What a former college instructor really thinks…

Pyrotechnics: The Next Big Thing in Classroom Technology

Universities love to advertise their instructional technology resources.  In the flashy brochures they send out to high schoolers, the trumpet the educational benefits of the high-tech classrooms and computer labs they offer on campus.  All this technology is said to have an inherently positive effect on student learning.  Behind the scenes, it is said to increase student engagement and allow students to get more up-close-and-personal with the content they’re studying.

I couldn’t agree more.   Because more technology is always better, I think universities should go for the flashiest equipment possible… and that would be pyrotechnics.  The fire mimics the media students so often take in during their free time, so it’s obviously logical to incorporate that into the classroom; we should never expect students to expand their attention spans in the classroom.  And for instructors who have to teach at 8:00 AM, what else could possibly rouse students from their slumber more effectively than a raging inferno before their eyes?  Just imagine how many students the university could attract with a giant fireball on its advertisements.

Of course, there is more to teaching that grabbing the students’ attention.  I truly believe that pyrotechnics offer a way of understanding course material that no other teaching method can beat.  If your class is studying Dante’s Inferno, you could simulate the experience for them in the classroom.  (Okay, okay… I know that many students think sitting in class is like being in Hell.  This would just improve the experience.)  Pyrotechnics also can allow students to witness, first hand, the horrors of book burning that have taken place at various points in history.  Trust me, books will burn (intentionally or not) if you put pyrotechnics in a classroom building.

Pyrotechnics also have one additional advantage over other instructional technologies: they are cost-efficient.  If you use the method just once, you no longer have to pay for utilities or maintenance for that ash heap your class formerly took place in.  And then you can pass the savings on to students in the form of a tuition reduction.  See?  It really is a win-win situation for everyone.

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