Wednesday April 16, 2014


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Technology booms in the classroom

Our Schools
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As our society moves towards a more technical and computerized age, it should come as no surprise that teachers have started to increase the use of technology in classrooms.

In the four years Iíve attended Whistler Secondary School, Iíve experienced this first-hand. It used to be rare to see a student, especially in Grade 8 or 9, using a laptop or a tablet during class, but now there are few students who are without these devices.

If youíve walked into an innovative elementary or secondary school classroom recently, it probably appeared more like a technical lab than a traditional place of learning. Digital smart boards are in place where chalkboards used to be, VCR and DVD players have been exchanged for computer-powered projection monitors and teachers often speak through a microphone hanging from their neck.

It is not uncommon to see students on their smartphones, tablets, and laptops while at school, updating social media sites, surfing the Internet or downloading music and videos. This technology is creating a culture of learning that is significantly different from past generations and it allows students to be better suited for the direction that society is moving in.

Online learning, for instance, is just one of many ways that students can engage in their own learning. Students are able to choose from an array of courses, and can work at a pace that is practical for them, while teachers can give online students individualized feedback, tailored to their specific needs.

At Whistler Secondary, where a considerable portion of the student population is competing in high-level sports, these athletes can now do their course work in intervals that suit their schedules, a concept that wouldnít be possible without modern technology.

With the Internet so easily accessible, teachers can even outsource lessons to better educators. The Khan Academy is just one example of an online academic base that students can visit to listen to lectures on a wide range of academic subjects, from math and science to history and entrepreneurship.

The Khan Academy was founded in 2004 by Salman Khan, a Harvard graduate who started the website (khanacademy.org) with the intent of creating a free, world-class education that could be available to anyone. Itís since grown to become the largest school in the world, serving around six million students each month.

Another form of integrated learning is commonly referred to as ďflipping the classroom,Ē where teachers produce video lectures for students to watch at home, and class time is used for working on assignments with the teacher and collaborating with other students.

This practice promotes better student-teacher interaction, a crucial aspect in creating a proper learning environment for students, especially for students who are more academically challenged.

This technological revolution is happening globally, fuelled by a generation of students who have grown up using digital media as part of their education. This way of learning clearly is the future of education and I am eager to see how the average classroom will continue to adapt.


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