Back to the future – bringing tech to the classroom

Back to the future – bringing tech to the classroom

In recent years, the way we all access information and entertainment has been transformed because of huge strides in technology. That technology is now having an influence in the way school children learn and interact with devices in the classroom, and also how teachers are able to deliver lessons.

Tech is coming to the classroom. Actually, tech is already in the classroom. Schools have come a long way since desktop computers were first introduced in the 1970s and 1980s; the use of tablets and smartphones has been established for a few years and now the emerging focus is on Apps and cloud-based resources.

A quick browse of the App store in iTunes reveals a large selection of educational apps, helping to provide support for literacy, numeracy, creative writing, languages and more. There are also Apps that can improve pupil-teacher-parent communication. ClassDojo, for example, is a free app that pupils and parents can sign up for, and it provides reporting on progress and feedback on performance, including points awarded for good behaviour. Pupils are given a fun, emoji-style profile character.

Other forms of computing and technology have been regular fixtures in the classroom for some time now. To make sure your school is firmly in the 21st century, look at some of the interactive options we have available, here. Among these, is Raspberry Pi, a low cost, credit card sized computer that plugs into a computer monitor or TV, and enables children of all ages to explore computing and learn how to program in languages, like Scratch and Python.

Eventually, but also probably in the not too distant future, schoolchildren will have even more exciting and advanced technology to use. Interactive classrooms that utilise 4D technology – using a range of 50 curriculum-based themes – are being introduced in schools around the UK, creating almost ‘magical’ environments as floor and wall space is transformed to replicate the ocean, or an Amazon jungle, or the scene of the Great Fire of London.

There’s also a growing buzz about Google Expeditions, which is a new educational tool, built with Google Cardboard that brings virtual reality field trips to schools. Teachers will be given kits, including everything they need to transport their pupils around the world, in a virtual reality sense. These include smartphones, a tablet for the teacher to direct the tour, a router that allows expeditions to run without an Internet connection, and Google Cardboard viewers, or Mattel View-Masters that turn phones into virtual reality headsets.

The trials will be rolled out across the 2015-16 academic year, starting with schools in Australia, Brazil, New Zealand, the USA and the UK. Other wearable technology is emerging, too. Microsoft HoloLens may be on sale this December, while Facebook’s Oculus Rift VR headset is set for a 2016 launch.

Clearly, while technology has now taken permanent residence in our classrooms, there’s plenty more to come. Exciting times indeed for teachers and pupils, indeed!

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