Since the dawn of time, educators have searched for new, better ways to provide engaging, informative and valuable lessons to students. From rock carvings, cave drawings and Horn-Books to each student having their device and workstation. Technology in classrooms has evolved further than we ever could have imagined. The big question for most teachers is how these tools can be used effectively, appropriately and creatively.
Before looking at current classroom usage, let’s look at how far we have come…
It all started in the 1600s…
When Christiaan Huygens invented the Magic Lantern – the first ever slide projector. The Magic Lantern projected images onto glass plates using candlelight, initially. By the 18th century The Lantern gained popularity with Kerosene lamps and Limelight being used as light sources, in the 19th century.
1890 saw the debut of the chalkboard, and 10 years later students were able to use a pencil in class and at home for homework.
The introduction of the radio in the 1920s saw an explosion of on-air classes, shows and news. This gave students access to information, instruction and training they would have had to travel miles for previously, at no small cost.
The ballpoint pen and headphones in 1930 and 1940 gave students tools to study better. And in 1959 the photocopier finally gave teachers the ability to distribute educational and study materials en masse.
Students far and wide embraced the handheld calculator in 1972 in mathematics classrooms all over the globe, and finally in 1980 the first home computer was born.
This paved the way for the Osborne 1, the first portable computer in 1981 that weighed in at 24lbs (11.1 kg) and still needed a wall socket for power. It was considered portable because you could carry it…
Finally in 1985 the true portable computer was released by…Apple. When the internet was given approval to be used by consumers in 1990 the modern day classroom was born.
While the use of the internet at schools was still limited, computers revolutionised education and continue to do so.
Teachers now have access to apps, platforms, materials and networks that allow for classrooms to cater to students’ strengths, learning and future in an engaging, fast paced, more individualised way.
So, is this the end for traditional textbooks and handwriting? Absolutely not. There are still fantastic textbooks out there for all subjects including the sciences, languages and mathematics. It’s just that the classroom landscape has changed dramatically…
Interactive whiteboards, multiple devices per classroom, and access to social media, Google, and interactive online activities, has opened a world of possibilities for educators and students.
Students are now able to learn in more collaborative learning environments with access to multimodal tools that provide them with greater learning opportunities and access to teacher support.
A classroom is no longer restricted to 4 walls made of brick and mortar. Students of all disciplines now have access to tutors, teachers and mentors all over the globe at just a click away. Want to learn engineering? Architecture? Take lessons in French, Italian or Spanish? You don’t even need to get out of bed to do it.
Student’s ability to reach out to international networks with similar interests, goals and ambitions means more motivated, contented, and stimulated men and women of the future.
In short, the evolution of technology in classrooms is helping to build brighter minds that can apply knowledge to real-world challenges, problems and issues via collaborative, authentic and effective tools.
So, what’s Next?
With leaps and bounds in technology occurring daily, who knows what the future holds for technology in classrooms.
The science behind biometrics being used to help alter course material to each students’ individual needs, maybe?
Augmented Reality Glasses for real-world learning experiences?
Desks and workstations that are also multi touch screens for a more collaborative learning environment, perhaps?
Whatever it is, we can be sure that the use, development and implementation of technology in classrooms will continue to evolve and with it, hopefully so will we!