Computers have now been around long enough that many middle-aged adults can still remember the first one they ever saw in a classroom. Many older adults of today, however, have never known computers to be a staple part of the learning environment. Computer programing classes became a part of elective class choices in the late 1980’s. Over time they have become a part of education on a daily basis. Take a look back at how some of us managed without computers and what they are replacing in schools.
This has to be one of the biggest areas of change since the onset of computer use. Research opportunities have been significantly improved. University students, especially, can benefit from online library resources. The first thing to go was the Dewey Decimal System. This paper catalog format made it quite laborious to look up what you wanted to read. Many kids simply wandered aimlessly around the library until they found something interesting on class library day. Entire English class periods were dedicated to learning how to use this catalog system.
Technology has allowed for students not only to search for their books on a computer, but to actually read them from off-campus. This ability has made it possible for many people to get an education via online programs. These may be students that would otherwise be unable to participate. Technology has made a positive impact with this change.
Lunch lines often take up a large portion of the allotted meal time. This issue can take away a much needed break for many children. Lunch lines used to mean that cash had to be exchanged properly. Technology has allowed for the use of cards in the lunch line in many schools. This method keeps track of money that parents pay towards lunch use for their kids. Teachers usually hold on to the cards for younger students, passing them out before they head to the line. The card system allows for quick payments, making the line go faster.
These cards also alert personnel when the lunch money on the card is running low. Parents can go online in most cases, and add money to the card for their child. Children that are lacking are given lunch anyway and the card can keep track of how much the parent owes the school. This can help kids learn to manage money or card use without sending them to school with cash.
College entrance tests are a big part of moving on to a reputable educational experience. These used to consist of hours coloring in tiny bubbles on a piece of paper. There are now computer based tests for some entry exams. These models follow the same format, but the questions are presented to you on a computer screen. Some of these exams can even gauge your knowledge and adjust the test as you go. Questions on graduate entrance exams may become easier or more difficult, depending on how you answer the previous question. This allows for tests to be tailored to a student’s specific knowledge. Testing this way, however, can be more comfortable for many people.
Technology in the classroom started out with the introduction of projectors and whiteboards. This made the laborious task of cleaning chalkboards obsolete. The lack of chalk dust probably made many teachers happy, as well. Classroom computers can also help to assist with research, and alternate scientific labs. Students that opt out of dissections can complete the computer version in class along with their peers.
Technology has entered classrooms in the way of computers, tablets, and mobile phones. Tablets and phones were often banned in class, at first. Many teachers, however, have seen how helpful they can be for students that need to take pictures, look up vocabulary words, and engage in group projects. Communication between students has never been easier. This allows for students to collaborate on projects after school hours, even if they cannot physically meet up with their group members.
Many apps are available for tracking classroom schedules and projects, as well. Private social media pages can be initiated for use only by a certain class or group. Students and teachers can share accomplishments and announcements on these. This can help students stay organized and encourage bonding. Technology is more of an asset than a hindrance when used properly.
Technology in schools has made many activities easier to accomplish. Off-campus learning makes education a possibility for single mothers, students in remote towns, and disabled students. Technology has allowed for access to entire libraries in high schools and universities. Those that have a willingness to learn, have the world at their fingertips. Technology has added to education, making many things more accessible. Classrooms today are better equipped to work with a variety of situations.