Modern technology has been enhancing classrooms around the world for over half a century now. It started with videotapes in the 1950s. Well over half of the population identifies as visual learners, and this new technology that allowed students to be able to view firsthand what they were learning about was revolutionary at the time. Soon after came the photocopier, allowing for the creation of worksheets and packets in bulk to be distributed in classrooms. Next was the handheld calculator, ridding the need of large, bulky computers in order to perform complicated mathematics calculations. Later on came two very heavy hitters: the World Wide Web and the personal computer.
The internet and the computer combined became an unbelievably powerful tool for teachers and students everywhere. Classrooms are able to connect to other classrooms on the other side of the world. Students are able to video chat and participate in activities with students that a decade prior they would not have even been able to think of meeting in their lifetimes. These technological advances allow for teams across the globe to collaborate on solutions for world problems in a way never before thought possible.
Today, an overwhelming majority of assignments and essays in classes are turned in using online educational services such as Google Classroom, Canvas, and Blackboard. This allows for teachers to receive and provide feedback to papers even while not in the classroom. Students can submit papers, have them be edited by their professor or teacher any time they are free for even a couple of minutes, and receive their feedback all in the course of a single day, whereas before the papers would need to be submitted in person, looked over at the professor’s time, then handed back over the course of the next few days.
Cloud services such as Google Docs and Microsoft OneDrive allow for students to collaborate with their peers and receive comments from their teachers in real time. Hosting services similar to YouTube and Vimeo allow teachers to assign video lessons for students to work on at home. By having students be taught lessons before coming to class, it allows the precious and limited class time to be devoted to questions the students may have, or diving deeper into topics and reinforcing them rather than teaching them for the first time.
These new technologies advocate for the more trivial and “time wastes” of school and college to be eliminated, and many do so very effectively. This removal of these time wastes allows for students to focus on the more important part of school: learning new things and growing as a student and as a person. One time waster that we at SmartPass are currently tackling is the awfully dated hall pass.
The current hall pass system is easily exploitable and fooled, not to mention inconvenient. Students may write incorrect dates and times and even forge initials. On top of this, teachers do not know for sure where their students are or exactly how long they have been out of the classroom for. This is where SmartPass comes into play. SmartPass allows for students to check out of and into class using their smartphones or computers. It also allows for teachers and administrators to have a real time overview of students currently in the hallways which, unlike classrooms, is not where learning takes place. This can be utilized in things such as parent-teacher conferences to identify possible explanations for academic performance. SmartPass also simplifies school procedures in an emergency. Administrators can quickly and easily check for any students not currently in a classroom, inform the necessary teachers, and locate the students in an emergency, ensuring they are safe or in a safe location. This future of technology in classrooms is looking to be very bright, and a digital hall pass system is one of the first steps toward a smarter classroom.