A different kind of classroom

2011-03-09 09:59

Having trouble finding an answer for that tricky maths problem? Just YouTube it.

This is the changing face of classrooms worldwide, where students make use of new media technologies like YouTube, Twitter, iPads and smartphones.

In a recent survey done by Cisco, a multinational corporation that designs and sells electronic technology, it was found that students are demanding to be taught in new and different ways.

The survey was done in Mexico, Brazil, Saudi Arabia, Europe and Africa.

Today, course material and libraries are not the only sources of information that students make use of. There is a rise in “user-generated content” such as blogs and Tweets being used both in and out of classrooms.

“The model of physically having a teacher in a classroom will always be there but the idea around it is certainly changing,” said Frank Florence, head of Cisco public-sector marketing.

In the changing classroom, everyone can “access the content and be a content creator thereby allowing more content sharing,” said Varghese Matthew, Cisco’s account manager.

“The problem of not having enough libraries can be remedied by increasing people’s access to the world’s biggest library – the internet,” he added.

South Africa is still catching up with more developed nations in terms of general computer access, but at least there is access here, unlike many other developing countries.

The costs of upgrading technological infrastructure were identified as being the highest in Africa, the Middle East and Europe.

Teacher training and professional development also remain a problem because “very few teachers are willing to adapt to new technology and the new teaching methods,” said Florence.

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