Over the years, technology has grown increasingly intertwined in education, from the implementation of computer and the internet into classrooms, to today’s growing trend of providing students with their own laptops or tablets to further aid their education. But with so many new technologies emerging all the time, where should you start? Here are four great trends to adopt and implement in your classes as soon as possible if you haven’t already done so.
Over the years, SmartBoards have become a staple in many schools, and with good reason. Their ability to combine a traditional overhead projector and add in a myriad of digital advantages — like saving written notes or being able to move ideas around while brainstorming — has revolutionized day-to-day classroom instruction. And due to the success of SmartBoards, a new generation of interactive projectors has emerged in their wake. Companies like LuminVision are now creating innovative, interactive floor projectors that allow students to connect with their lessons in completely new ways. These floor projectors are especially effective in preschool and lower-elementary classes, as students are able to develop their fine motor skills through interaction with the projections and are also easily engaged with the bright, colorful images that they provide. Teachers can find programs for these projectors in a wide variety of subjects, ranging from forest and oceanscapes for science lessons to virtual sports to help encourage and promote physical activity.
If your class or school has yet to implement cloud technology, this trend is the one you need now. The uses and benefits of the cloud truly are endless. Materials can be uploaded digitally and are easily shared with students, eliminating paper waste in the case of documents that would have otherwise been photocopied. When proper licensing rights are secured, students can receive e-books, eliminating strain on the school’s library and freeing teachers to assign books that they might have previously been unable to use in classrooms due to the associated costs of purchasing hard copies of books. And perhaps most importantly, the use of cloud technology to manage assignments allows students to digitally turn in projects, eliminating the possibilities of lost assignments or printer issues that have plagued teachers for years. Yes, no more “the dog ate my homework.”
These might not be anyone’s first guess when it comes to new educational technology that can be implemented in the classroom, but drones can provide a wide variety of educational opportunities for teachers who are willing to look past their reputation as hi-tech toys. Their obvious application is providing students with a hands-on introduction to aerodynamics or physics- however, they can be used in almost any field to give a modern, updated perspective that inspire conversations and challenges students to utilize critical thinking. Drones that are equipped with cameras can be used to survey the school and its surroundings, giving geography students a unique, real-world example of mapping and topography, while those same cameras can also give art and film students new shots that they were previously unable to obtain. Engineering students can work on programming drones or, at a more advanced level, build their own drones. And although the FAA has recently relaxed their regulations on drone usage in educational settings, the remaining legality issues surrounding drone flight among hobbyists and professionals can spark debate in a social science or government class.
While many classrooms have adopted tablets for students due to their low costs, portability, and e-reader functionality, many educators have yet to fully utilize their full range of versatility, which can be discovered with apps. Some teachers might be nervous to introduce powerful computation apps like WolframAlpha into their classrooms because of fear that students might rely on it as a basic calculator and hinder their need to gain an independent understanding of the material. However, when used as a companion to course material, it can ignite and encourage learning, rather than obscure it, due to its wide array of information and ability to answer almost any question imaginable. And even if your class might not need a computational app, there are a wide variety that are suited for every discipline, ranging from Bluefire, which lets readers organize and annotate e-books across platforms, to Adobe Spark Video, which allows for fast and easy animations and presentations.
Feature image courtesy of Flickr, Tech.Co.