Monday, November 2, 2009

Paperless Classroom? A Look at the Future with Dr. Strange

Katherine Duren, Alexandria Hayes and Belinda Flucker
Katherine Duren, Alexandria Hayes and Belinda Flucker interview Dr. John Strange about the classroom of the future. The starting question is What About A Paperless Classroom?

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1 comment:

  1. This was a very good conversation and one that has peaked my interest. I have always been an advocate for books; reading, writing, math are the fundamentals behind education and that will never change. I am one of the few in class people who do not own a cell phone or television, yet I have to say that it would be fairly easy to go to no paper in class systems and incorporating technology in all forms is an advantage to any classroom activity. The teacher will always be the main catalysis between the student and learning. Place a laptop in the hands of the student (you can buy one for as little as $209) and have the textbooks on them instead of the children "attempting" to carry a backpack with 30 lbs. of books inside. Buying pencils, erasers, paper, copy paper, ink, printers, maintenance, every single semester is extremely expensive to a school system and student. Textbooks could be uploaded for free or little cost and NEVER be lost, stolen, destroyed, or eaten by the dog. How much does it cost to buy a new textbook for math? For English? For Biology? For History? For Music? Mobile County purchases new books every six years county wide and has a massive team on "purchasing" that decides the content and textbooks. Couldn't they move to the 21st Century? The smartboard can be on every laptop for a $100. The classroom usually has a projector that allows the teacher to use the same software without buying the board. Meaning that every child can have smartboards and not just the teacher in the class for less than was paid for each classroom smartboard ($5,000.) That is 50 applications on a laptop. They also have a thing that looks like a watch strap with a USB on it and stores all the smartboard information that the child is working on in class so that they can take it home. That way, if the school does not wish the student to go home with the computer then the child still has access at home or in the library.
    Special Education accounts for almost 15% of students and uses a tremendous amount of cash from each budget. Dragon software allows children to speak to type, audio read, change font size, change background color, take notes, expand knowledge or clarity with links, and many more things. It cost less than $100 and if you have vision impaired, hearing impaired, dyslexia, DDS, Cerebral Palsy, English Learning, then it helps you by focusing on your ability and not empowering the disability of a student.
    Take a student from the inner city and put them in a first grade class in Barcelona to learn Spanish. Allow them to talk and connect with someone across the world and open the eyes and creativity of the student. Learn about sloths in the rainforest with video casts from students and lecturers at Harvard and see what happens. It is free, it is available, it is now.