We are living in the age of technology. Going back to school no longer just requires a new pencil case and fresh paper, it means web based learning, interactive whiteboards and digital teaching aids.
Today’s students and pupils will never have to write an essay without the help of the internet, teachers are required to not only use technology but teach about the digital world which changes month on month. How can the education sector keep up when its principles are still rooted in reading, writing and ‘rithmitic.
We spoke to some students and teachers to understand how technology is changing education and whether the changes are for the better.
One student we spoke to currently studies solely via the internet, and she loves it…
“I currently study through webinars. You can do everything via a webinar that you can do in a classroom, including putting your hand up! This is different to how it was for me in secondary school.
“Using technology has changed the way I learn and I think it’s more effective and more efficient. A presentation is better than just being talked at. It also means that classes can be recycled and everyone learns the same way.”
Claudia Crofts, 18, Flintshire
Ensuring you are exposed to the same information as your peers can definitely be seen as a fair and progressive approach. But as the teachers we spoke to confirmed, digital resources are not always available to everyone in every school.
“There are schools where every student gets an iPad, but this is not consistent across the board. Interactive white boards generally make life easier. But when there is an issue with the technology it has a massive effect on teaching methods. It can let you down.
Over my 6 year teaching career things have massively progressed. When I started we had a computer in the classroom, though my school was slightly behind the times. But now, every classroom has their own set of laptops that each child can use. I wouldn’t teach many lessons without using my computer and the interactive white board.
Software has changed a lot, and things are better. Overall it is more beneficial. What the children are learning has changed. Unfortunately, the majority of programmes are expensive, schools can only afford to do so much.”
Charlotte Jones, Gorton
One of the main issues teachers face is that of change, changes to curriculum and general teaching methods often create resistance to progressive change elsewhere.
“An issue is that implementing new software often means changing everything across a school and that’s more than just buying some software, its training everyone, making sure everyone’s doing the same thing and the problem with that is that everything within schools changes on a regular basis.
“It changes with each government, head teacher. So the issue is software becoming redundant within a short period of time. Programmes supplied as teaching aids are better. But as the curriculum changes a lot of the resources are obsolete.”
Chris Silk, Trafford.
The teachers and students we spoke to agreed that technology is creating a more dynamic classroom that reflects our modern world. The key challenge is ensuring that the end product is user friendly, has longevity and is reliable.
It’s up to the government, LEAs and schools themselves to push to ensure that technology is fairly available and that both teachers and pupils alike are acquiring all the necessary skills for a digital world.
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