How different is your current classroom from the one in which you learned when you were a student?

My classroom is a lot different than the one I learned in as a student. My education was very mechanistic. In mechanistic education, “learning is treated as a series of steps to be mastered, as if students were being taught how to operate a machine or even, in some cases, as if the students themselves were machines being programmed to accomplish tasks” (Thomas & Brown, 2011). I remember doing math drills in first grade and we did them every week because it was important that I master my math facts. I also was drilled on vocabulary, spelling and punctuation. My students do a drill assessment once a quarter and it is only because it is required for the first grade math student learning objectives. I also remember the set-up of the classroom was very different. When I was a child our desks were always individual desks set up in rows, we never sat in desk groups, except in kindergarten. My classroom has desks set up in pods that sit six to eight students.

1980 Plato Computer

Technology is another way that my childhood classroom differs greatly from my current classroom. I went to school in the 1980s and we did not have technology in my classroom. I know in kindergarten we had tape players because I got in trouble for loudly singing along with the music while wearing my headphones and had to put my head down. (Apparently my teacher was not impressed with my six year old voice and found my singing to be disruptive.) I don’t remember having tape players in other grades, but I’m sure teachers had them. I also remember being allowed to go to the computer lab, which was just a large closet. We had really big computers and we only could play Oregon Trail or Word Munchers. We had to take turns using the computer because we did not have enough for everyone. “Public schools in the U.S. averaged about one computer for every 92 students in 1984. Currently, there is about one computer for every 4 students” (Dunn, 2011). In my current classroom, my students can use tape players, CD players, iPads, iPods, desktop computers, laptops, or the SmartBoard. There has been a lot of progress in the thirty years since I was an elementary student and I can’t help thinking about what the future holds. I know that I am introducing Chibitronics, which are lights that work with copper adhesive tape. I think one of the most exciting things that I have learned about is the 3D printer. “The 3D printer produces working mini-models to test out engineering design principles, so students can perfect their design before making an actual prototype. Together with CAD (computer-aided design) modeling software, 3D printing allows these students to experiment freely with their designs without expending considerable costs and time” (Poh, n.d.). Personally, I am excited to see what the future classroom will look like and I think it will be even more exciting for students to learn in the future.

References

Dunn, J. (2011, April 18). The Evolution of Classroom Technology. Retrieved September 17, 2015, from Edudemic: http://www.edudemic.com/classroom-technology/

Poh, M. (n.d.). 8 Technologies That Will Shape Future Classrooms. Retrieved September 18, 2015, from Hongkiat: http://www.hongkiat.com/blog/future-classroom-technologies/

Thomas, D., & Brown, J. (2011). A New Culture of Learning: Cultivating the Imagination for a World of Constant Change. Lexington: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform.

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6 thoughts on “How different is your current classroom from the one in which you learned when you were a student?

    • I think that was a nationwide average. I know that we don’t have one computer per every four students at my school. I have two classroom computers and I have twenty-four students. We have two laptop carts for the entire building and a computer lab. We did get a grant that will allow our first through third grade students to have 1-to-1 iPads starting next year.

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  1. My school has 1 computer per 8.5 students and we feel it 😦 That’s crazy – I can’t believe you had to put your head down for singing  That is so cool that you are doing Chibitronics circuits. I made LED throwies last week with my 2nd graders. They loved it. This week I am going to make little flashlights with the copper tape, popsicle stick, led, batteries and binder clips.

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    • I would love to hear more about your LED throwies. Were they hard? Did you have a template? Where do you get your LEDs and copper tape? It is so hard when you don’t have enough computers for students. My first graders get to go to the computer lab once a week for about a half hour. It is never enough. I will let you know how my Chibitronics work when we get to them. It won’t be for about another month.

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  2. Have you used Chibitronics in class yet? I would love to hear about how it is going. Where did you get the adhesive tape? online or in Fairbanks? I was thinking of doing something with LED’s and copper tape for Halloween. An ELP teacher I know uses LED’s and copper tape for making Christmas cards, I thought that was a neat idea.

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    • I have not used them yet, but I am getting excited. I think the unit will be closer to the end of October. I think we will make a Christmas card together as a class and then I will let them design and make something else using the rest of the stickers. I got the adhesive tape as part of my kit from Chibitronics, but I found out that there might be better tape to use, so I need to research that a little more. There are some really great ideas at instructables.com.

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