In the recent past, if a teacher discovered a student was using a smartphone to look up an answer or communicate with another student, the educator would most likely confiscate the tool. Where this was considered cheating or leveraging an unfair advantage in the past, today’s administrators not only welcome the use of connected gadgets in the classroom, but actively encourage the practice.
Prevalence of classroom computers: 1:1 programs
Many institutions are now utilizing a 1:1 strategy when it comes to classroom computers, where each student has access to his or her own device. Students at several schools in Howard County, Ind. are participating in the trend, where users in fourth through 12th grades are provided with technological tools to aid in learning. Educators at these schools have reported myriad benefits from the use of classroom computers, including an increase in student-focused learning.
Kristen Bilkey, principal of Northwestern High School in Indiana, said the 1:1 program has brought about the idea of individual learning, where students work at their own pace. The institution is currently in its first year of providing classroom computers to each user.
Schools are also finding improved teamwork among students. English teacher Natalie Guest said adolescents in her classroom break up into small groups and use their iPads to create presentations about the material they read. Technology usage is also changing the assignments by providing a variety of outlets for students to show what they have learned.
“I see a lot more collaborative work and a lot more student-oriented work going on,” said Eastern schools technology director Dennis Bagley. “In the past, a teacher would expect a three-page paper. Now, they’ll accept a paper, a slideshow, an iMovie and other forms that show students are learning.”
Increased security concerns
Colleges and universities have also readily incorporated technology within classroom environments. However, with increased technology usage comes boosted concerns regarding network security.
Recent research found that higher education technology infrastructures are more prone to being affected by malware. The study, which included 50 million users in a variety of sectors worldwide, discovered that school networks are 300 percent more likely to be malware infected than those of enterprises or federal agencies.
With this information in mind, it is important for schools to protect their technological devices. Users can install computer monitoring software to ensure they are aware of any cyberthreats that could affect the gadget. Additionally, individuals can also leverage system restore software to recover in the event of a breach.