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The Top 3 Ways Technology Is Transforming Our Classrooms

Let’s face the truth- technology has changed our lives. Whether we own a smart-phone or not, at some point we’ve all had to give in. You simply cannot live without an email address, phone number or the internet. I know what you’re thinking, ‘of course you can live without the internet!’ well yes, physically you could but there’d be many things you wouldn’t be able to do. Let’s take the example of an elderly couple who want to renew their car insurance. This couple doesn’t have access to the internet so the only way to renew their policy is via the phone. After being on hold for 8 minutes and 42 seconds a human finally answers the phone. The couple is pleased only to find out they’re being asked for a username, a password, an email address, their bank details and the name of their first pet. As you can see, it would require a lot of effort to avoid the use of the internet yet alone technology.

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Now, technology can often lead our minds to wonder and create these wonderful worlds where cars and even humans can fly. Remember when Marty Mcfly time- travels to 2015 and finds children riding hover boards and parents flying cars? Unfortunately 2015 has been and gone, so that prediction didn’t come true. Back to the future II weren’t that far off though. Click here to view a list of predictions that did in fact come true! Amongst all these high tech gadgets is ‘the handheld tablet computer’ now formally known as the iPad which has made many appearances in the modern classroom. So without further ado I present to you my top 3 ways in which technology has affected our classrooms.

1. Mobile phones have become the new classroom boredom busters.

Via pixabay.com

Long gone are the note passing days as Snapchat and Emoji replace MSN and handwritten scribbles. It’s a shame really… who didn’t enjoy giving your classmate a nudge as you passed them a note? The adrenaline rush of being caught. And let's not forget the embarrassing thought of your message being shared with the entire classroom. Of course there’s much less risk involved nowadays. Firstly, most phones are teacher/parent protected by a 4-6 digit code or pattern. Second of all, the worse that could probably happen if you were caught texting in a 2017 classroom would be getting your phone confiscated and collecting it at the end of the day. There would be no sharing of your deepest thoughts or who you had a crush on. No phone call home, exclusion or a parent meeting, just a disappointing ‘collect it from my office at the end of the day’ speech. Who’s to say it won’t happen again? It’s difficult to keep up with all these gadgets, trends and outsmart the teacher strategies. For all we know, this new generation of school kids have got a spare phone in their locker in case their first one is confiscated.

2. Books are basically becoming extinct.

Via upload.wikimedia.org

Ahh, the smell of new books. One that sadly not many youths will be able to relate to soon. It's true, technology has also altered the way we learn. But let's not forget how easy it is to turn on your computer and search for anything in seconds. We definitely take this tool for granted. Imagine finishing school and going to the library to find that book you desperately need, only to realise that the library just gave out their last copy. So you hop on the bus to another library and finally, after spending half a day searching you get a hold of that copy. You can understand why the internet is such a helpful tool if used in the right way. Raise your hand if you've ever used Wikipedia as your go to for homework. Yes, we're all guilty. It used to be fairly reliable until it became popular to add completely credible yet very irrelevant content to articles. And you’d only find out your facts were wrong when you’d get your grade D marked paper back. Yes, thank you for that. Anyway, who knows how far this new electronic book craze will go. I personally find that reading a book from a screen is not the same. Yes it can save a lot of space and even money but the screen can soon become a digital distraction. Intrestingly, I am not the only one who thinks this. Many people are discussing the paper Vs plasma debate, head over to this link to find out how Neuroscience discovered that reading from a Kindle deprives you from using 'deep reading and immersing yourself in the text'.

3. Goodbye fountain pen, hello shiny new keyboard.

Via static.pexels.com

Anyone else remember rushing to school and realising you'd forgotten your pencil case? You'd have to do what all forgetful students did and ask to borrow a pen. Fun fact, I knew a teacher who wouldn't mind lending you a pen but only in exchange for a personal object. This personal item often included something of value to you such as your shoe. Yes the one you'd be wearing. At the time it seemed so bizarre but I guess it’s obvious now. You wouldn’t walk out wearing only one shoe, would you?! Moving on, aside from the paper Vs plasma debate there is also the pen Vs keyboard. This one has me torn. After some long reflection i've come to the conclusion that I simply can't decide. Let's look at it like this,

Pro's of using a Pen:

1. It's a lot cheaper than buying a laptop

2. Most people are able to memorise knowledge more effectively by writing it down

3. Writing by hand is said to spark creativity! (Don't believe me? Read it here)

Here are some pro's of using a keyboard:

1. It's Faster, imagine writing a 3,000 word essay by hand? Not to mention the existence of a 'delete' button for easy correction and the 'spelling and grammar check'

2. No Ink Spillages or changing of cartridges!

3. Reduce the use of paper. Did you know students use on average 308 Kg of paper each year!

So i'd say both arguments are clearly valid. Of course it would depend on how important each point is. For example, if reducing the amount of paper we use is a deal breaker then obviously you'd be saving a lot of tress by typing. In fact, did you know a study has been carried out to calculate how many sheets of paper it would take to print out the ENTIRE web? Yes absolutely everything on the internet, including memes. If you're interested here it is.

Via flickr.com

Hopefully you have realised by now that this isn't an article telling you that technology is ruining our education system or vice versa. Instead, I hope all 3 reasons have allowed you to reflect on the way technology is affecting the future of our classrooms. Also, maybe it's persuaded you to postpone buying that tablet for your 5 year old child. But most importantly, you will go away thinking 'What sort of future do I want my children to live and be educated in'? and 'Is technology essential to children's success'?

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