While I was distracted by the internet the other day, I came across an old T.V. show from the 60’s called The Jetsons. Guilty pleasure perhaps but I rather enjoyed the cartoon antics of the family. What struck me most though was the way it portrayed the school of the future - because it was almost entirely wrong. Judy Jetson and little Elroy Jetson were taken to their respective floating sky schools in a flying car where they travelled through clear plastic tubes to be deposited in their classroom in front of a robotic teacher. It was surprising how odd the vision of 21st century education was when the show was made. The robot teacher in particular raised a smile because it was using traditional rote teaching in a robotic voice. We deal with education establishments all the time and if there is one thing teachers are not, it is robotic. Our experience of teachers is that they are passionate, dedicated and eager to adopt new teaching methods. Which is what this article is really about.
Where the show did get something right is that Judy Jetson was carrying a mobile device. Mobile connection is here to stay, and that means that the devices that use it are also going to be part of learner lifestyles for the foreseeable future. Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) is fast becoming a part of educational practice and with that comes the need for a suitable infrastructure of wireless connectivity.
With a strong and stable wireless local area network, educators can bring the students own devices into the lesson structures. Notes and lesson materials will be instantly available to the learner and both public, and private interaction with the teacher will constantly be present. Streaming video and audio support will likely be common content of lesson plans, and there is the prospect of wide area collaboration between classes.
I saw a discussion on this recently where the ‘wireless classroom’ was described as having the ability to let the computer cover the basics while the teacher concentrated on teaching. I think I would agree with that assessment. Learners are attracted to technology and in turn technology can be a huge asset to curriculum delivery, lesson planning and assessment.
Of course, the issue can be that a wireless infrastructure needs to be robust and secure enough to facilitate confidence in the equipment. While the use of interactive SMART boards or portable devices in the classroom environment is clearly of benefit in the education process, it also needs to be reliable and stable. Just as importantly the network needs to be future proofed as much as possible. With a well-considered and properly installed wireless network, we will be able to ensure that you can not only start to bring the technology that will engage and enthuse learners into the classroom environment. But you will also be confident that it will support your curriculum planning practically.
The near future classroom is more likely to be dependent on getting the right initial support, which we can, of course, provide for you. We can then help you create the learning environment you need so that you can take full advantage of it in the interactive classroom. I think we can safely discard the idea of robot teachers because with a wireless, interactive classroom to support them, education is better off in the hands of the professional teacher.