Technology seems to be moving faster than our imaginations can keep up with. Every 18 months, computer speed doubles and technological breakthroughs seem to be immediately followed by something even better. The latest phone upgrade is barely on the shelves before a new advert comes out for an even more impressive upgrade. It can be hard to keep up.
Despite the rapid advancement of technology in the 21st century, the education system has scarcely changed in the past one hundred years. New phones may be on the market every six months, but children are still being taught in a similar way to their parents and their parents’ parents. This traditional teaching style is a transactional method that follows the idea of the teacher sharing information and the student reciting this information back. Possessing information is valuable but we believe that the more important question concerns what you can do with that information. When technology is used in the classroom, it thus ought to be used in a way that enables students to apply what they are learning in productive and imaginative ways.
Let’s take a look at how technology can be used to stimulate imagination as opposed to suppressing it.
When big changes happen, it is not down to educated individuals regurgitating the information they have learned in school. Change happens when we work together. Using technology in the classroom ought to subsequently be about encouraging collaboration rather than isolating students via electronic devices. When technology is used effectively, it can be a way for students to interact as a group in new and interesting ways. The STEM skills each student learns are valuable to their individual learning journey, but by working together, students can apply the ideas they have learned to imagine new solutions to existing problems. For students that are less confident expressing their ideas in a classroom environment, technology presents new means of communication for these ideas to be explored as a group.
It’s Not A One Size Fits All
Albert Einstein famously said: “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.” Successful education ought to produce confident learners, not traditionally “clever” learners. These confident learners are young people who can research well, engage critically and creatively with problems, and play to their own strengths.
Traditionally, it has been difficult to cater to different kinds of learners in the classroom. For a long period of time, rote learning based on repetition has been the norm. Using technology in the classroom opens up new routes of learning outside of the boundaries of the classroom. For example, one of our teachers recently chose to introduce themselves using a virtual reality video as an alternative to simply writing their name on the board. Delivering concepts in new and creative ways opens up different opportunities for learning. This way, the monkey can happily swing from the treetops while the fish discovers that she is an excellent swimmer.
Learning Is Fun
Finally, we are firm believers that learning should be fun. It is a fact that students learn more when they imaginatively engage with the material. When we teach block coding, we don’t have our students copy a series of codes from the board. Instead, we give them the freedom to experiment by drawing out maps and programming ozbots to follow the paths they have laid out. When students interact with coding in this playful manner, they not only grasp the concepts faster, they retain them longer.
To conclude, technology in the classroom ought to be considered a tool for stimulating imagination and encouraging teamwork. We view it as an opportunity to connect with students in new ways and improve communication between teachers and students. With the introduction of technology, the classroom knows no limits. We are now living in a time where rather than trying to make a child fit the classroom, or make a fish climb a tree, we can expand the classroom to fit the child. This is the kind of environment where great thinkers and innovators are able to thrive.
To find out more about how Building Imagination uses technology to enhance the learning experience, contact us here.