In order to think about what the world and classrooms would look like 9 years from now, it is important to look back 9-10 years to think about what we thought about the world then. When we turned to the year 2000, I was still in college and I remember being at a New Year’s Eve party and remember how nervous everyone was about the possible break down of security because they weren’t sure if technology would be able to handle the change. We had cell phones and computers, but we weren’t nearly as technology savvy as we are today. As a college student, I used the computer to write papers, e-mail people, and create power-points. I remember having to create a movie with the computer and I thought it was the most amazing thing. When I went into classrooms to do student teaching, we didn’t have to think about how to incorporate technology into the classroom because there wasn’t really any technology in the classroom besides maybe a computer lab or an overhead projector.
In the year 2003, I got my first job teaching in a 7th grade classroom. My students had to take a computer class, but none of what they were doing really transferred into the classroom. They learned what they learned in computer class and that is where they used it. The computer lab in the school was used for the computer class and it was very rare that a teacher would be able to bring a class into the library to allow kids to use the computers.
In 2005, I started teaching high school English and technology started popping up all around me. We had a few computer labs that we were allowed to use and in my classroom I had 6 desktop computers. In the library there were computers that teachers could sign up to use when they needed to. We had media carts that had a laptop with a projector that could display power-points or you could show video clips. On the media carts, we had a CPS system which allowed for teachers to put in questions and then each student got a clicker and they student was able to answer the questions that were posted from the projector. Their answers were automatically recorded into the computer and the teacher could see what percentage of students got the question correct or incorrect. Through this system the teacher could chart student’s progress and share the information with the students.
As the years have gone on, I am still teaching English and technology has slowly come into our school. I now have a smartboard in my classroom, 16 laptops, and 6 desktops. I have used Wikispaces, blogs, glogs, e-mail, power-points, and Google docs with my students. I feel as though I am a teacher that tries to allow for my students to use technology to assist in their learning, but it is not easy. The way that we use technology in our district is not the most effective way. For example, in my classroom, although I have computers, I don’t have enough for some of my classes to use. I was given 16 laptops and I have 6 desktops which equal 22 computers, but some of my classes had more than 22 students. This causes me to go to other teacher’s classrooms to borrow computers, which disrupts their classrooms. Also, sometimes the computers that we do have aren’t working and sites that might be beneficial for the students are blocked. Also, trying to use technology as a tool to connect school to home is also difficult. Many students don’t have access to computers at home and giving them homework which requires them to use technology is almost impossible.
As the years go on, I am not sure how the world will change, but I am sure that we will see things that we never thought of. I feel as though in the next nine years, all households will have a computer. This will allow for me, as a teacher, to have more of a connection with my students while they are doing their homework and to have them do more things that involve technology in school and at home. Although I have tried blogging, I have only really been able to do it in school. When all households have computers, I will be able to have discussions on-line with my students from home. We can discuss novels or concepts that we learned in class. If a student is confused about something that was learned in class, then they can ask a question on-line and I can respond and not only will it help that student, but it may help other students that might have had the same question. Once every household has computers, parents will also be able to be more involved in their student’s school work. Not only will parents be able to view their student’s grades on-line and e-mail teacher’s about their student’s behavior and academics, but they can also be a part of the learning. They can view the blogs their students are doing and have discussions with them about what they are learning. I know that just having computers in the home is a simple thing, but I think it will affect the education of students in a big way.
Something else I expect to see in schools by the year 2020 is that all students will have some type of e-reader. E-readers are easily available to most people at this time, but I feel as though this type of technology is going to replace books. Currently, students have to carry around several heavy textbooks that end up getting lost and then have to be replaced, which is rather costly. When students have e-readers, they will have all of their textbooks in the palm of their hand at any point and time. They will be able to have all of the information that they need wherever they go without having to drag around a 5-10 pound book. Even if a student loses their e-reader, it will be less costly than if they lost 2 books. Also, e-readers will allow for students to have access to more books than they do now. We sometimes only have class sets of novels, but if students are able to download books onto their e-reader, they will be able to read books that they like and that aren’t dilapidated.
Another change that I see is that teachers will be online. Since podcasting and vodcasting seem to be like pretty up and coming things, I think that this will be something that in the future teachers will be doing. If a teacher is teaching a lesson, she could either audio tape it or video tape it and then post it on a wikispace or some other forum that students could access it. The students that were in the class that saw and heard the lesson could go back to the podcast or vodcast and review material that they might not have understood. While the students that were not in class that day, could see what they missed and not miss instruction if they are sick or are on a field trip. Also, maybe whole classes will be taught on-line. With the use of Skype, teachers and students could connect with each other without being in the same place.
Finally, I think that the world is going to be more concerned with the environment in the years to come and this could obviously affect schools in a big way. In an effort to conserve paper, schools could go paperless. I think about how much paper my students and I use on a daily basis and if classrooms were able to paperless, it would cause less waste and allow for less paper to be produced. When I hand graded assignments back now, the students take them and just throw them away. If assignments were handed in electronically I could view them electronically, the students could view my comments electronically and then delete them or keep them without wasting paper, which in turn preserves the Earth.
Education is in for a lot of changes in the next couple of years and although we may not be able to predict what those changes might be, you can be sure that technology will be involved.