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.
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.
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.