Using Old Technology in the Classroom
Traditional classes have the potential to be very boring, especially in primary and high school. Listening to a teacher droning on about names, dates, and events, solving math problems, having to look at that board all day… Even with the advent of “power point classrooms” – in the hands of the wrong teacher, even the greatest technology can lose its appeal. But, what about old technology?
One way to keep the class alive is to use recycled technological devices as a learning tool. The goal? Simple: discover. Take it apart, look inside, see how and what these contraptions are made of. It's taking the concept of reverse engineering, and implementing it in the classroom. This is a relatively easy concept to implement, providing that you can obtain some old pieces of electronics.
Remember that creating a safe classroom environment comes first, and that you should do anything and everything necessary for your students to come out unscathed for your classroom. Talk to them before hand, and make the time to discuss proper safety procedures and rules.
You can use anything! From old radios and stereos to personal computers and old video cassette records. Use whatever you can get your hands on. You can even ask the students' parents for donations of unwanted pieces of machinery, and get the ball rolling. Of course, it is important to remember that this electronic equipment needs to be dealt with, and not simply tossed out when you are through. Make sure you have a designated location or company to which you may return the items for further recycling or other use.
New kinds of classes, such as this reverse engineering one, inspire new thoughts and ideas. However, relevancy and context are just as important. Make sure to keep a connection going, and make an attempt to tie the class into any of the subjects which the students are being taught: math, writing, etc.
We are constantly looking for ways to open up our students' minds. Having this sort of classroom is fun, offers a change of pace from your everyday classes. Giving students the chance to explore on their own engages their mind, promotes critical thinking and self-reliance, and helps students stay sharp.