Technology: Bettering the Way We Learn

Technology is shaping the way we teach and learn today. The Internet has made strides in sharing information: easing research and increasing resources exponentially, distributing coursework, and enhancing communicating outside of the classroom. Fundamentally, what new solutions can technology bring to the traditional classroom? For instance, how can distance learning bring subject matter to the class, such as Chinese, that are not now available? How can technology help bring foreign languages, such as French, German and Italian, back into the classroom where they are starting to see a decline in both funding and broad student interest, but some students still want to participate?

We have embraced the opportunities the Internet provides us and adapted it to our education system. However, it is time to adopt the new technologies available and use them to our benefit in the classroom environment. The Consortium of School Networking (CoSN) researches these new technologies and finds ways to best integrate them into the K-12 learning system. In a recent report entitled “The New Media Consortium”, CoSN created a time-to-adoption horizon:

One Year or Less:

  • Collaborative environments: virtual environments where students and teachers can communicate, share, and work together
    • From simple tools to full-fledged classroom environments in both the flat web and the 3D world of virtual environments
  • Online communication tools: more ways for users to work anytime and anywhere; keeping in touch on a more extensive basis than ever before
    • Desktop videoconferencing, instant messaging services, microblogging platforms

Two to Three Years:

  • Mobile devices
  • Cloud computing

Four to Five Years:

  • Smart objects
  • The personal web

Today, we must shift our focus and utilize these technologies in the one year or less category to better our school systems. Learning should not be confined inside the walls of the classroom, but should continue when children go home.  Collaborative environments and online communication tools are the optimum way for students to contact their instructors and peers and maybe even have fun doing it.  Wouldn’t school have been more fun and engaging if we met our class in a virtual environment conducive to what we were studying that day? What if, when we learned about the Roman Coliseum, we got to tour it on a virtual field trip? What if, when we needed help on our math homework, our teacher was just an instant message away or video chat away?

Back to the idea of bringing subjects into school that are not currently available. What if you could learn Chinese, the hottest language trend, using these interactive and fun new technologies? myChinese360 embraces these technologies to do just that. Whether it is videoconferencing with your teacher and classmates, taking field trips to the Great Wall of China in a safe, fun virtual world or receiving extra help with a live, online tutor, you will learn Chinese from your school or bedroom.

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