The recent unveiling of Microsoft’s new Surface tablet highlights how quickly we’re moving into new, highly mobile era of computing. Marc F. Bernstein, former superintendent of Bellmore-Merrick Central High School District and Valley Stream Central High School District in New York, wrote in an opinion piece for Newsday that schools should be moving as quickly as possible into the new digital era.
“The traditional, antiquated model – 25 to 35 students sitting in tidy rows with a single teacher in the front of the classroom – now can and should be replaced by a blend of interactive online education and face-to-face teacher-student interactions focused upon a motivating curriculum,” Bernstein said in the piece. “You would’ve thought the technological revolution would have already had a greater impact on schools. But so far, its impact has largely been limited to providing Advanced Placement courses in smaller, rural communities, computer labs and the occasional incorporation of laptops into individual classrooms.”
Bernstein writes that the high cost of education has resulted in public education being threatened. He believes that to move forward and improve, it will take changes in the instructional method rather than organizational changes to the schools and districts.
Bernstein proposed high school courses with online lessons and teacher-directed lessons, with each occurring on alternate days. This is something like the flipped classroom method, in which students watch lectures via computer and then spend classroom time doing “homework” or collaborative projects.
“This technological revolution must come to public education if America’s children are to be competitive in the global economy,” Bernstein said. “Our students are ready to embrace interactive online learning, as long as they don’t lose the crucial human element provided by excellent teachers.”
One example of where technology could go a long way toward helping a school save time and hopefully improve educational outcomes is in Arizona. The Mesa Public School District is asking voters to approve a $230 million bond to fix aging schools, purchase buses and bring in new classroom software and other technology.
Schools could save time and space with the use of technology as a teaching tool, but the district said it can no longer rely on the state’s School Facilities Board to help with technology procurements or facility repairs, the news source said.
What kind of positive effect do you think technology could have on schools? Do you see classroom management running through technology as a viable approach? Tell us what you’re thinking!