One of the most important parts of education is the interaction between a teacher and a student. Traditionally this was limited to the classroom. New technology has changed the way teachers and students interact with each other inside and outside the classroom by eliminating some of the boundaries between teachers and students. Computers can be used in a variety of ways to expand the interaction between a teacher and students in ways that weren’t possible 20 years ago.
With the use of a computer or a tablet, such as the iPad, teachers now have the ability to post assignments and study material on the internet for absent students. The teacher can then interact with their students through email or an instant messaging service to provide assistance to those children. For a more authentic experience, teachers are even capable of recording class sessions and sending them to students. Classes can be recorded as audio, video (Peachey, 2012) and even broadcast live over the internet via Skype (Malone University). This interaction outside the classroom can help ensure that each student gets the attention he or she needs.
Changes are also occurring inside the classroom. Textbooks themselves are being replaced by tablet computers. The tablets allow students to access study material and create content for use with Smart Boards. Smart Boards are replacing the familiar white boards or chalk boards. These advanced boards can function like a white board, but they also allow teachers and students to bring up complex images that can be directly interacted with. For younger children, the pictures from storybooks can be displayed on the Smart Board while the teacher reads the book. Creative teachers can include interactive games in their lessons that can be used by groups of children. Games like jigsaw puzzles provide a fun way of learning for students who struggle with traditional lectures.
There can be drawbacks with introduction of new technology. It is important to remember that computers and technology are an aid and not a substitute to traditional teaching methods. Students can become too dependent on the tools that correct mistakes. There are calculators powerful enough to complete difficult algebra equations. Spell checking and grammar checking is available in several word processors. Dependency on these tools can stunt the natural growth of a student compared to more traditional ways of teaching and learning from mistakes. Careful planning can minimize the negatives while providing and enhanced learning experience for students.
Peachey, N. (2012, January). Tech Tools for Teachers: Podcasting. One Stop English. http://www.onestopenglish.com/support/tech-tools-for-teachers/podcasting/
Malone University. (2012). <i>Malone University students will study World Geography via Skype</i>. Retrieved January 15, 2013, from http://www.malone.edu/news-and-events/6496-geography-skype.php
First picture on right from www.cornerhouse.org. Second picture on left from www.edc.carlton.ca