No chalks, no teaching aids, no boards
Technology is now part of everyday life. So it comes as no surprise to hear that classrooms will soon be retooled to reflect advances in technology.
Recently, Dell came out with what it called “Connected Classrooms,” doing away with blackboards, chalk, charts and other teaching aids traditionally used to mold young minds.
Dell envisions 30 laptops connected wirelessly, each device tuned to a particular lesson shown through an interactive projector managed by a teacher.
Rani Burchmore, head of Dell’s Education Practice for South Asia, said the goal of the “Connected Classroom” is to “transform the learning environment for the Digital Age and align it with the needs of the connected generation.”
By using digital media in lessons and classrooms discussion, students are also encouraged to become more creative and innovative, said Burchmore, who has been developing educational solutions in developing countries in Asia since last year.
Ricky Lopez, country manager of Dell Philippines, also said that the digital divide, or the gap between technology users and nonusers, becomes more apparent in the age of technology.
“Kids are using laptops, PCs (personal computers), tablets and netbooks to do their homework. They are more tech savvy than we are,” Lopez said during a Dell product launch last month.
In “Connected Classroom,” Dell is “placing the needs of students and teachers at the heart of a learning environment by providing the tools schools and teachers need to plan and deliver engaging and effective lessons,” Lopez said.
In moving forward, Dell developed four new products for its “Connected Classroom” program.
At the core of Dell’s new learning devices is the S300wi Interactive Short-Throw Projector—a wireless projector that will replace the traditional blackboard and chalk in the classroom.
Bong Paloma of AMTI, an information and technology solutions provider, said the S300wi is the “heart” of the “Connected Classroom,” giving more mobility and interactivity in the classroom.
The projector’s light-based pen serves as the computer mouse with which a teacher can write or draw on the projected screen or navigate from a distance.
Paloma also introduced the Interwrite Workspace software. With it, a teacher may create animation, make presentations and share other digital content directly to students.
With the classroom management software, Paloma said, teachers can control and manage their students’ work. Distractions, like music, social networking sites and games, can be blocked.
Dell also introduced its Latitude 2120, a new netbook designed with a rubberized casing perfect for students. It also came out with the Latitude XT2, a tablet computer with a multitouch-screen interface.
There is also the Ergotron TeachWell Mobile Digital Platform, a mobile workstation that will hold all the hardware needed in a connected classroom.
Lopez said schools, parents, and the government should consider the “Connected Classroom” as an investment for their children’s future.
In the Philippines, good education is perceived as parents’ greatest “pamana (legacy),” Lopez said. “Education is not just … kids learning how to read, write or do math, I think it’s our ticket to a better life.”