The role of technology in education is growing at a blistering pace, in my opinion. Everywhere you look, the classic image of a classroom full of books is being antiquated. Take Joe Wilcox and his family for example:
Today is the first day of school in the county where I live. Middle schoolers arrived at 7:30 a.m. for the long day ahead. For my daughter, it is the first day of home school, where my wife will be the teacher. Among my wife’s growing cadre of teaching tools is a Windows Media Center PC, which role will be significant.
What place in education does a Media Center PC have?
My wife will record some TV programs from the likes of Animal Planet, Discovery and History Channel for use in some of the lessons. Rather than be bound by the broadcast time, she can play program segments at times most convenient to the lessons. The idea is to keep the curriculum lively and interactive. This morning, my daughter will get a science lesson on Hurricane Katrina, which struck New Orleans earlier today
They also make use of Tablet PC’s (which I think no student should be without):
For art, my daughter will use a 6×8 Wacom Intuos3 tablet, which I have been testing. She may even use the tablet as part of today’s science lesson, being given a chance to draw the air flow for a developing hurricane.
That’s powerful stuff! You just can’t match that kind of education in a typical classroom. And it’s not just grade school that is using technology to its benefit – post secondary is as well, like the use of podcasting at Purdue University:
“Many universities are experimenting with podcasting, but I’m not aware of any other university that is deploying a podcasting service on the scale that we are,” says Michael Gay, manager of Broadcast Networks & Services for Information Technology at Purdue. “As far as I know, we are the only university that is offering both streaming and podcasting of lectures in this manner as a central university service.”
Another example of how technology can improve education. I have always thought that a room full of students furiously writing down notes is absurd. It’s much better to listen and let yourself be engaged by what the professor is saying, than to try and write down every word. Having a podcast of the lecture means you can easily go back and review it.
These are just two recent examples, but there’s many more. Makes me wonder what school will look like in 25 years.