According to teacher Matt Britland, technology shouldn’t just be a part of everyday schooling, it’s crucial to modernising the way schools teach children effectively. In an article for the Guardian, Britland says cloud computing will help teaching by reducing the numbers of things that can go wrong for schools – no troublesome software updates, no new training to get up to speed with the latest programs.
“The future is about access,” Britland writes, “anywhere learning and collaboration, both locally and globally. Teaching and learning is going to be social. Schools of the future could have a traditional cohort of students, as well as online only students, who live across the country or even the world. Things are already starting to move this way with the emergence of massive open online courses (MOOCs). For me, the future of technology in education is the cloud.”
In addition to being a fundamental part of the framework on which lesson plans are built, technology is in itself, something for children to study, as well as use in its many forms. Classroom equipment from established, traditional suppliers such as Hope Education is being augmented by sophisticated, yet simple to use computers, tablets and digital media; and, teachers themselves are able to call upon a range of helpful apps to create more engaging, interactive lessons.
Children of today are growing up as digital natives, people to whom touchscreen technology and the universe of information available via the internet are completely intuitive. Technology as a subject encourages children to develop new skills almost without even realising it and grasp how new systems and concepts work. They’ll ask more questions, seek to find their own answers and add layer upon layer of knowledge – and because technology is fundamentally linked to the gadgets that hold so much appeal, they’ll be eager, not reluctant, to learn.
Technological innovations and trends have proved disruptive to many established industries, necessitating shake-ups and rethinks which push those sectors forward. But in lots of schools managing the disruption posed by Facebook alerts, Twitter notifications and WhatsApp messages, it has put many teachers off embracing technology in lessons. (Although Google believes even these could help learning, in this Daily Mail report.)
Yet other teachers find that interactive classroom sessions make lessons linger longer in students’ memories, helping them to retain information more effectively, improve performance and even make them look forward to subsequent lessons. Teachers are also able to pass on feedback via channels that suit their pupils, while mobile devices can help classwork be accessed, monitored and assessed at times that suit both teacher and pupil.
Readily accessible technology such as iPads and laptops means that a wealth of information is available to help with homework and lessons. Indeed, it becomes the teacher’s job to recommend the best sources of information, acting as curator as much as provider.
As technology evolves, it’s not so much that the schools adopting it better support their pupils. It’s more that they display the adaptability and open-mindedness to try new avenues for better results – and that curiosity of spirit often rubs off on the pupils themselves.