They sure don’t make classrooms like they used to. Gone are the days of the traditional blackboard and lecturing. In many schools, these outdated forms of communication have been replaced with PowerPoint presentations and interactive projects. Many educators are now using computers to involve their students like never before. What once was a simple report on the life of Mozart can now include a digital audio file playing his music for the entire classroom. Education has become a multi-faceted experience where teachers spark the imaginations of their pupils and they respond in kind with creativity. 

All over the world, educators are finding new and inventive ways to use the latest technology available in order to reach their students. Here are just a few different examples of how recent technological advances have changed the way we think about education in various different locations around the globe.
Distraction or Interaction?

Cell Phones 

While many teachers in developed regions of the world would tell you that cell phones only distract their pupils, these devices appear to be much more useful in other areas. In a small village in Pakistan, a young girl is using a mobile phone to connect with her teacher and study while out of school. This is all part of a program crafted by Mobilink-UNESCO to increase literacy skills among girls in the region, and it seems to be having a positive impact. 

In certain parts of the world, students may experience difficulties finding regular access to school, meaning that they could end up spending more time outside of a classroom than inside. Thanks to new mobile technologies, we can now reach these individuals no matter where they live and give them the same educational opportunities as everyone else. In other words, cell phones aren't so bad -- they’re just not being used properly. It’s all about how you use the technology.

Touch Screens

Much like the mobile phones that most frequently utilize this technology, it is generally assumed that this is more of a distraction than an educational tool. However, for students attending the University of Calgary, touch screens have become an opportunity for hands on experience. In the new Taylor Family Digital Library, a virtual dissection can be performed on one of eight LCD panels as a group of history majors use the other screens to study for their final by creating their own interactive game of Jeopardy. 

The educational opportunities of this technology are limitless. As businesses continue to find new and interesting ways to incorporate this interface into their programs, the usefulness of real tactile response becomes more readily apparent. Touch screens may be most commonly associated with video games and distractions, but that doesn’t mean that educators can’t use them to give their pupils a more interactive educational experience.

Tablets

While some have scoffed at their usefulness and others maintain that they are just as much of a distraction as cell phones, many high schools are actually implementing programs that make use of iPads and other digital tablet devices. These devices are useful because they serve as a means to take notes, do research and access thousands of textbooks online. 

Instead of forcing students to carry around a bunch of heavy books, they can now simply use their tablet to access the information they need and even participate in class. This device combines the best of both cell phone and touch screen technology to give the modern student everything they need to succeed.

The Future of Education is Now

With so many classrooms already chomping at the bit to use this technology for educational purposes, it seems pretty obvious that we've entered a new digital age of education. So what comes next? The sky's the limit. Perhaps a teacher in New York will find a way for students to take tests on their tablet. Maybe an educator in the UK will use a POS system to connect their pupils directly with the educational tools necessary for their class. Whatever the future holds, it is clear that we need to start embracing new technologies in the classroom; these aren't just instruments of distraction anymore, they are tools for education.

Shane Russo loves all things tech-related. He often blogs about up and coming business trends and how to implement the trends into becoming successful strategies. He hopes the readers of TechBlog.StCyprians.net enjoy this article as much as he enjoyed writing it!