Tech Gadgets to enhance teaching and learning
Most people think that smartphones should be used to enhance teaching and learning, but the fact is that they have very few practical applications in the classroom. That does not mean that all new technology is useless in the classroom, is it just that some of the more popular items do not currently have any defining features that warrant their use in the classroom.
Tablet text readers
Things like the Kindle text reader are surely going to become more popular in the classroom. At the moment, it seems that their price is very restrictive, as many modern schools cannot afford tablet readers for every student. However, if school text books were all converted into PDF documents, then it is feasible that tablet readers could save schools some money.
One has to assume that PDF textbooks would be cheaper than paper based text books. The initial outlay for the readers would be a lot of money, but the price of future textbooks would be greatly reduced, which may help to even out the cost a little more. The only problem is that replacing the tablet readers would be expensive, plus the schools would have to find a way to stop people from stealing them.
Desktop computers and laptops
It is a shame that these are not standard issue in every classroom. Most classrooms ask that people write in notebooks, but that is simply not part of the world we live in anymore. Most people have terrible handwriting because they rarely ever write anything by hand. Most text is written on a computer, and why not? It is easier to read and faster to write. Yet, PCs and laptops are not placed on the desk of every student.
The obvious problem is the cost, but even electronic typewriters would serve a student and teacher better than having students write in notebooks. Even if they are not issued in every class, it seems silly that they are not standard equipment for English, humanities, sociology and history classes.
These used to be big, and many of them could only show still images. But, these days they are tiny and can project a moving image with sound. Even if they were not used to show learning videos, they could be used for PowerPoint demonstrations.
Having to write on whiteboards all the time is a waste of time and effort when a PowerPoint presentation could be made and reused time and time again. The school board could even issue PowerPoint presentations to the teachers to be sure that they are all covering every part of the curriculum correctly. The cost of the projectors could be reduced for public schools, as they could be purchased in bulk, and only one per class is needed, so a massive outlay would not be required.
Virtual reality helmets
These are still in existence, and yet have never been introduced into a learning environment. They are often shown on TV shows and movies as something that students would be using in the future, and yet they have still not made an appearance. Students could watch lectures remotely as if they were there in the room. They could also watch and take part in historical sagas so that they learn the content first hand instead of learning from books.
The visual learner is still at a massive advantage at school, secondly is the audio learner. The kinesthetic learner is usually the one that is only good at drama or physical education. The virtual reality helmet would allow them to immerse themselves in their studies and would help them learn in the way that is the most suited to them. It may actually create a little bit more balance in schools so that everybody has a way of getting a good education.
There are two main reasons why these helmets are not in schools at the moment. The first is the cost, and the second is the content. Producing high quality content for these helmets will cost a lot of money, and it is hard to justify such costs on an unproven method of teaching. However, the technology is slowly (very slowly) becoming more and more cheaper, so virtual reality learning may be in our schools one day.