Technology has been no stranger to the classroom over the years, and teachers have relied on technology to help them deliver great lessons every day. Starting with the pen and paper, progressing to the desktop computer and now to the mobile tablet, technology is an important part of how we all learn new subjects and skills.
Here, GPS Installations, who are specialists in public address system installations, examine how technology has innovated the classroom experience throughout the years, as well as what technologies teachers have used within their lessons to innovate the role of teaching.
The technology boom in the 20th century
The original projector helped to project images within the classroom to initially provide a visual aid to learning. First introduced in 1925, the Filmstrip Projector could be used depending on the subject being taught, helping students visualize the subject.
To help students learn, the radio and the mimeograph were also used as tools in this endeavor. Introduced in 1940, the mimeograph allowed teachers to copy and distribute educational materials to students, while the radio could be used to transit lessons to other classrooms in other areas.
Also known as an old-fashioned ruler, the slide ruler was most notably popularised in America. Replacing the mimeograph as a more efficient alternative, the photocopier was also used to help speed up and quantify the distribution of educational materials.
Some of the most notable examples of technologies that have developed the way children learn in the classroom are as follows:
- Although it did not become popular within classrooms for another ten years, the calculator was introduced in this decade.
- Used as a device to mark exam papers and other question papers, the Scantron machine has lasted to the present day as a way of speeding up the marking process.
- Personal computers were starting to be introduced and learners could use them to help improve their knowledge of a particular subject.
- While replacing traditional blackboards with interactive whiteboards, desktop computers were also becoming prevalent within most households, helping students to complete homework tasks on office-based packages.
The move into digital
Due to many technological advances occurring within such a short space of time, technology in the 20th century quickly became more enhanced. However, with the rise of smartphones, YouTube, tablets, and laptops – no one has experienced such dramatic technological changes as those living in the 21st century.Considered as the digital revolution, integrating smart technologies into the classroom has changed the way educators teach and how students learn.
This point has been highlighted in research whereby within the classroom, students were placed into two groups — group A and group B. Both groups were asked to research a topic and present their findings to the whole group, however, group A was not allowed mobile technologies whereas group B was. What was discovered is that group B divided into sub-groups, whereas group A stayed together. What this suggests is that technology can help aid integrated organizational structures within learning groups, which leads to more specific and concentrated learning, in comparison to the generalized learning and collaboration witnessed in group A.
Regarding technology, further research has suggested that responses from teachers have been positive overall.In the US, 86% claimed that technology was an essential part of a student’s education. Furthermore, 92% felt that they could have more technology within their classroom to help the quality of their educational delivery improve.
In the belief that smart technologies have improved the overall quality of the lesson, many students and teachers feel as though technology can help to make a cost saving as a result of smart technology. Electronic copies of eBooks and other digital-based learning materials are 33 – 35% cheaper than their physical alternatives. Increasing their chances of passing an exam, tablets and other interactive digital devices have improved literacy and numeracy skills.
Although many believe that technology has improved their lessons drastically though, there are others who feel that within the industry digital technologies serve as a distraction.This is because children can be distracted by social media apps and other interactive games when they should be learning. In a study conducted by A Common Sense Media, it was reported that 71% of teaching staff felt that a student’s attention span had been compromised by smart devices such as mobiles and tablets. What this suggests is that as digital technologies have been adopted into our classrooms, we still haven’t found the correct balance between utilizing digital technologies as a source for quality education, and making sure that they aren’t being used to the extent where they become a distraction.
Above all else, ensuring that quality teaching remains a paramount concern is vital.This is why the digital revolution has benefited the classroom – even though its impact has been received both positively and negatively.If education institutions can get the balance right between interaction and distraction, there is no reason why digital technologies can’t transform the learning capabilities of young people.