In Thailand, every schoolchild is given a tablet device; worldwide, Apple has sold eight million iPads for educational purposes. It could one day replace lessons and teachers themselves. But is the iPad doing students more harm than good?
Children are growing up in a world where social media, mobile technology and online communities are fundamental to the way that they communicate, learn and develop. In recent years the speed, flexibility and affordability of rapidly evolving digital technology has helped slowly prise shut the digital divide between the haves and have-nots and enabled millions of young people in developing countries to join the digital world. Increasingly, technology is being seen as a powerful development tool, used in the global battle to hit child and youth-focused targets in global education, livelihoods and health.
The opportunity for technology to be a force for innovation, education and change in the developing world has been widely acknowledged, with digital tools now recognised for their positive effects on children’s lives across the globe.
However, as with any new force, it must all be in good measure and technology is no exception. Ensuring that the right type of product, whether that be a laptop, tablet or mobile, reaches the right communities with the infrastructure to maintain it, is vital to the success of a project.
Rachel Ngongola’s second grade class at the Tico Community School is learning to count multiples of 10 on a Wednesday morning in late July. The class of 30 is divided into three groups: one counts clusters of plastic bottle caps, one scribbles addition problems into lined paper notebooks and a third sprawls across the floor, huddled in groups of two around white tablet computers.
Ngongola controls the classroom with ease. You won’t catch her shushing her students, or reminding them to focus on the lesson. While other Tico teachers describe Ngongola — known to her students as Teacher Rachel — as an exceptional educator, she hasn’t always engaged her students with such ease. Her classroom’s cool composure arrived with the five white ZEduPad tablets one year earlier, when Tico became one of seven Lusaka schools to pilot the iSchool curriculum.
One of the newest trends to hit South Florida classrooms, “flipped learning” combines new technologies with one very old idea: homework. But this is homework with a twist. Instead of lecturing in class and assigning problems to be done at home, teachers use technology to “flip” the model. Students first learn about a concept by watching an online video or using another resource at home. In class, they do work based on the information they learned the night before.
Technology and digital tools can empower children and young people in developing nations, but what is the role of business in this – and where do the challenges lie?
This great stop motion video explains the flipped classroom, an important concept for the future.
via Flipped Classroom.
Online classes are increasing in popularity among both students and parents, according to a survey report released today from Blackboard Inc. and Project Tomorrow. Nearly half of high school parents and students grade 6-12 would like more online courses, according to the report, yet only 17 percent of teachers are interested in teaching a class online and only 20 percent use online curriculum as a part of instruction.
Would a person with good handwriting, spelling and grammar and instant recall of multiplication tables be considered a better candidate for a job than, say, one who knows how to configure a peer-to-peer network of devices, set up an organisation-wide Google calendar and find out where the most reliable sources of venture capital are, I wonder?