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Teaching Via Tech: Digital Advancements in the Classroom

By The Room 241 Team January 10, 2013

Technology has revolutionized the world, and educational professionals are reaping the benefits. As new generations embrace technology with a voracious appetite, teachers are learning to use ubiquitous gadgets and websites to connect with students on a deeper level that resonate beyond the last school bell of the day.

Let’s take a look at some dynamic ways in which schools are embracing new technology.

Bring your own device

There is a corresponding need for devices that can support advancing classroom activities. Some schools are able to invest in classroom technologies like projectors and interactive whiteboards for the entire class to use, but other schools are looking to innovative ways to bring in technology without exceeding their budgets.

Ideas like the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) Movement are changing the way schools think about educational support tools. By allowing students to bring in their own smartphones and tablet devices for classroom use, or by providing a number of tablets and laptops for students to borrow on campus, schools can ease their spending on technology budgets.

  • Tablet computers: Easy to use and carry, tablet computers are revolutionizing the way technology is used in schools by replacing heavy textbooks that can be hard for some students to carry, and often quickly become outdated. Tablets, which can access everything from eBooks to Web pages, ensure that the latest ideas and discoveries can be included in lessons.
  • Smartphones: Packed with more computing power than large desktop PCs boasted a scant two decades ago, today’s smartphones can scan bar codes, translate languages, and help students do research with the touch of a few buttons. Some teachers are integrating smartphone technology into lesson plans, using educational apps, to help their students learn to read, write and do math.

Videoconferencing

One of the exciting trends in education is the adoption of videoconferencing technology. No longer is the technology limited to board rooms and government meetings, video conferences are now affordable and widely accessible to students and teachers. When instructors wish to bring in professional guest lecturers to the classroom, they no longer need to wrangle the funding for flights and hotels.

The options for video conferencing aren’t limited to guest lecturers.  Students can attend virtual lectures that feel just like those that students receive in the physical classroom. The options for video conferencing in education are virtually limitless.

  • Online learning: Interaction with a teacher is no longer limited to the physical classroom thanks to reliable video conferencing programs. Sophisticated web cameras and integrated chat software also allow an educator to extend his or her message far beyond an individual school by networking with other schools across town or even across the globe. Particularly well suited for lectures or live demonstrations, these teaching sessions can also be recorded and stored, allowing future students or those absent to experience the lesson in full.

Teacher availability

There is a growing demand for teachers to meet with students through digital correspondence. As the educational experience migrates further online, a greater option for teacher correspondence is important. Whether it’s by email, video chat, or instant message, teachers are delivering personalized assistance to students in new and time-efficient ways.

  • Social media: Unlike the comparatively static presence of a webpage, social media is a rich, living document for reference and presentations. News stories can be followed update-by-update and teaching moments are as easy to illustrate as typing in a hashtag on Twitter.
  • Internet collaboration tools: These collaborative tools include online chat rooms and live digital whiteboard websites that allow posting of multimedia to engage students. Even several years after the original lesson, the recorded collaborative efforts of students on subjects like classic literature can be used to promote discussion among future classes.

When it comes to adopting new technologies in the classroom, it’s always better to be on the front end of the trend rather than waiting for widespread adoption. Movements like bring your own device, videoconferencing, and greater teacher availability are all poised to help shape the future of educational technology and classroom structure.

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