How Technology in schools has changed in the past Century?


How Technology in schools has changed in the past Century?

Technology in the past Compared to the availability and the use of technology in a school classroom in the past, times have changed so much. Some Primary and Secondary schools were lucky to have a few computers distributed across the school; others would have television sets that would have to be shared throughout each year group. There are both advantages and disadvantages when it comes to using technology as a teaching method. When asked, most, if not all, teachers, retired teachers and parents agreed that it is good for pupils to have the chance of using technology in the classroom as a way to learn. When asked what the biggest change in the classroom has been in the last few decades, Jane Doherty, an ex-Primary School teacher, stated that, “Strict discipline replaced by better relationships between pupils and teachers.” Although many other people given the same interview said that the use of interactive white boards and unlimited internet access is the biggest change in schools, classroom relationships have improved immensely. There is an unmistakable ease in classrooms, as students can relate to some of things that a teacher says, have fun and still learn through a number of ways, that sometimes doesn’t involve sitting in complete silence with a pen and book. However, it can be difficult to stay up to date with technology, as it is always being improved, and because of the current state of the economy, schools can struggle to afford the many hi tech devices that can be used in classrooms. Most schools have IWBs, (Interactive White Boards) or Smart-boards, installed in classrooms these days, which can be considered easy to use, but can cost up to £3,000 each. Despite teachers being able to teach with the tips of their fingers, and being able to avoid aching hands and wrists from standing at the front of a class with a black board and a piece of chalk, some teachers do not find the learning new skills easy. A lot of the time, pupils know more about the classroom devices than the teacher!! Mrs. K Kealey, a history teacher a St. Mary’s College, Derry, and former pupil of St. Mary’s, said in an interview that, “There were only two television sets in my Primary School, and no computers in my Secondary School.” She also said that, “Technology was never used as a teaching method in the classroom.” Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher at the time wanted to change the state of schools, by giving extra funding to the more academic, and forcing the under-achieving to improve and stay up to scratch with her standards. At the time, a teacher was under-valued and under-paid. Corporal punishment was still used in the classroom, and was only banned in 1987, but this brought the problem of controlling unruly pupils in the class. The 1990s brought a new prospect of learning, with technology finally coming more into focus. Ms. N Doherty, a history teacher at St. Mary’s College, Derry, was the youngest person our group interviewed, and she stated that, “Technology mainly consisted of televisions and videos, and these were used only occasionally as a treat. I can remember starting to use the internet in school, but it was very limited and included lots of text. It was not user- friendly.” And indeed, computers were seen a lot more in schools during this time. Despite the problems the first computers put in place, it was still exciting for pupils to have the opportunity to use technology at school. Looking at the evidence that our group has gathered, teaching methods in the classroom haven’t changed much in the last century. But in the modern day, technology is developing and is helping to improve classroom conditions and the learning of pupils. I think we can all agree, that technology will continue to be used in schools, and help future generations to reach their full potential. Technology in the present day Every day we use technology, in school and in almost every job. Technology is part of our daily lives no matter where you work or go to school, even if you don’t work with technology, outside, all around us, we see cars, lights and many more things we may take for granted. What we may not know is all these small things are nothing, compared to what is to come. Many people may use social media sites, the internet, TV’s, radios, lights and even heat every day and not realize that they are using technology. Technology at the present day is very advanced, but technology in schools can be very unreliable. Using technology can have its perks but also it can be hard to use, sometimes it may just be easier to write on paper or to read from a textbook. Paper can also have disadvantages for example; if you were to make a mistake you then have to either score it out or tip-ex the mistake out, with a computer all you have to do is press delete. Even thought there are advantages and disadvantages for both paper and computers there are stepping stones for the future and for what is to come. A survey suggests that people who left school between the years of 1996 to 1997 are more familiar with technology today. Mrs Flanagan from St. Mary’s College Derry said, “Yes, as an adult do you think it is important that technology is being used in the classroom”. Ms. Kirsty Stewart, mother of a pupil, had said that there was “one computer room which had approximately thirty computers”.
  • From the information gathered we have found that most people who left school before 1990 had no computers in their schools.
  • Teachers who left school during the 1990’s all had at least 15 computers in their school.
  • Though many who left school during the 1980s had more TVs than those in the 1990s.
  • Nearly all teachers said that the biggest change in schools since they attended is the wide-spread use of technology throughout the school.
  • The oldest person we interviewed left school in 1994.
  • The youngest person we interviewed left school in 1998.
  • The oldest piece of technological equipment used in a school was a radio.
  • More than half of the people asked said there were between 25-30 people in their class. Everyone else said that there were 30+ people in their class.
Technology in the Future In recent years technology has swiftly developed. It has become a constant presence in the classroom, with more technological advances everyday and schools could be unrecognisable in just a few years. Schools have been changing, it is hard to tell where this will end. Some new and exciting projects that schools and companies are testing could improve and advance the technology being taught in schools further. Electronic textbooks are probably the biggest change in the classroom, bringing both advantages and disadvantages. Some advantages are environmental; the reduction of paper being used in schools. This is from less textbooks and homework sheets being handed out during class, saving the paper, ink and trees. Other advantages are that the textbooks have been designed so that they become easier to read and study from. Electronic textbooks can be enhanced with “study aids”; these are used to clearly show the key points of the book and give more information to help understand it better. The electronic textbooks have been interlinked with online information, making them able to include images, videos and related articles. This eases the strain writing on students. The biggest disadvantage is the cost of these electronic textbooks. The books are only compatible with certain tablets, I-Pads and computers, pushing up the cost. Although saving money in the long run, it can be overwhelming for schools; especially in the current economic climate. Tablets, net-books, portable laptops and transformer tablets give an extraordinary learning opportunity to young people today and into the future. 3D or electronic textbooks, videos and lectures are predicted to be used more in lessons, as it they have been found as more productive way of teaching. A “Classroom Presenter” and teacher are now planned to be working together in higher education facilities. This allows better integration of active learning in lectures, as most teachers say students can fall asleep during long lectures. Instead of the pupils simply watching and writing, they must actively join in with the class. A simple scenario would be having the “presenter” giving the information to students, whilst the teacher can assess the work (taken on tablet computers) and communication of each individual during the lesson. The school’s building will change to be more “green”, but still start to use more and more technology. Solar panels, underground/controlled heating and better recycling facilities will be present. Many designs for modern school buildings are fun, more environmentally-friendly, slick and have the use of more natural light. Smaller libraries, with more computer and technology rooms, can also be expected. Technology is moving quickly, currently teachers are preparing students for jobs that may not exist yet. Technology is becoming a more popular method of teaching in schools. In a quote the Minister for Education for Northern Ireland, John O’Dowd, shared his thoughts on technology in schools, “If I was to compare how computers were used in schools in the past with how they are used today, I would say the developments we have all seen in the last 10 years are simply staggering. We really are living in the digital age. Advances in 21st century technology have exploded in recent years with increasing popularity in the classroom. The use of technology alongside traditional teaching methods supports flexibility and choice in the curriculum, and extends learning beyond the school environment. It engages pupils and equips them with the skills and knowledge needed for the further study and the 21st Century workplace.”

By Caitlin C, Caitlin S, Jenna D, Megan D