Technology

From virtual lessons to interactive whiteboards, discover how new technology is revolutionising the way we learn

Technology is now at the heart of many
classrooms, providing students with access
to a whole new way of learning. Using
digital technologies, combined with the internet,
school is becoming a multimedia experience.
Indeed, in 2012 there were 1.5 million iPads in use in
education, as well as over 20,000 educational apps.
Of course, the internet has brought a huge
resource to the digital classroom, granting instant
access to a wealth of online information and
educational tools. Many universities are uploading
free materials to massive open online courses (or
MOOCs) like iTunes U and Coursera, providing global
access to free world-class education. Classrooms and
labs are now also often equipped with microphones,
speakers and webcams, opening up opportunities
for collaborations across the globe.
Access to these digital educational resources is no
longer limited to a single, rarely used computer in
the corner; in fact, interactive whiteboards are now
the focal point of many classrooms. A stylus, pen or
fi nger is used to interact with a whiteboard, on
which an image of the computer screen is projected.
The user’s movements are detected by the board and
relayed back to the computer, allowing the user to
write and draw on the screen (see ‘Next-gen
whiteboards’ boxout for more detail).
The interactive whiteboard is so much more than
a digital chalkboard though. The pen-style interface
means that many models come with bespoke
software capable of handwriting recognition,
converting everything that is written on the board
into a digital archive. There are also programs
available that allow anything drawn on the screen
to be printed, recorded, shared and rewatched later.
This has opened up possibilities for remote learning,
allowing students unable to attend the physical
classroom to still participate virtually.