The Glog – A New Interactive Tool for Schools? Part I: General Background

The GLOG – a new interactive tool for schools?

An incredible development has been launched in the field of digital technology and it’s clear that the possibilities for sensible, practical applications in the classroom have been given a new horizon.  It was only ten years ago that IWBs were leading-edge technology, but I dare say they’ve already come to be known as tools from an ancient age. It is, of course, necessary to add that even such outdated technology is not becoming obsolete even though it is incredibly expensive for the majority of schools. When discussing interactive learning, the outside observer only sees the interactive whiteboard hanging on the wall, but the real education comes not from the hardware itself, but rather the software and its content.

The gist of education is not technological hardware, but schools are primarily in favour of purchasing it. It’s odd the way expensive interactive whiteboards are bought in schools and these firms can be quite maddening in their attempts to persuade the principal to only buy their own hardware. Schools are the focus of all dealers, be it good or bad, and it’s quite complicated for most teachers to find a proper solution in this situation. Interactive education is, in the teacher’s mind, mainly connected with whiteboard-on-board.  In an informal poll, 70% of teachers believed that, without board-on-board, it is practically impossible to use interactive objects directly for education.  This is a disturbing statistic.

Interactive education is primarily about the activity that takes place onscreen, not about the texture or ceramics from which the screen is made.

“Traditional interactive whiteboards present one serious problem: the licensing of authoring tools being restricted to specific hardware. This bundle is a real nightmare for a lot of educators and means that you are only free to use such software on screens from the same vendor.

Such bundling causes other problems in schools:

  • Teachers very rarely change from one technology to another, as his or her digital objects can’t be effectively converted for other types of boards.
  • New organizational problems arise when classes are changed, pupils run for IWB lessons,
  • Schools are then dependent on one type of technology and they become donors to industrial development.

In reality, thanks to the online community, we are able to share educational content very elegantly by virtue of various online tools that are accessible from all platforms such as Mac, Windows, Android, Bada and so on. Ideally, we reach toward a moment when the pupil will learn from educational content everywhere, from everything and at any time – at home, in the park, in school or at the swimming pool…nearly everywhere, if we are able to persuade him or her that it’s worth trying. In an age when a crucial attribute of recent times is social networking, this is not a surprise. Unfortunately, in the European Union, rarely can we find excellent examples showing real education for the 21st century.  One such rare example is eTwinning.

Schools, and classes themselves, have become impenetrable fortresses of conservatism and traditionalism which is only furthered by:

  • Low-level digital competency of teachers
  • Teachers’ unwillingness to learn new things and venture into areas where kids are naturally adept, because teens are able to adapt more easily and quickly than the majority of adults
  • The necessity to be “in”
  • Low-level language literacy in countries where English is a non-native language of teachers

It is also plain to see that, with ever-changing technology, methodology must change rapidly as well, and those changes will influence educators as well. We have to educate new teachers for the 21st century.

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