Best Classroom Technology
I have been convinced for a long time that ICT will only deliver on its potential for education when all students and teachers walk around with a device that they can choose to use and access as conveniently as people do in their working and personal lives. Tablets are definitely not just for consumption, but are increasingly powerful as full “work creation” devices.
It is worth consulting learners.
A very enlightened Headteacher told me when trying to decide on the best mobile solution for his school, “Children will find a way.” My daughter in Y7 and Y8 used a laptop for homework, and now uses her iPad. She is also extremely frustrated that she can’t take it to school and use it in her lessons there. I don’t know how long it will take for that to happen. Naturally issues around equality and security will occupy peoples’ minds and may delay that progress.
There is excitement for senior leaders, ICT coordinators, advisors and consultants on the choice of mobile devices, and the great software, Web2.0 content, HTML5 and more of what the “Appy” culture has created. And I am very thrilled by the way mobile devices, apps and cloud software has untethered teachers from network managers, by allowing them to freely try and experiment with new software, compared with the time it used to take to get software loaded on to PCs for trial.
The good news senior leaders is that you don’t have to think about it for too long, just make sure decisions being made about acquiring mobile devices are the right ones, because if poor decisions are made then your entire strategy around mobile technology and their education power may be lost.
I want to remind educators to remember, what I consider is still the best piece of technology in classrooms. Yet I sense that in some schools it might have been relegated to the same status as furniture. I am talking about the interactive display technology in the classroom that many of us used to kick-start our ICT careers. They were the first piece of technology in many classrooms and in a lot of cases still the only one. Remember that as web resources get better every year so does interactive display technology. And until devices are commonly accessible then it is this technology that allows teachers to bring in to their classrooms all of their new digital content, software and applications.
Author’s Note: Recently, I was in a school where every time the teacher mentioned they were going to use the whiteboard, in a strange and necessary “Pavlovian” ritual, one pupil would turn the lights out whilst a second one closed the curtains. With pinpoint accuracy, multi-touch capability and an image that will shine in the brightest of spaces for in excess of 15 years the new LED panels have made these display niggles a thing of the past.
About the Author: Jim Shelston is an e-learning, education solutions, education business expert, and father based out of the UK. He enjoys following education technology and ICT trends.