One of the real bonuses of modern classroom technology is that is brings the whole world into your classroom. With telecommunications, the world really has become a global village, and communicating with the other side of the world is easier than ever before. If you thought that school students benefited from studying other countries, seeing films and videos about other countries and maybe having a penpal in another country, then just think what they will be able to do with the Internet and new technologies in communication.
What’s more, classroom technology helps students become more aware of issues and problems facing the world – and can even help them take action. This not only educates your students about the big issues of the world, but it also has an effect on other people outside your classroom that you may never meet.
In practice, how does this work? Let’s assume that you have the following pieces of classroom technology: a laptop with a wireless modem that is set up for Skype (with a speaker set) as your hardware, and a classroom website where students can post projects and helpful links – and so can you. You’ve also got access to some of the older forms of classroom technology, such as a DVD player or VCR.
Let’s say that you were listening to your car radio on the way to work and you heard that an earthquake has hit a particular country. On the spot, you decide to abandon the unit you’d planned on studying the weather and you’ll look at earthquakes instead. The old way of doing this would usually involve recording video clips off the televised evening news, mixed with a few videos on earthquakes and tectonic plates. You’ll probably still be able to do this, but with the classroom technology in place, you can get started straight away by accessing immediate news from the Internet, and that can include the news from that country. As soon as you get to your class, you can find a link to a live news feed and find out exactly what’s going on.