I can remember when I was still in school, I am 23 and graduated in 2008, so it really was not that long ago. Don’t worry, I am not going so start with “back in my day” speech. However, after undertaking two practicums, I have been able to see the changes which have occurred in this short period. At my high school, we had three computer labs, each with about 30 computers in them and you were lucky if you had one scheduled computer lesson per week. Interactive whiteboards (IWB)… definitely not. Now, students from year 9 and up have their own laptops to bring to class, in one school, every classroom had a computer and either an IWB or a projector. I felt completely out of my depth knowing that I was expected to use these resources.
I most certainly believe that technology has its place in the learning environment. We need to ensure that “when students leave school they will be confident, creative and productive users of new technologies” (Ministerial Council on Education, Employment, Training and Youth Affairs (MCEETYA), 2005, p. 3). However, I believe that technology should not be the only teaching pedagogy used. My ideal 21st century learning space is very similar to that depicted in the image above. Yes, technology is important, and should be utilized in education when it is beneficial to both the students and the teacher. For example, when teaching maths, I have witnessed students struggling for half a lesson trying to figure out how to type an equation into a word document. Yet, they insist on using their laptops. Is this usage of technology a benefit, or a hindrance? That being said, I have also witnessed the usage of technology in a PDHPE classroom which resulted in complete engagement of all students. Students were able to watch YouTube clips on the IWB, and then complete their own research on their laptops. Brilliant.
The above TED talk presents an interesting idea. Although it was used on university students, it shows how online lectures may be personalized to give a one-on-one feel. How exciting to think that these methods may be used with “connected classrooms” to have guest speakers, or teachers from other schools give presentations.
I think that technology is a highly important aspect of education provided it is not seen as the ONLY aspect.
Ministerial Council on Education, Employment, Training and Youth Affairs (MCEETYA). (2005). Contemporary Learning: Learning in an Online world. Retrieved from http://www.curriculum.edu.au/verve/_resources/Contemp_Learning_Final.pdf