Over 40 years ago, the Jetsons cartoons depicted a modern world in which robot maids did the housework, and people commuted to work and ran their daily errands in personal spaceships. While an amusing thought, it was likely that that the show depicted at least one creator's hopes that we would have all of those conveniences sooner than later.
While you may not spend your morning drive soaring high above traffic jams, technology has become much more prevalent in the everyday lives of people everywhere. We can surf the internet from a tablet in our kitchen, or turn our smart phones into a virtual Swiss Army knife with applications that can help us to live better lives.
But surprisingly, many of the benefits of today's technological advances have yet to reach one vital aspect of every successful society: the classroom.
Technology Still Not Prevalent In Most Schools
As far as University education goes, the setting and methods remain largely unchanged from the classrooms of fifty years ago, with the exception of the addition of PowerPoint presentations and more modern means of projecting educational video content.
A Learning On The Go Summit was recently held in San Diego which revealed all of the ways the internet is being used in classrooms across the country. Among the projects currently being implemented are laptops with wireless internet which allow students to continue classroom learning at home by accessing resources related to their studies online.
The Active Learning Phenomenon
Unlike the 'passive learning' environment, where information is delivered from one source - the teacher - to a group of students in lecture style, this new, 'active' way to learn reverses traditional roles of students and teachers. Instead of being the main information source, teachers take a project management style role to facilitate discussion and critical thinking among students about the internet and the information that can be found there.
The Learning On The Go Summit was funded in part by the FCC, which, it is hoped will result in even more support from the federal government for schools wanting to transform the teaching and learning experience.
And there are many benefits to doing just that; it's been proven in many instances that students who are actively involved in the learning process do the following:
- Retain a higher amount of information taught in class
- Are more motivated to learn
- Are more personally invested in the outcome of their education
Because a key aspect of active learning involves group work and discussion, students also learn how to communicate their own points of view and discover which approaches are best when a response to another's opinions is requested. The development of these basic social skills do not occur as frequently in the more traditional passive learning environment, simply because interaction revolves more around the communication of correct answers to the teacher who asks the questions.
Personal Technology May Revolutionize Education
Currently, at least 95% of undergraduate students own a tablet, mobile phone or laptop. And they are bringing this personal technology with them when they attend lectures. This presents a golden opportunity for active learning to take place, because the costs to purchase classroom equipment are no longer in the hands of learning institutions alone.
Technology In The Classroom
Some recent announcements by major tech companies like Apple hint at an exciting future in the world of active learning technology. But much still needs to be done in order to find a solution to how personal technology can enhance the learning experiences of students and keep them engaged in the process.
Guest Blog Post by: Elizabeth Brosuga is a freelance writer who enjoys learning about anything technology, particularly mobile wireless internet. She recommends as a great resource www.highspeed-internet-providers.com.