Boring no more: how tech can liven up education
Nick Walter, head of commercial and education at Acer UK, explores how tech can stop school being seen as boring
Schools have never been top of the go-to hot places for anyone, child or adult. The thought of having to wake up 7am to get to school for 8:30/9am is ingrained within the memory of thousands of people and serves as the path that the current generation must similarly follow.
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There has been little change to the core of the education system since the 20th century, with schools adopting a set curriculum and teaching children how to score marks in tests rather than how to prep for their lives ahead. Such aspects have awarded schools and the current education system with titles such as ‘tedious’, ‘boring’, and ‘old-fashioned’. Although such titles are arguably apt for what both students and staff face on a daily basis, the introduction of technology has begun to clear away such stereotypes and steers greater focus into the ways that such old and archaic methods of teaching can be eradicated, while simultaneously boosting student engagement. Let’s explore how technology has alleviated the tedious reputation that is conventionally associated with educational institutions…
Archaic methods of teaching
The way we are taught information, from our timetables to sentence structure, requires a rigid and set process which forms the foundation for the information we subsequently learn throughout the years. However, as successful as they are in our formative years, they may be detrimental in our later schooling years, with students being taught in this rigid manner, achieving little development of their own form or opinion. This has led to the common belief that students are ‘spoon-fed’ information.
Today, schools are actively trying to shed this prescriptive style of learning by encouraging more individual learning through technology. Learning is better aided by laptops and other devices which would allow the student to work at their own preferred pace, along their preferred method of learning, be that audio, visual, or written.
Technology can be used not only to help students and staff, but also to improve the education system and the conventional image of institutions.
Lacking student engagement
School tests and exams are mainly focused on a student’s abilities to memorise and regurgitate key words and information within a highly pressurised environment. In other sectors, such expectations would incite excitement and competition, but within school and classes of mixed abilities, students face more negative pressure rather than motivation. This results in students feeling disengagement and overwhelmed with work and underappreciated with their achievements.
Technology within school helps interweave the more instant and individualised forms of appreciation that children are used to in their personal lives, while also encouraging them to try harder for the chance to improve their education. Using tablets and laptops instead of a singular whiteboard reduces the student’s likelihood to become disinterested in the subject, and reduces the negative effects of human error such as a teacher’s illegible handwriting.
Staff are limited
It’s easy to forget that even though school staff and teachers are in a position of responsibility, they are just human. And as a part of human life, they lack time, skills, and knowledge, yet are in charge of entire classrooms. As the world develops, teachers are still struggling with the integration of technology as they lack fundamental technological knowledge, often leading to time wastage while trying to figure it out. This all adds to the retention of the ‘old-fashioned’ and ‘out-of-date’ trope that schools have come to possess.
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Yet useful technology such as smart devices are far more prominent within the teacher’s workload and are helping to improve their own teaching skills as well as their tech skills. By having quick access to a wide pool of information, at instant convenience, staff are able to efficiently teach and handle any problem they face. Technology removes staff from their limited areas and plunges them into a wider educational community, all designed to better aid the learning of the students.
Technology can be used not only to help students and staff, but also to improve the education system and the conventional image of institutions. Today, whether we have chosen it or not, technology is embedded in all of our lives. It therefore becomes critical that education systems equally understand how the mindset of kids are evolving to this digital era and facilitate their development in the best manner accordingly.