When I was in high school, I had a forensics teacher who spent a majority of his time nagging the administration to implement a new system for learning. It involved giving each student a laptop. “Too costly,” they would say, “This plan isn’t good enough, detailed enough, etc.” I know this because he used to vent to our class about the situation, and throughout my senior year the installment of smart boards in several classrooms vexed him further.
About two years after I graduated and that teacher was no longer there, I found out nearly every student was required to rent an iPad. Textbooks were now in digital format and all homework was assigned online. Say goodbye to the days of stuffing books into lockers and bartering them at the end of the year, and say hello to the days of technological advancement.
When my teacher was periodically fuming to us about his ideas, Twitter was a shell of what it is today. I don’t think there were as many organizations and support systems for teachers online, but today teachers have the ability to take control of their classroom with modern technology.
As Chris Crouch writes, teachers have the opportunity to engage in “Twitter chats” tracked with hashtags such as #edbookchat and #sblchat (standards-based learning) to discuss “topics, interests, geography and courses.” The internet is full of outlets for teachers, ranging from educational blogs to support groups that can help teachers with fundamental classroom changes. This allows teachers to stay a step ahead and hone and refine their teaching ability in a changing world.
One of the most glorious assets of the internet is that you can find answers to confusing questions—”]like how to use a smart board [PDF link]—with a simple click of the mouse. There are also after–school programs and peer–learning groups on weekends, which teachers can attend to discuss more modern issues facing the classroom. One of these modern issues is the short attention spans of students that derive from smartphone and internet usage. Teachers may change their teaching method to accommodate this, perhaps even going online to search for solutions.
Technology affects more than just the curriculum; it also affects a student’s learning process. One of the biggest hassles that I remember from school was the problem of texting during class. Stern warnings and detentions were handed out like candy left and right to students fiddling with their phones. Not only can this serve as a distraction to student’s learning, but it also changes the way teachers have to teach. With quick swiping, swishing and scanning through pages and texts comes the debatable discussion of shorter attention spans, which creates a larger obstacle for teachers.
But with the internet there are several ways teachers can overcome these obstacles, including the Forbes magazine article advocating cell phone use in the classroom. It seems as though the classroom is evolving with new resources, and the teachers are the ones who will have the most command on deciding how to use them.
Did You Know?
It took nearly forty years for most schools to have at least one working computer. In 1971, nearly 13 percent of the nation’s public high schools used computers. That number grew dramatically to 95 percent in 1987 as the number of public schools with at least one computer used for instruction. By 2008, that number evolved into 100 percent.