‘All architecture is shelter, all great architecture is the design of space that contains, cuddles, exalts, or stimulates the persons in that space.’ Philip Johnson

Having just returned from our visit to the London Education Show and the BETT exhibition, where the world’s cutting edge educational technology is on display. An intriguing and eye-opening few days in more ways that one, however, the one element that really seized my attention, was the breach that existed between the high level tech that was on display, courtesy of the major technology companies from Silicone Valley, Japan and China – and what appeared to me to be a distinct deficiency in terms of the application of such hardware and software to students in the reality of the classroom.

VR application

I lost count of the times I asked how this impressive VR application (exploring space or the human body) would link to the curriculum, or more specifically a child’s understanding and learning in relation to being in a class of 15, while delivering discernible outcomes. The response was consistent and on each occasion disappointing: “I don’t know really”.

Despite this, we do live in an interconnected world, and, students will in time have ubiquitous access to quality, content and a myriad of ways to explore, study and interact. The technology is clearly out there, and if not yet perfect, it is developing at en expediential rate. This rings true in both the digital and physical learning environment.

A tool in the educational armoury

The truth of the matter is that the tech, regardless of how impressive or futuristic it is, is but one tool in the educational armoury. The classroom is often referred to as the third teacher, yet many schools continue to construct their facilities with traditional, and arguably, out-dated classrooms and resources. World famous educationalist Loris Malguzzi believes: “There are three teachers, adults, other children and their physical environment.” With this in mind, it is clear that there has to be a more strategic, multifaceted approach to providing a modern and holistic education to the generations of the future.

I am more convinced than ever, that the approach must be trilateral, and cooperative. From curriculum design and student outcomes, with a direct correlation to the design of the learning space (in terms of the marriage of the physical, technological and the theoretical) and most understandably, empowering teachers to use these tools through investment and training in them. The truth of the matter is, you could give me a highly advanced operating theatre and state of the art laser cutter, but I am sure that you would not want me to operate on you!

The conclusion writes itself, our children, our communities, modernity itself, deserve the birth of modern academic centres, built on traditions, constructed through communication, and delivered through the harmony of curriculum-based classrooms, guided by inspirational expert professionals.

Thanks for reading. For an interesting read and some short videos on the possible future of technology in education please see the link ➡ https://www.edsurge.com/news/2018-12-29-3-emerging-technologies-that-will-reshape-education-in-2019

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