What future awaits the classroom?

I was browsing through Youtube, hoping to find a video to use with this blog entry when I came across this:

My experience

10 years ago, I would not have imagined myself using a laptop for school. After all, a decade ago, laptops were still really chunky and schools were just starting out with setting up computer labs. But today, having computer labs in school is as small as a deal as having a school library. 

In 2003, Crescent Girls School started an e-learning program by replacing the use of writing pads with tablet PCs during lessons. It was an expensive program as students have to fork out $3000+ for the device. Not surprisingly, the socioeconomic status of the student demographics enabled the school to pursue such an ambitious plan. E-learning is the future, but it was an expensive and uncertain investment. 

When I went to Trinity College (Unimelb) in 2003, I was amazed with the campus’s use of interactive whiteboards. It was amazing to see the lecturers switching between the computer screen and writing via touch technology. Though that technology may seem infantile, it was definitely an expensive investment. We were also made to do draw mind-maps via an in-house program one of the lecturers invented. He claimed that his program will greatly help us with research brainstorming. I belittled that technology until much later when I saw a more polished version of the same idea called OmniGraffle. 

Shortly after, in 2004, British Council (Singapore) also revamped and added such whiteboards to its classrooms. Though I must say, the interactive whiteboards British Council has installed pale in comparison to Trinity Colleges. 

Opinions

The future of the classroom will definitely shift away from the pen and paper education and see the rise of students bringing their own laptops/tablets/PDAs to school.

Lectures will also be broadcasted via podcasts, as is happening to major universities in US (i.e. Stanford Uni). Books will be digitally archived (which is already partially done by Google Books) and accessible worldwide.

Interactive whiteboards may be replaced with better technology from Microsoft’s Surface with sleek graphics and responsive touch sensors.

The future that awaits the digital classroom is hard to predict as technology comes and goes at an amazing rate.

11 years ago, I used Yahoo to search for web articles that are relevant to my juvenile projects. 11 years later, I access Google Books to preview the books I need to borrow from the library. To add, I wouldn’t even have expected my psych stats lecturer to use a youtube video to explain the concept of standard deviation. It’s just unbelievable how much changes technology has over education.

There is certainly no better time to be a student, than now and the future.

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