Taiwan has earned a reputation for being one of the leading countries with advanced technology industries. High tech gadgets and devices are affordably available all over the country. Technology has simply fascinated the population. But is this technology being integrated in the classrooms? Are high tech gadgets and computer based technology (Computer Based Technology) being harnessed effectively for classroom use?
In a study made by Yi-Wen Hung and Ying-Shao Hs of the National Taiwan University in 2007 entitled “Examining Teachers’ CBT Use in the Classroom: A Study in Secondary schools in Taiwan“, it was found out that most Taiwanese teachers are using computers a lot but mainly for accessing the internet, writing documents, sending emails but hardly for teaching related tasks except for grading.
Similarly, in the United States, a study made by National Center for Educational Statistics in 2009 revealed that while 97% of teachers surveyed have access to computers in the classroom, most of them (66%) use it for research.
There are teachers who even believe that students spend more time with high tech gadgets such as iPods, wii and ps3 which they believe are distracting their from traditional books.
But computer based technology means more than making research work for teachers easier as well as being more than mere fun and recreational tools for student.
Educators are fast coming to the realization that CBT can be used to recapture the students’ attention and liven up their learning interest to what they would otherwise dismiss as dull topics.
Taiwan has been pouring resources to develop innovative classroom technology. In Nanhu Elementary School in Taipei, it launched a model of what they called eFuture Classroom incorporating a futuristic design equipped with computers and projection equipment. In Ren-ai Junior High, teachers use portable interactive eBoards instead of the traditional white boards. The eBoard is a large interactive display connected to a computer and a projector. The computer’s desktop is projected onto the eBoard’s touch screen surface where users can navigate the computer using a pen, a pointer or simply with the use of their hands. This alternative mode of teaching attracts and encourages more students to participate in class discussions and activities.
Technology and teaching actually compliment each other. Technology can have a profound impact on improving teaching. Educators must be able to understand and integrate emerging technologies and learn to integrate them into classroom use. Conversely, the popular use of a technology in classroom teaching can impact how technologies continue to take shape.
Most of our K12 students today have actually grown up as part of the digital revolution and can be considered ‘tech savvy’. The use of and integration of technology into classroom teaching would have a profound and successful effect. Cell phones, SMS messaging, cloud technology, and even blogging and social networks sites can actually be harnessed for classroom learning. Digital gaming and simulations can be explored for possible ways they can be used to reinforce learning.
The possibilities of using emerging technologies for classroom teaching is boundless limited only by how far a teacher’s creativity and imagination can go. However, because of the ease with which information can be had using such technologies, security concerns and child protection issues must not be taken for granted.