Asking a classroom full of young people to focus their attention on a book in front of them is old hat. To begin with, teachers and classroom assistants know that attempting to do so is more than likely doomed to failure.
It has become increasingly realised that children respond far more readily to an image rather than words, and an eye-catching picture can stimulate much more detailed and vivid responses from them than most passages of text.
Because of this, technology has become an increasingly valuable aid in the classroom, with many now boasting permanent projection equipment or visualisers, to help pupils and students really get involved in their lessons.
Some educational establishments even extend the types of equipment they have available to include the likes of personal response systems, allowing lessons or lectures to be enlivened by classroom ‘votes’, and students to give instant feedback on all manner of topics and questions.
The attraction of much classroom technology for the pupils is obvious: anyone taking part in a lesson or lecture can make a contribution, while the more visual nature of the sessions which result make them far more likely to remain in the minds of those who are there to learn.
Interactive whiteboards are widely used to help bring to life material which appears on the page of a book, be it a text book or novel. And with conclusive evidence showing that youngsters get much more out of watching something happening, rather than simply reading about it, or even looking at pictures, it’s obvious why these devices are being used increasingly, right across the educational spectrum.
Just as computer technology has both grown up and become miniaturised, so too have interactive whiteboards. They can now be bought in a huge variety of sizes, from that of a tablet computer, to massive screens which are ideal for use in lecture theatre-type surroundings.
One of the great advantages of an interactive whiteboard and other similar technology is that they encourage groups of pupils or students to work together on a single task, not only improving their own knowledge, but also giving all participants valuable experience of collaborative team working.
The generations of children who came before interactive classroom displays might today be wondering how much different their education would have been had the technology been available. But they can relax in the knowledge that their own children are being taught in a different way, which both encourages them to get involved, and harnesses the most up-to-date display technology – resulting in more memorable lessons for everyone.