Technology is moving at a rapid pace, with new improvements and advancements being introduced every week. The trend is set to continue with both private and public schools being encouraged to embrace and integrate new forms of technology into the classroom, but have they got it right and should they be doing more?
We surveyed 1,000 Australian men and women aged 18 to 65+ and asked them “what new technology can help in the classroom?”
Many of the answers were expected such as computers, iPads, and laptops, but some responses were more unusual such as ‘video links to create worldwide classrooms’. ‘Facial recognition technology so that teachers could know whether students were awake’ was another quirky response.
6.7% of respondents seemed to be anti-technology and wanted to see the return of pens, papers, blackboards, chalk and calculators.
Modern smartboards, which transfer computer information onto large screens was a popular choice with 6.5% of those surveyed wanting to see them in school classrooms. 3.2% were keen to see more whiteboards.
Computers, iPads and laptops
It’s no surprise that computers, laptops, iPads and tablets, smartphones and touch screen devices came out top in the survey. Altogether 49.8% wanted to see more of these being introduced into schools. But, while there’s no doubt of their importance, Digital Technologies Educator, Kim Maslin says teachers need to know how to use them.
“A lot’s being done to ensure students have devices, but they need to be integrated effectively into the curriculum and teachers should focus on achieving this. Technology such as computers and iPads are just tools, and unless the teacher knows how to use that tool in the right way, they won’t be effective.”
There’s been much hype recently over 3D printers and 12 of the respondents, that’s 1.35%, wanted to see more in the classroom. The 3D printer process involves laying down plastic layer by layer to produce a 3D object.
Digital Parenting Expert, Martine Oglethorpe who also runs themodenparent.net, website believes 3D printers have great potential.
“In classrooms around the world, we are already seeing students use 3D printers to explore the various layers of the earth, to create models of storms, to construct buildings and print parts of the human body. 3D printers can have some remarkable outcomes for students.”
Kim Maslin echoes these feelings. “I’ve seen students transfixed by 3D printers as they’ve watched entire creations take place from start to finish. The use of the printer was integrated into a broader project and because their creations existed in real life, it captured their imagination and encouraged them to understand technology.”
Of those surveyed less than 1% felt that live streaming of school classes would be beneficial, but Martine Oglethorpe says these live-link ups are invaluable.
“The potential to engage with those geographically isolated provides great opportunities. I recently saw a classroom linking up to a park ranger from a faraway country. He gave clues as to what nature and wildlife were around him and the students in the classroom had to guess where he was. It could also help those parents to appease their guilt when their child is given an award and they can’t make the presentation in person.”
Brain computers and facial technology
A ‘so-called brain-computer so that information gathered from the classroom could be downloaded to a student’s brain’ was one of the most bizarre answers. This was closely followed by two respondents wanting to ‘see the introduction of facial technology so teachers would know whether students were listening’. Martine Oglethorpe believes something similar already exists.
“We already have a version of the brain dump of information and it’s called Google! The best learning is determined by how they interpret and use that information. Myself? Why I would prefer the instructions on how to clean a room, put away clothes, and clean the toilet, yes all this to be downloaded into their brains and of course to be subsequently executed daily. I’m sure most parents would agree!”
Central College Online is a part of the Group Colleges of Australia organisation which has been established for over thirty years and offers online courses in more than forty subjects to thousands of students.