Advancements in tech are always going to transform the way we approach various tasks and industries and education is by no means an exception. We’ve mentioned before the impact of classroom tech on how we teach, but today there’s a more specific change we want to address: the gradual but widespread shift from traditional textbooks to tech like laptops and tablets.
According to a study covered by Telegraph, nearly 7 in 10 teachers make the claim that having state of the art IT equipment in their classrooms is a more worthwhile investment than traditional textbooks. In fact, Bill Gates even mentioned in his 2019 annual letter that textbooks are becoming a pretty limited means of learning a skill or concept.
So what exactly contributes to this switch? What kind of tech is pushing textbooks out of the limelight? How does their value delivered differ?
What Does Tech Bring to the Table That Textbooks Just Can’t
Classroom tech delivers so much more than just portability, though, to a high schooler or a college student lugging around 16 units’ worth of textbooks, not much else is needed to convince them something like a tablet is much more practical.
Tech-like tablets and interactive curricula take a convincing lead when you consider the wide breadth of information they’re capable of providing.
Consider a textbook. Bound and finite. If a student of yours reads the 5-10 pages allotted to a certain subject and is still lost, where does that leave them? In short, it leaves them at the mercy of your office hours.
And while you may be able to help a particular student that confronts you with a lesson they’re struggling with, where does that leave the much larger group of students who don’t reach out for help?
Instead of barreling through a book and addressing issues as they are brought up, they need to constantly polling their class and seeing what lessons need a little more time to really hammer home. And that’s more than doable with any number of digital curricula such as Zearn, i-Ready, or LearnZillion.
Now that you’re aware of the lessons and concepts your students are struggling with, what can you do with that information?
The beauty of online learning materials is what allows you to take that next crucial step. A sheer abundance of engaging supplemental materials exist online in the form of videos, tutorials, interactive exercises and more. Gathering these materials and working them into your course plan can do wonders for helping your students retain your lessons better than a simple chapter in a book with a few practice exercises.
Classroom Tech’s Increasing Practicality
The practicality of tech in the classroom is something teachers and educators have been well aware of for a while and the proof is in the numbers. By 2010 alone, money spent on classroom tech is expected to reach 252 billion dollars globally.
Not only does tech help students save money on expensive texts, the right application can help teachers lead their classes in more engaging and optimal ways. Not only that, with simple charging solutions such as portable batteries and phone charging stations placed in the room, there’s no need to worry about sudden shutdowns bringing your stimulating class to a screeching halt.
Lastly, it’s also essential to understand the practicality and wide-spread use of tech in the current job market. Practically any job your students could feasibly acquire after school is going to call for the use of smart hardware and technology. In addition to helping students learn, classroom tech and proper researching practices will help more adequately prepare them for the jobs they will be applying for once they graduate.
Textbooks have done their part for quite some time now, but if history has taught us anything, it’s that advancements in technology warrant the way we teach, operate, communicate, and more. Whether we see a complete abandonment of textbooks or their use in conjunction with new hardware, there’s no doubt that the landscape for education is going to continue changing. The best teachers and facilities will adapt the way they educate by using the best tools they have at their disposal.