The millennial age is without a doubt a revolutionary time in terms of technological advances. The rise of the internet, mobile phones, flat screens and tiny tech has left older generations in the dust with their heads spinning. Even millennials have to be on their toes; after all, toddlers are growing up with iPads and young children have the neural plasticity to learn to code faster than the adults who created it.
Although the rate of technological change is often overwhelming, there is plenty of reason to embrace it. Advancements in the fields of medicine and environmental engineering are exciting and optimistic, and the next generation promises to be a crop of innovators with a comfort with technology previously obtainable only by super-nerds. This comfort should be fostered, not feared, and it all starts in the classroom.
Laptops in the Classroom
Many schools are doing away with pen and paper and opting instead to purchase sets of laptops to be used by their students and teachers alike. Although some warned that the computers could be potentially distracting, the students and teachers of Buffalo Seminary cherish their laptops.
“I probably wouldn’t be able to survive without my laptop,” explained high school sophomore Consuela Sowa. “I’ve become so used to it in the past year and a half that it would be difficult to get things done without it.”
After all, maybe schools should be teaching kids how to get things done despite the constant availability of the internet with all its distracting temptations; temptations, by the way, that any millennial will need to cope with for his or her entire life.
“I think it’s more the person than the medium,” English teacher Carey Miller explained when asked about the problem of internet access in the classroom. “Learning to control that distraction is the same as anything else in the world.”
Dolling out laptops is also helpful for students who might not otherwise have access to a personal computer. In today’s day and age, unfamiliarity with computers is about as much of a hindrance to finding a livelihood as a lack of education.
One of the most intriguing advancements in educative technology is the potential for videoconferencing. Because videoconferencing has become easy and affordable, the practice has ventured from the conference room the classroom with some major positive results.
Now great educators can reach students from all walks of life and in every corner of the globe. More and more classes are integrating lectures from educational websites like Ted.com, th99percent.com and feastongood.com into their course curriculums. The proliferation of free, expert, online teaching aides has made teacher’s jobs easier and education affordable for all.
As far as education has gone down the technological path, even more amazing advancements are on the horizon. Anyone who has seen the demo videos for the Magic Leap, Microsoft HoloLens, or any other augmented reality device knows that education is on the forefront of being almost surreally interesting.
For those of you who haven’t heard, augmented reality is like virtual reality except the user of the device can still see their surroundings. CG images are then superimposed onto their reality, allowing for 3D models and displays to occupy the center of what would normally be a vacant room.
The Magic Leap, for example, casts a moving 3D model of our solar system to be seen in the eye of the beholder, right above a commonplace cubicle. The solar system has orbiting suns and planets and everything. Imagine the use of such devices in the classroom and what they could do to attract students’ attention and foster their growth.
AR is still on its way, but education is being revolutionized now. Keep an eye out and be sure to comment if you know of any cool new technology in the making!