Classroom of the Future

SCHOOLS IN 2020: Mackenzie Smith

We have come a long way with classroom technology, from chalk and blackboard to electronic whiteboard projections and interactive pens. Teacher's have access to so many more resources than they did 10, 20 years ago because of the internet and it's vast expanse of knowledge, and have many more options in the classroom because of the advances in technology in the last 20 years.

  • Technologies We Use Today
  1. Web 2.0: These are webpages that allow collaboration and interaction from users, such as blogs and wikis. These websites/forums let students collaborate on their own time because they don't require every student to be on at the same time, and also give them the opportunity to go back and look at notes or other student's comments. They are a cheap way to store notes and extend students' understanding of material learned in class.
  2. eBooks: Different from open books, these are produced by textbook companies as supplemental/replacement books. They are basically electronic copies of the textbook. Although they are a quick and easy way to view your textbook, there is a problem when one student cannot gain access or if bandwidth is not up to par. These will be more ideal when more capable bandwidth and tablet use becomes more available/commonplace in the classroom and in the lives of students. For now, e-books are a good supplement, but the textbook system we use now is the only fair and fully capable way of getting the information to students.
  3. Open textbooks: This is similar to ebooks, but open textbooks are free. They aim to create electronic, freely distributed books to replace commercial textbooks, paper and electronic. Although the content can sometimes be questionable, they provide information to some who would otherwise never have access.
  4. Virtual field trips: Virtual field trips are "field trips" taken while still in the classroom. The Smithsonian Museum and the Sistine Chapel, among others, provides students with opportunities to explore places near and far, allowing them to see and experience the world without ever having to leave the classroom. They are safer, cheaper, and easier than real field trips, and I believe these will become more commonplace due the revolutionary concepts they posses.
  5. Virtual whiteboards: An interactive whiteboard is a great tool that projects images onto a board and allows the instructor to then manipulate the elements on the board by using their finger or an interactive pen. This easy manipulation allows teachers to fully engage their students by having an interesting and interactive display at the head of the class. Then, whatever is written on the board can (most of the time) be saved for future use or reference. Online grade books: Having grade books online allows the student and the teacher to better track their grades. It makes it easier (most of the time) for teachers to update grades quickly and efficiently, and allows students to view their grades whenever they need to.
  • Possible Future Technology in the Classroom

Much of the future classroom will be electronic. In 2020, we hope to see leaps and bounds made when it comes to technology's place in education, but many of the "new" technologies we will use will most likely just be the things we use today improved upon.

  1. Using laptops/tablets in the class: While I do believe the use of laptops and other electronic devices has a big place in the classroom, it is not ideal in our present time to use them consistently or to rely on them. They are not commonplace or efficient enough just yet to be used on a grand scale. Bandwidth is not up to par, and neither are the rules and regulations we have in place to control the use of them in the classroom. I do believe and hope that one day the use of tablets in the classroom is something seen every day in every classroom. They provide many advantages to students, such as interactive and engaging content, supplemental lessons, resources, eBooks, and many more.
  2. The interactive whiteboard we use today I believe will be revolutionized with respect to student's tablets. This way, as shown in the video, there can be a display at the head of the classroom and that same display can be seen at every desk. This allows the teacher to better engage the students and doesn't give the student much leeway while sitting at their desk. They are forced, and hopefully encouraged, to engage in the lesson instead of being distracted. Educators must find a way to ensure that the use of these is controlled and secure with security software or rules in place, because now, there isn't much of that being done. It's kind of a free-for-all when it comes to using your own tablet in most classrooms. When these technologies are improved upon, the way we teach and learn will be forever revolutionized.
  3. Class community activity table: This was the most interesting technology I saw in the video. Like the guy said, if this had been in one of my classrooms as a child, I would have never wanted to leave. Being able to touch and feel the technology through the use of a seamless glass touchscreen gives students a hands on approach while the teacher still gets to control the activity.
  4. Virtual worlds: In the video the little girl goes on a field trip and is able to virtually see many different "real-world" dinosaurs through her onboard 3D camera, sophisticated microprocessors and graphic subsystems. Through her glass tablet, she is able to read the scanners at each different "exhibit" and the corresponding image is displayed on her tablet, which seems very life-like, and then at the end of the night is also able to show it to her family in their living room on their glass wall. In the instance of the dinosaur, this allowed the little girl to view something never even thought possible. Also, the screen showed facts and information, but what kinda kid would read those boring facts with a roaring dinosaur on the screen? I know the video was probably very dramatized, but in reality, virtual field trip or real field trip, a classroom of children should be much more contained and controlled. All that little girl learned was that dinosaurs were pretty cool is what it looked like to me. While the interactive video was very cool and engaging, they should be used only as a supplement, and the students should still have to read the information or listen to a guide talk about it at least.

You have to draw a line between super awesome and super educational and the boundaries must be set, otherwise education because about technology, rather than technology being a supplement to education. Our education system in America has obviously worked well for years. We have bright, well educated, innovated individuals all over the country, but as technology becomes available on a wider scale, I believe it has a big place in the classroom. Although it can aid and help educate our children, it should never be relied on 100%. Electricity can go out, the internet can quit working, and there will, at least in our lifetime, be places in the world not as innovative as us. We should never lose ourselves or our relativity to the world in technology.

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