Blog Feature

By: Jennifer Devitt on March 4th, 2014

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What will things like education and bookstores be like in 10 years?

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If you had a crystal ball, what do you think it would show the future of education would be like in say 10 years? How do you think technology will change the classroom? Will our children be telling our grandchildren tales about extinct things called bookstores? Technology is already changing the way kids today learn and get their information. How different will it be down the road?

Technology in the classroom is not new, in fact, it is on the rise. Three years ago our son's fourth-grade class was a test environment in the district for classrooms with Smartboards. Two years ago our daughter's seventh-grade science class was a test environment for iPads and were guinea pigs for the new MAP testing that is the precursor to the tests that will replace standardized testing in Illinois. Our kids are no longer printing out essays or reports but they are now turning them in via Google Drive. All of this is current, the now, in 2014. Makes me excited to see what it will be like for our youngest (fourth grade) by the time she reaches high school.

If I had a crystal ball, I imagine it would show me a classroom with children using tablets in lieu of books. On Monday, President Obama announced $400 million in corporate donations for software for teachers. And in February the President also announced ConnectED, a government initiative to close the technology gap in American schools. Companies like Apple, Microsoft, and AT&T to name a few have pledged assistance. I also, see in my vision of future classrooms, digital smart boards in lieu of dusty chalkboards, I see students with all the resources they need at their fingertips via tablet, laptop, desktop etc.

As classrooms across America move more digital each year, it will undoubtedly continue to affect bookstores. Bookstores have been suffering for a few years now since the release of the Kindle and the iPad. Major chains such as Borders are now extinct. Some wonder will future generations of kids even know what a bookstore is? I believe in some capacity there will always be physical books. However, I do see the advantages of converting readers to digital books. Kids have the ability to pick new authors on a whim with a free trial of a book. Readers are rediscovering the beauty of the classic novels that are available in many digital libraries for free. It can assist us all with building a larger, stronger vocabulary. I know for a fact I am not alone when I read a book, there are words I am not sure of the meaning of. I mean after all we are not all human dictionaries. For students to be able to highlight a word and instantly learn its definition, etc is a huge plus to building vocabulary.

Technology will not only provide a boost in education in the classroom it will be good for the environment. With students turning in papers digitally we are reducing the strain on trees. Apps that generate digital flash cards, cuts down on paper waste as well. Books that are abused or overused will no longer have to have the spines taped or be replaced. Each student will get their very own digital copy.

It is my belief that technology is making room in our brains for knowledge on more subjects. Because of technology we no longer need to memorize everything to pass, we need to know how to find the information. Our children are being given digital tests where they are allowed to do research to complete it. You might say that sounds like cheating and everyone is guaranteed an A. Not so. For instance, on a honors biology test, my high school daughter took digitally and at home, not one student received a 100% -- in a honors class. Students need to learn how to sort through information as well as understand it. We can all learn about anything our heart desires by simply searching and by the power of reading.

What about you? If you had a crystal ball, what would you envision a classroom to look like in say 2024? Do you think technology is a plus for classrooms or a deterrent? Will students of future generations be smarter than we are as a result of technology? Are you or your children using apps or software to further education or assist with studying? I would love to hear about the ways you or your children use technology for education.