As with industrial revolutions of the past, we face the pivotal question: Are our younger generation equipped with the skills that the real world is demanding? With uneven technological access and rapid proliferation of new technologies, the fear is that the digital divide between the haves and have-nots will only widen.
But we have also seen changes that give me much reason to stay optimistic. Let’s take a look at how classrooms in the United Kingdom and United States are bringing in low-cost solutions to enhance their curriculum.
Low-cost gadgets to learn coding
In the UK, under BCC’s Make It Digital initiative to provide resources on learning digital skills, one million pocket-sized codeable computers micro:bits will be given free to Year 7 students (aged 11-12).
Students can put their coding knowledge into use by designing games that use the device’s features such as LED lights and motion detector. For instance, you can code the micro:bit to flash messages with its LED lights. Other coding languages like Touch Develop, Python and C++ can be used on it as well. It comes with a Bluetooth link that enables it to be connected to other devices such as the Raspberry Pi, which is also a mini-PC.
Such a hands-on experience makes for authentic experiences that can help students to practise what they have learnt, and witness how abstract programming concepts can be translated into reality.
Free computer games for teaching
Computer games are being increasingly used in delivering lessons such as Mathematics and English, and the good news is, they do not have to come with a hefty price tag.
Free software to bring global experts into the classroom
Have you ever wished to go on an actual archaeological dig, instead of another hour of history in the classroom? I know I have! Thanks to Internet communication service Skype, it is now possible.
But that’s not all. Educators worldwide can now connect their students with other classrooms overseas, and meet exciting guest speakers from around the world. This opens up students to subject matter experts and sites that would have not been possible without travelling.
These are just some ways in which tech is being included in the classroom. Watch this space for more.