SMART phones and tablets could make schools irrelevant within a couple years if teachers don’t change their lesson plans, according to a south-west principal.
More than 220 teachers, principals and learning staff gathered at Deakin University yesterday for a conference to map out the direction technology will take schools in and to “re-imagine” the way they use it.
For Woolsthorpe Primary School principal Simon Perry the choice is a relatively simple one — teachers will simply have to change with the times or risk losing the attention of students to the ever-present touch screen.
“The big message is that apps have changed everything — you can work everywhere,” Mr Perry said.
“We’ve got kids developing apps for learning and they’re doing it at school.
“I’m even rethinking whether we need a library or what resources we need.”
Workshops were held across the Warrnambool Deakin campus yesterday, offering teachers the chance to take up the latest technology and media tools. Surrounded by farmland, Woolsthorpe Primary School isn’t what you would imagine for a school pushing towards the digital frontiers.
As you walk through the office and hallways, large barcodes catch the eye. Scan them with a QR app on a smartphone and it will take you on a digital tour of the school — a program designed by the students.
“Schools won’t disappear but they will have to re-think how they deliver information,” Mr Perry said.
“It’s not about control any more. We’ve got to get outside this idea of the classroom.”
The partnership with Deakin University has even seen prep pupils upload their reading practice onto YouTube.
At Brauer College, English teacher Will King spent two terms with a year 7 class posing questions about the themes and characters in a number of computer games.
Mr King said today’s complex games had a place alongside literature.
“I think these days games pay more attention to narratives than ever before,” he said.
“It’s about trying to understand the lives of the characters within the game.”