It sometimes feels like not too much has changed about school. The dreamers of yesteryear believed our children would be taught by robots by now. Or that they would have the required information beamed directly to their brains. Things haven’t quite worked out that way. (Not yet, at least.) At first glance, things haven’t changed much. Kids are still crammed into dusty classrooms, where they copy down what’s on the board. They go home, do homework, revise, and have to pass an exam at the end.
There haven’t been many drastic changes. But here are some ways in which modern technology has changed learning in more subtle ways.
KIDS ARE BEING TAUGHT BY ROBOTS
Okay, I know I implied earlier that robots aren’t teaching our kids yet. But by that, I meant autonomous, self-aware metallic beings. Since those may not be around any time soon, we’ll have to make do with things like this.
“Telepresent teaching”: the use of a simple machine (sometimes a moving one) with a screen on it. The screen displays the teacher, who is in another location. The teacher may be able to control the movement of the machine, which is on wheels. This isn’t widespread, and is currently used more to help students with medical conditions. Remote education has shown itself as effective. You can see this in the rising popularity of online courses.
STUDENTS ARE USING THE BEST REVISION APPS
If you were at school in the 90s and the 2000s like me, you probably remember the old school revision books we had to use. These fun revision guides refreshed students’ memories in an informative but informal way. Soon, revision made its way to the web with websites like BBC Bitesize. To top it off, they have now spread to our phones! Students can use the best revision apps anywhere they want.
The combination of fun and technology can be seen in modern revision methods. Students are now using their smartphones and tablets more and more for revision. It allows for mobile access to the Internet. It also gives access to several fun and unique revision apps.
The way these apps help with revision vary. Some are made up of fact cards that kids can swipe through. Others let them set up their own multiple choice questionnaires. Because there’s so much variety, students may find themselves distracted trying to find the one that works best for them. Parents should look into the possibilities of revision apps with their children.
GOOGLE REPLACING LIBRARIES?
Google was born seventeen years ago. In those first few years, school libraries were still the best resource for learning outside the classroom. But these days, it seems anyone can search for the answer to their questions using Google. Wikipedia has become an invaluable resource for revisers.
Free access to so much information is incredible. But the Internet may be affecting schooling negatively in some ways. Libraries are seeing less use, and many are now in danger of closing. There are also online services that allow students to buy essays for use in school. This has resulted in a rise in recorded plagiarism.
So while technology is helping students in many ways, there are a bunch of risks. The impact it can have on academic progress is not to be ignored. Parents must stay informed of these modern technologies.
What about video games as an education tool? Crazy idea? Check out our article on using SimCity to educate.