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Education in the US has inevitably evolved so much over time. The change of environment, needs, skills, and attitudes of teachers and students alike have contributed to this evolution. What used to be a simple four-walled classroom can now make use of technological tools brought by the modern world.
The most common example of this is the use of computers. Information technology has long past dawned, and knowledge of it is now considered almost as a basic necessity. It is no wonder then that schools have begun using computers during classes, whether for basic tasks such as student report presentations or even for crucial activities such as exams. Teachers giving out electronic quizzes are hardly new today.
To complement the use of computers, various types of software are available. The most basic ones are the word processors, spreadsheet creators, and presentation programs. Then there are more specialized ones such as attendance trackers, educational games, and graphic organizers.
With computers, the use of the internet predictably follows. And with this classroom innovation comes an endless world of possibilities. Research can be done right from the students' seats. Notes can be recorded, uploaded, and shared on the spot. More communication channels are opened up than ever before. Some classes even utilize social networks for communications, as evident in online groups and forums.
There are also more substantial school activities done over the internet. For instance, absentee teachers may create online tutorials for students, so they would not have to miss a learning session. Some major projects also require the use of online journals and blogs for documentation and the like. There are even those that experiment with the creation and maintenance of websites for the exclusive use of the class.
While computers and the internet are common, other classrooms make use of special gadgets to suit the level of education better. Some kindergarten classrooms, for example, are now filled with modern educational toys, such as interactive building blocks and drawing pads.
Many schools even step it up, going beyond the usual combination of classroom computers and internet connections for the sake of a more interactive, personalized learning. Some make use of electronic classroom boards, which are like white boards but allow much more interaction for all of the class to see. Others go further by providing students with individual e-book readers and even electronic tablets.
Because these technological products are very easy to manipulate, many schools also use technology to prevent abuse of classroom devices. One of the top ways they do this is with network security tools such as firewalls and website blockers. Others opt for security cameras and electronic user identification for entrances and usage.
However, the best preventive measure against technological abuse is still the wise selection and distribution of devices. This responsibility falls heavily on school administrators.
Experts suggest three most essential considerations for employing technology in classrooms. One is meticulous planning, covering specific ways to use, track, and assess the performance of the devices. Another is proper training of all concerned - including students, teachers, and even parents. Third is an ever-ready support system, ideally composed of tech-savvy specialists.
All these should be combined in a comprehensive vision of an improved school. Technological advancements are not just for experimentation purposes. They are meant to push forward efforts towards development, and that principle should especially be inculcated in schools. Using technology in classrooms ideally result in more globally competent yet more responsible students.
In the end, that's what every bit of educational evolution boils down to: a journey towards the best quality of education possible for the younger generation.