I’ve received about a dozen comments on the Intelligent Classroom post last month and several emails. Many of you questioned whether we should be discussing the technology at all while others mentioned that sometimes it is about the technology. There was also some mention of technology that we should be rid of… like filters. I appreciate all your comments and suggestions for what you’d like to see in an Intelligent Classroom. I took the liberty to highlight some general base technologies that the majority felt important in a classroom for 21st Century Learning along with some commentary by yours truly, so without further adieu…
- Computers - While several mentioned an ideal 1:1, others mentioned 2:1 student to computer ratios, this may take more time, but in the meantime, teaching can be structured to take advantage of the 4:1 or 5:1 rations common in classrooms. Remember the computers available throughout the school and that out of school students may have access as well.
- DVD/Video Player - may be a thing of the past with online video, but let’s not throw this out completely, Computers that have DVD drives are ideal as long as they are hooked to the following…
- Projector - while ceiling mounted is ideal, having one is important for presenting multimedia in an engaging and stimulating way. Who wants to huddle around my 15.4 inch screen?
- Large Display – a TV monitor, pull screen or whiteboard is necessary with a projector
- Speakers - it amazes me that some computers in our schools do not have speakers installed, audio for video, podcasts, music or voice chat enhances a classroom.
- Microphones – quality microphones can record class discussions/lectures/presentations for later playback or be used for creation of audio and video files that demonstrate learning and understanding.
- Digital Cameras – still, video and web cameras – it’s about creation and documenting learning and these tools are popular for conveying feeling and stories. While these may be shared around a school, having enough available for daily use in many classrooms is necessary.
- “Open” Internet Access – “open” refers to the ability of network administrators to open up filters or blocks in a way that meets the needs of learners in a timely request by teachers. One of my understandings is that, at least in the US, there are regulations on funding that require schools to have filters in place. If these regulations are not met, then schools/districts jeopardize funding sources for future technology. What needs to change with filters and blocking is the ability to lift these filters/blocks when requested for responsible use. The procedures for doing so should be quick and easy for network technicians. Of course, teachers, you need to consider their time and not expect a last minute request to be honored on the spot. There is some give and take here.
- Web 2.0 Tools - I grouped blogs, podcasts, wikis, social networks here. I think this talks more to the teachers and administrations that are often misunderstood. One commenter added that his district purchased blocks for BlackBoard that didn’t include many of the features that truly define the read/write web experience. Imagine your blog with no RSS feed, no connections, as just a static webpage. Is it fear or misunderstanding?
- Printer/Scanner – Tim over at Millard Fillmore’s Bathtub (BTW – one of the best blog names I’ve seen) reminded me in his post about printers and scanners in the classroom.
- (NEW) Telephone – yes, a telephone. I’ve been in classrooms that don’t have the ability to dial outside of the school. The problem with this is that learning sometimes needs to reach outside the walls of the building and not necessarily through the web.
Added last two after several comments and blog posts were added
Feel free to respond with anything you feel I have left out (just remember, I’m a male and human). The intent of this post was not to say that the tools are more important than the teaching strategies and practices that encourage and inspire learning, but to identify tools that we already have that can help meet needs of 21st Century students.
Oh, did you know that 8% of the 21st Century is nearly over?