Students should expect more gadgets in the classroom

Students expect m ore classroom engagement from technology.

Temperatures may still be blazing and summer might seem endless, but back-to-school time is right around the corner. While grandparents most likely have memories of chalk and blackboards and some parents have memories of firing up the old classroom computer to play a game like “Number Munchers,” kids today have iPads, laptops, smartphones and other devices that they’ll be playing with (and learning with) for the entire year. The East Valley Tribune points to one school district that is really leading the way when it comes to classroom tech – the Mesa Unified School District in Tempe, Arizona, which features Willis Junior High School and its Innovation Academy, otherwise known as iAcademy.

Jeff Delp, principal of this middle school, is having the school’s 300 students use Notebooks, the internet and more in concert with old-school pens, pencils and paper, according to the news source.

“We talk a lot about purposeful utilization of technology. That’s really more of a school concept with us,” Delp said, according to the Tribune. “The point being, I think schools, and sometimes educators, make a mistake of thinking it’s about the technology. A lot of times you’ll see a program implemented where, ‘We have the computers so we use them for everything.’ … We just want to make sure that when we use technology, that it’s adding value from a learner’s standpoint.”

Technology that is used thoughtfully in the classroom may encourage collaboration, but the nature of classroom computing is also becoming more individualized. On the website Tech and Learning, David Andrade said we’re moving beyond the classroom computer and into the age of each student getting a personalized iPad. This can be used to take virtual field trips, conduct experiments in virtual labs and more. It can also allow teachers to attend virtual seminars and improve their craft.

Have you noticed your local schools investing more in technology? Do you think it’s a good idea? Will every school eventually be using tablets? Let us know what you think!

Scott Cornell

When he’s not knee deep in blogging and all things tech, Scott spends his free time playing ultimate Frisbee and watching foreign films. An expert in emerging tech trends, Scott always has his ear to ground for breaking news related to IT security.