T.H.E. Journal brought together five technology experts who work in schools to predict the future of technology in the classroom–and may help you decide where the opportunities lie for your museum or historic site as you work with students and teachers. Here’s a quick summary, and if you want more details, check out the entire article in the December 2012 issue.
- HOT: Common Core Online Assessments. “As more and more curriculum departments align their learning resources to the Common Core, the next step will be to create the systems for implementation, including content management and new methods of assessment. Mobile devices will play a role in Common Core assessments.” [Every history organization that works with schools should notice that this issue not only suggests following and understanding the Common Core but that schools continue to have inconsistent and unreliable computer technology, so providing information only online may hinder students and teachers, rather than help.]
- HOT: iPads. LUKEWARM: Tablet Computers other than iPads. “iPads will continue to dominate the tablet market, especially in the K-12 space.” “It’s true that adoption of other tablets has trailed iPads significantly, but it’s premature to dismiss Android OS devices out of hand. The number of apps available in Google Play was a deterrent at one time, but that gap is closing rapidly.” [Although many museums are tempted to create apps, I’d wait another year to see how the Android vs Apple OS battle goes–and if it would be wiser to create digital materials in a format other than an app.]
- LUKEWARM: Flipped Classroom. “Lecture is not the best strategy for helping students grasp information, yet flipping relies heavily on this approach to instruction. In addition, many students are spending hours viewing online lectures that are very poor quality.” [There still may be some opportunities to create online videos as classroom resources, but perhaps rather just recording a lecture, show something more active or behind-the-scenes, such as a curator analyzing an object or a demonstration of an historic craft.]
- HOT: Bring Your Own Device (BYOD). “Financial issues may be turning the tide in favor of BYOD. Schools simply cannot afford to keep purchasing technologies with life spans of three years or less.” [Consider if the class field trip would be helped or hindered if students used their tablets or smartphones.]
- COLD: Textbooks. “In many subjects and in many grade levels, there is growing interest in replacing the textbook with resources that are not designed in the traditional textbook format of 1) read information; 2) answer questions; 3) discuss (maybe); 4) take test; 5) move to next chapter.” [Museums have the advantage over textbook publishers to create amazing digital content for the classroom.]
- HOT: Social Media as a Teaching and Learning Tool. “Most educators are staying away from Facebook, but they are pinning resources on all types of topics on Pinterest. Educators who take the time to learn the language of Twitter can see the value of this platform for personal professional development.” [Social media is more than Facebook and Twitter, so watch how other applications, such as Pinterest or History Pin, can be used to your advantage.]
- LUKEWARM: E-portfolios. “Many teachers have had success in using Evernote to create e-portfolios for their students. I am afraid, however, that as more states move towards evaluating teachers based on the standardized test scores of students, the desire to use these forms [of e-portfolios]. . .as an investment not worth their time.” [E-portfolios may not affect you directly, however, if your visiting schools are using them, consider how your museum or site could easily be part of the student’s portfolio. You may be able to find some inspiration in Heather Hiles’ “Five Ways to Use Online Portfolios in the Classroom.”]
- COLD: Interactive Whiteboards. “Many classrooms are already outfitted with them, but administrators are reporting that the boards have not changed instruction.” “One issue with this technology is that it promotes teacher-directed instruction under the guise of engaging students.” [If you’ve wanted to buy one to replace your slide projector, you might be able to pick up one cheap in the next few years. If you’re thinking about developing presentations for interactive whiteboards, check with your schools to see if they’ll still be using them in the next few years.]
The issue is what to load on tablets. Like why didn’t we have a National Recommended Reading List 50 years ago classified by age and subject?