FROM CHALK TO TOUCHSCREEN: THE TRANSFORMATION OF CLASSROOM TEACHING

The settings of classrooms have changed in the past few decades from having a group of students sitting on the ground in a semi-circle around their teacher, to students sitting in or¬ganised desks while the teacher writes the les¬sons on a black or whiteboard, to having the teacher present interactive teaching materials on a projector reaching the virtual setting of a classroom, where neither students nor teacher present physically in the same place. However, despite the shift from the traditional classroom setting the full ability to communicate is still available. This rapid development in technol¬ogy and its implications for learning and teach¬ing methods in education bring to mind the time where carrying electronic devices in the classroom, such as phones or computers, was considered a reproachable offence.

There is no field of knowledge that has not ben¬efited from technology. However, subjects like science, engineering and mathematics have gained the most focus of technology develop¬ers and have brought the most benefits to the education process. One of the very important contributions made by technology in this pro¬cess is the ‘simulation’ software through which students can experience real life activities while being inside their classrooms. Several advan¬tages can be attributed to this including much lower costs and eliminated risk while getting exactly the same skills and expertise gained by those who experience the real life events with the same excitement. This has significantly been helpful in fields like astronomy, construc¬tion, aviation and medicine.

Another invention that makes the learning pro¬cess easy is the ‘interactive whiteboard’. This is an instructional tool that allows computer images to be displayed on to a board using a digital projector. The instructor can then ma¬nipulate the elements on the board by using his finger as a mouse, directly on the screen. Items can be dragged, clicked and copied and the lecturer can handwrite notes, which can be transformed into text and saved. Despite their relatively high cost, interactive whiteboards are a source of excitement to students as well as teachers. The benefits of having technology in the classrooms greatly enhance the learning process. It also impacts the future life of stu¬dents.

Since most corporations attempt to use tech¬nology to drive innovativeness and improve performance, students from technologically enhanced classrooms become highly qualified job candidates. If they were not equipped with the necessary skills and knowledge, today’s stu¬dents (future workforce) would not be able to step up to the challenge or keep up with the rapid transformations.

While technology and its applications are ap¬pealing to students, who are increasingly becoming digitally literate, they have been regarded as a challenge to teachers who proba¬bly have basic or no knowledge on how to deal with the rapidly growing technology. But they have not tried to excuse themselves. Rather, they put forth the effort to develop their skills which are required to be used while delivering teaching materials using technology. Embed¬ding technology in the classrooms is increas¬ingly accepted nowadays, that is, the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) approach is widely used by different educational institutions at various levels.