There is a generation gap between children and teachers that can make it hard for them to relate to each other. Teachers are used to paperback books and abacuses, while the youth understand e-readers and Justin Bieber. That is why teachers are getting new techniques and technology to help them capture the interest of their students, enabling them to provide a better education for the next generation.
Some of these new teaching tools are very unique. There are things that wouldn’t look out of place in the next Star Trek movie being used to teach today’s kids. It is almost enough to make us want to go back to school and use them. Almost. Here are five of the best examples of space age in education news in the current state.
We all have memories of lugging around backpacks all day at school, packed with numerous thousand-page textbooks that seemed to be necessary to actually learn things. While our generation has strengthened, if somewhat curved, backs, our children need no longer feel our pain. Technology has come to the rescue.
Some schools are in the process of moving their textbooks from a brick like format to a digital format. This is great for several reasons. First off, a whole bunch of textbooks can be placed on one digital e-reader. This saves a lot of space. This also makes the textbooks easier to read, with pages being able to be saved, and not having to buy used textbooks where the previous owner thought it would be funny to cross out random sentences.
Kids are all about their social networks. They make their videos for YouTube, update statuses on Twitter, and spend 18 hours a day on Facebook. That doesn’t leave them a whole lot of time for unimportant things like school or learning. So schools have taken to the social media to reach students who are more interested in their computers than the classroom.
Schools use social media sites to post updates on what’s going on around campus, feeding their students’ needs for some sort of constant gossip. (Even what meals are being served next Tuesday in the cafeteria is interesting when it is posted online, right?) Some schools have also had positive results creating their own social networking sites where assignments can be posted and students can interact with each other.
Video conferencing is one of the most potentially useful tools in education. Being able to see and hear things in places that are not easily accessible in person could be an invaluable asset for students. Schools could show their students live footage from across the world, perhaps giving a live tour of a rain-forest, or interviewing an expert on tree frogs.
The only real limitation to how video conferencing could be used in the classroom is the imagination of the teacher. Videos are especially useful in preparing students for a world where technology reigns supreme.
Not every school looks like it will be adding robots into their classrooms, but some medical students will be seeing these high-tech teaching tools in the near future. Technology has advanced to the point where robots can be made to simulate certain human functions, allowing students to learn how people work and what techniques are best to use when examining them without the need for actual human patients.
The advantage for this, besides being completely awesome, is that multiple ailments that a medical student can expect to see in future patients can be simulated without the need of volunteer patients who are actually suffering from those conditions. Plus practicing medicine on robots is pretty awesome.
Bringing Education To The People
The future of education is believed to rely heavily on available technology such as the Internet. The tuition-free school aptly titled University Of The People has one goal in mind: providing free education for the world. While they may not currently be an accredited facility of learning, UofPeople is slowly gaining traction on their path to be fully accredited in the future, which would revolutionize the way we view higher education.
Founded by the UN’s Global Alliance for Information and Communication Technology and Development, the school supports the idea and movement of not-for-profit higher education establishments that are available to all, especially those who couldn’t otherwise afford it.
[Image: Flickr user Andrew Mason]