THE BLOG

Why We Are on the Brink of a Classroom Revolution

15/05/2015 10:14 BST | Updated 13/05/2016 10:59 BST

Britain's schools are on the brink of a revolution that will see the death of the traditional classroom. Smartphones, iPads and tablets are going to massively change the way children will be taught in the future.

The days of classroom teaching are numbered. In its place a global classroom will develop, with students collaborating with experts anywhere in the world through mobile devices.

School textbooks will be replaced by continually developing, interactive, multi-media online teaching aids.

However, this raises new challenges. At the moment I believe many of our schools and teachers are failing to grasp the real benefits of mobile devices.

As a result, children aren't getting anywhere near the full value of their investment in technology.

But I think we are about to see a dramatic change, despite opposition in some quarters to the use of tablets and smartphone devices in teaching. It will change because we are starting to question the whole way we teach and learn.

Technology doesn't change anything. Simply giving every child in a school an iPad won't alter anything. It's the use of technology to enable new experiences that will make the difference.

At the moment too many schools are just giving students access to mobile technology and not using it to anywhere near its potential.

What's the point of giving someone a tablet, if they just use it to 'cut and paste'? That's low-level work that can be done on a PC. And what's mobile about that?

The fact is the technology we are now seeing developed, gives us the opportunity to rethink how children learn and how they are taught. And it means they can do much more.

To get to that stage we have to cast aside the old traditional model of everyone being in the same classroom, sharing the same space with the teacher at the front of the class, as the font of all knowledge.

Students need to be able to work outside the classroom environment. Once that happens, we will be able to exploit these technologies more fully.

We'll also see an education system developing that is in itself mobile and not classroom-bound.

Collecting and sharing information, collaborating on projects, challenging and discussing issues and interaction between the experts and the novices - that's what technology can bring.

In a project in Scotland I've been involved in, primary school pupils received a masterclass from an artist based in New Zealand, using Skype to discuss the work they had produced.

That's the road we need to go down in the future. Take textbooks: the book of the future is likely to be very different, online, interactive and growing constantly.

GPS functions will allow people to come together collectively to give feedback. People will be able to organise virtual reading clubs. These are the things technology will help to bring.

The work I am currently involved in is exploring how teachers of the future will need to be equipped to think, not only about the use of these devices as teaching and learning tools, but how they create a completely new global way of educating children.