As we make new technological leaps every year, the way we complete tasks that were done the same way for decades is suddenly changing. One area where progress is happening at a particularly fast rate is in the classroom, and the great news is you don’t need to be worried about what these changes will mean for you and your classes.
Modern teaching technology is making our educators more capable of getting their lessons across to children and helping to raise a generation that is smarter and better educated by the time they leave school than any generation before them. If you’re an educator, here are the top technologies you should consider adding to your classes if you’re not already using them.
Smartboards Make Instruction Dynamic
The way teachers write in front of their classes underwent a small technological jump late in the 20th century with the spreading of whiteboards, which were easier and clearer to write on than traditional chalkboards, but the new technology schools are turning to is smartboards. With a smartboard, a large digital screen is used for showing lessons to the class.
Not only does this allow you to incorporate graphics or pre-generate multiple slides to use on the board for more detailed and engaging content, but for schools with integrated technology programs for the students you can allow students to contribute to the board from their own devices, making class participation easier.
Tablets and Chromebooks Help Students Learn
For teachers who grew up before the widespread use of tablets, laptops and smartphones, it may seem crazy to walk into a classroom and see a computer or tablet open on every desk, but many schools are turning to this strategy. Whether it’s through tablets or inexpensive laptops like Chromebooks, digital training tools can significantly improve students learning.
In addition to making it easy to share information with the class in a digital format, using a laptop for note-taking makes it easier for children to keep organized notes and supplement them with additional information as you can easily move information around or edit it on a computer, unlike handwritten notes.
Online Education Videos Supplement Teaching
One of the drawbacks that teachers face is that they can only help a student while they are in school. As much as many teachers would love to be able to answer every question their students have, it’s not a realistic option. With modern online educational aids, however, that doesn’t mean that students are out of luck when they are out of school. Online resources like the Khan Academy offer students the opportunity to watch videos that teach concepts in an engaging and informative way.
While it’s possible to use these programs as their own education program for adults looking to relearn old concepts or develop new skills, they are also excellent tools for current students. When a child is struggling with an assignment and doesn’t understand their books, online videos can provide the help they need to learn and complete their work.
Google Drive Keeps Classes Connected
The biggest benefit of technology for the classroom is the ease with which teachers and students can all share files. Not only does a shared Google Drive folder allow a teacher to provide resources for their students, but it also allows students to share study aids and tools with each other. This collaborative working allows every student to benefit.
As part of the Google Drive suite, students and teachers gain access to online representations of the Microsoft Office suite, which means students can create spreadsheets and write documents, just to name a couple of options, which are automatically saved as they go and stored online. The teacher or groupmates can then open the file once shared and put notes or edits directly on the work, allowing for easy cooperation.
Focused Tube Sites Provide Resources
Although YouTube is itself a valuable resource for students and teachers alike, there are also options available that are designed to specifically cater to the needs of students or teachers. SchoolTube provides a safe setting for students to upload their own videos ranging from school projects to coverage of school activities or important announcements. TeacherTube is an online resource of educational videos that teachers can easily incorporate into their lesson plans. By providing access to these tailored sites, the online experience of teachers and students is curated to provide maximum educational value.
Contact Lists Keep Everyone Informed
While phone lists were once the chosen method of spreading information about upcoming school events or school closings and cancelations, today we mostly use our phones for text communications. While texting is often the most effective way to quickly convey a message to students or parents, teachers are understandably averse to giving their personal phone number out.
School contacting apps like Remind provide the solution to this problem. With a contact app, students and parents opt into receiving alerts from a teacher, which come through from a text number owned by the app or come directly through the app. On the teacher’s side, they can easily sort opt-ins into groups, such as by class or separating students and parents. When they need to send information out, either to a specific person or as a mass message, the teacher just sends it through the app and gets the message out without having to give out their personal number.
Online Lecture Series Let Teachers Share Their Knowledge
Your ability to benefit as a teacher doesn’t end with your ability to better serve the children already in your classes. With services like LectureShare, it’s easy for teachers to upload videos of their lectures online and organize them into structured courses. Not only does this provide a useful tool for their students who miss class, as they can still watch the day’s lesson to avoid falling behind, but the course can also even be followed by students not enrolled in the class allowing the teacher to expand their educational reach and increase the number of minds they help develop.
The world is changing technologically but that doesn’t have to be a bad thing. When you incorporate these technologies into your education repertoire not only do they make your life easier, but they make your lessons more effective. When you teach with modern technology, everybody wins.