For the generation that has never lived in a world without the Internet, smartphones and tablets, traditional classroom learning may not be engaging enough. Both teachers and textbooks need to adapt as technology gets more and more advanced.
Integrating smart classroom design
The classroom is the teacher's domain, but that doesn't mean that he must have complete control all the time. The introduction of tools like desktop computers, laptops and tablets presents many educational advantages, but there are also some disadvantages that need to be addressed:
- Avoiding distractions -- Although few students would ever claim that a textbook is a toy, most would agree that much fun can be had on a computer.
- Protecting equipment -- Classroom devices are capital investments that should be treated with care. This can be challenging, especially in classrooms with younger children.
- Maximizing space -- Computers do take up desktop space. When computers were new to educational settings, many schools had a dedicated computer lab with multiple work stations. This is no longer practical because of the sheer number of students who use computers in the classroom on a regular basis.
There are several software options for preventing computer misuse and keeping students on track, but it's important not to ignore the physical space in the classroom. When it's time to put the computers away and focus on something else, teachers need the ability to direct attention away from the computer screen.
Innovative classroom furniture like NOVA's Trolley E-Class allows teachers to have more control over the classroom. Integrated desktop screens can go up or down simultaneously at the touch of a button, allowing teachers to quickly move from lesson to lesson. The ability to hide the computer screen also creates more desk space for notebooks and, yes, even traditional textbooks.
Taking textbooks to the next level
Traditionally, students learn from two sources: teachers and textbooks. While this is still true, the definition of textbooks is rapidly changing. Today's textbook is not a heavy, cumbersome tome that needs to be updated every few years. To the contrary, today's electronic textbooks are much more dynamic, presenting many benefits to both students and educators:
- Engaging and interactive -- Students are used to fast-paced applications that allow them to quickly navigate between pages. Why should their textbooks be any different? Interactive textbooks allow students to manipulate charts and graphs, click on words to get a deeper definition and watch animations that are more informative than simple, static images.
- Feedback -- The ability to take quizzes within the textbook and get immediate feedback allows students to focus on the areas where they need to do more work.
- Longevity -- Even the best book covers won't protect textbooks from becoming damaged or being written in. Interactive textbooks allow students to make notes and create bookmarks, but they can't tear pages, write on the paper or dog-ear pages. A software-based textbook can also be much more rapidly updated without requiring a massive indoor storage area.
Teachers and textbooks are the core of education. Evolving with technological advances is critical for the long-term success of the education system. If you need help introducing technology to an educational setting, contact NOVA Solutions. We have been integrating computers into classrooms since 1988, and we continue to stay on the cutting edge today.
Photo credit: Johan Larsson