Remember the simplicity of opening a textbook and following the words as your teacher reads them aloud and explains the topic of biology further? Oh, how times have changed. The classrooms and libraries are no longer filled with posters on human anatomy and Shakespeare, or piles on piles of books storing all the information you may need for your exam. They are now filled with desktops, laptops, tablets and giant interactive LED screens replacing the, what seems to be like, ancient whiteboards.
Education has evolved since the advancement of digital technologies, and despite the pros and cons, it has played an undeniably enormous role in education today. As time goes by, new digital technologies are introduced into schools and universities every year, with even more emerging in the future. In this blog post, we are going to look at educational supplies of our current digital age, and review their impact on learning. According to Amplify, “technology brings benefits such as improved test scores and attendance,” but which technology holds the most popularity amongst students?
- The Tablet
Aside from the typical desktop computer, tablets have grown a lot in popularity in schools and education. This digital device has taken over schools not only in what we may consider as ‘highly developed countries’, but a large scale of countries all around the world including Indonesia, Brazil, Kazakhstan, and many more (more can be read about here). Initially, the role and intent of the tablet was to replace textbooks, and are considered to be easier to use for children than desktops PCs or laptops.
The tablet is often known for its ability to motivate students to learn, as activities become more entertaining and interactive when learning. Educational tablets can come preloaded with educational software and content, useful for students, allowing them to learn not just in the classroom, but outside classroom in their own time due to its convenient portability. Michael Trucano argues that, “like other education technology devices, tablets are seen by some as powerful and iconic symbols of modernity within an education system. As such, their purchase and use within schools is seen to be representative of a forward-looking, modern educational system.” Amplify also state that tablets are also far less expensive than many other types of school technology, so schools with limited budgets consider them to be a great option.
In just 2014, 70% of schools were using tablets already, and they’ve been rising more in popularity since; all in all, the tablet is an emerging digital technology that holds a strong impact on education, and is evidently used by schools all around the world. Here is a list that The Guardian have created with 20 different ways to use a tablet in the classroom.
2. The Interactive Whiteboards
Lessons are always more entertaining with this in the classroom; not only are teachers able to project videos and movies that are useful for the topics being learnt in the classroom, textbooks or websites can also be projected, as well as written on, making the overall lesson more interactive and interesting for students. Keeping a student interested means keeping them motivated to learn, and this digital device has changed the way schools display their education.
SBS (School Business Services) state that interactive whiteboards provide whole class learning as interactivity creates a more meaningful, social experience than spoken word tutorials alone and collaborative learning as interactive displays provide the opportunity for students to engage directly during lessons. The touch technology also allows ‘hands-on’ manipulation of content, encouraging students to work collaboratively with their peers and provides new opportunities to share accumulated knowledge through project based learning experiences. (More information can be found here.)
Aside from the digital devices we all know are being used within the education system, apps are also a digital technology that are now commonly used amongst schools and education as a whole. Apps are not only used for the commonly known purpose of interacting with friends or family, they can also be used for educational purposes.
Starting with just the simplest of apps, used mostly in universities, where students are able to connect with their teachers and universities through messages, information and organising. For example, Bournemouth University uses Pulse (Brightspace) where students are able to stay connected and on track with their course. It states to “give you one easy view of course calendars, readings, assignments, evaluations, grades, and news.” Education may seem like a heavy workload overall, but apps such as this are suited to helping students organise their workload and focus more on their learning.
Other teacher-recommended apps that shape modern day education are iMovie, Hopscotch and Haikudeck, all of which students are able to use in order to create their own projects and presentations that may be useful when learning. Apps such as Evernote or Oxford Dictionary are also useful when not having a notepad or dictionary at hand. Overall, there are many more educational apps that are undeniably shaping learning and education as a whole, revealing the enormous impact of emergent digital technologies on education today as students may find any application that is suitable to their learning and educational needs. Click here for more information on other apps that can be considered as educational.