is involved, because the whiteboard is the actual technology, but the software inside of the whiteboard is what really makes it work. The stakeholders in using these whiteboards would be not only the schools, but also the students and their parents, because the effect that the interactive whiteboards have on the education of the student might transfer over to their home life, as well.
The 1-1 Laptop Program
The 1-1 Laptop Program is a program in which every student in a classroom or a school has a laptop or tablet assigned to them, which is personalized, and can save all of the students' work. It can give students access to the Internet to help them with problem-solving or research, and it can give students interactive access to different websites, or different assignments that a teacher has posted online. The benefits of this program are huge: technology is incorporated well into a school, and each child has the education and technological benefits that go along with this program. However, a major drawback would be that not every family could afford technology for the classroom, or otherwise known as the technological divide. Families cannot always afford the newest or latest technology if they've been going through hard times, so if they can't afford for their child or children to participate in the 1-1 Laptop Program, then their child is left out, and doesn't get the benefits of the program that all of the other children are getting. A way to fix this would be to have the school either pay completely to have this program implemented into their system, or to have scholarships or applications for needy students who want to be able to participate, but don't have the money. Again, the main system in this program would be hardware, because the actual laptops are what are being used, but software is again a key component, because if the laptop is to work correctly, there has to be good, reliable software installed. The stakeholders, again, are the school, the students, and the parents of the students.
Textbooks vs. E-Books
Textbooks vs. e-books has long been a big debate in the classroom, ever since e-books were introduced, making the days of lugging around heavy textbooks to every class a thing of the past. Textbooks have benefits for students, such as the student being able to actually hold the book in their hands, turn the page, and even underline important information, if they have bought the book themselves. However, e-books offer the lightweight option, they are just as reliable as real textbooks, because they are in fact the same book, just online, and e-books often have built in features, such as highlighting or underlining features, and can even search the Internet if there is a word that a student doesn't understand. However, a drawback of e-books would be that not every student might be able to have access to the e-books. If a teacher doesn't give out textbooks at all, and a student doesn't have Internet access at their home, it would be nearly impossible to do homework, and it would be very difficult on the student's education, because they wouldn't be able to read the textbook and learn from that if they so desired. An easy way to fix this would be to give the option of the textbook. If a student desires to carry around the real textbook, or they need to because of their lack of Internet access, the option should be available, and every other student gets to use an e-book. The main system in this technology is definitely software, because the e-book has to be on software online, and that software has to have certain capabilities and features to make the e-book work as efficiently and as well as possible. The stakeholders in this scenario would be not only the school, students, and parents, but also the company which writes and publishes the e-book. If their online textbook has negative reviews, or doesn't work very well, then many schools won't buy that textbook, and won't want to have their students learning with non-beneficial technology.
What will a school of the future really look like?
There is absolutely no way to know. Schools could have incorporated technology across the world, in every classroom, or it might just be a select few schools that have the funds to do so. Either way, in 2020, with the way that technology in the classroom is progressing, I sure would like to be back in elementary school!