Gone are the days of blackboards—and soon, maybe even the days of whiteboards! New technologies are transforming the learning environment from pre-schools to college, opening up new possibilities that past generations could never have expected. There are many learning technologies to utilize both inside and outside of the classroom, and these are the ones we’d advise you to consider:
- Personalized Learning Software
As every experienced teacher knows, differing student abilities can make it difficult to cater to the needs of every student in every lesson. Teachers are using computer-based learning software for subjects like mathematics, language learning, and touch-typing to provide content that moves at each student’s own pace.
An added advantage of learning software packages is that you can access the students’ profiles through an administrator account to view their progress and track it over time. You can view some of the top learning programs on BestConsumerReviews.com.
- Digital Portfolios
Children who possess strong abilities in written expression typically do well on pencil-and-paper tests. However, those who express themselves better in other ways (providing a verbal explanation or by using props) can more easily display their talents through a digital portfolio.
In contrast to a physical portfolio, a digital portfolio contains files created using recording technologies such as cameras, voice, and video recorders. These assessment tools take up less space, are great for jogging the teacher’s memory at report-writing time, and can be copied for students and their families at the end of the school year.
Ideas for Students’ Digital Portfolios
- Photographs of each student’s writing, drawing, and large projects such as sculptures
- Videos of the student singing, acting in a play, or participating in team sports
- Voice recordings of the student retelling a work of literature, giving a speech, or participating in a debate
- Screenshots of the student’s work on a desktop computer or tablet device
- Integrated Security Technology
Schools are investing in security camera technology that’s better at meeting the daily needs of their teachers and staff. While CCTV cameras have traditionally been the domain of school resource officers and security personnel, advances in remote viewing have put these tools in the hands of teachers and administrators.
With easy remote camera viewing technology, teachers and staff can view live or recorded footage from the cameras easily on computers or tablets. This has shown to be a powerful tool for teachers to resolve disputes and help keep the student body safe.
A new staple the modern classroom, smartboards are like a whiteboard, projector, tablet device, and television all in one. Operated wirelessly or connected to the teacher’s laptop via an HDMI cable, smartboards can be used in multiple ways:
- To show pre-prepared PowerPoint-type presentations of key learning content (with pictures and sound effects, please!)
- To play educational videos for the class
- To demonstrate a computer-based process that the students are to complete on their own computers
- As a touchscreen for interactive learning games
- As a whiteboard when you wish to save what you’ve written for later use
When the class is watching a video, consider dimming the lights for a cinema-like atmosphere that will draw the students into the subject matter. Otherwise, lighting the classroom with full-spectrum LED lights should minimize glare and allow the students to concentrate on the lesson at hand.
Safe and Appropriate Technology for a Happy School Community
Whichever kinds of learning technology teachers and staff decide to implement, its best to balance their use with real-world experiences that help students connect what they see on the screen with the people and places around them.
Safety is an even greater issue as technology progresses. It’s important for teachers to supervise the students who are using the internet and teach them how to recognize inappropriate content and phishing attempts. Another tip for safe and effective use of the internet is to connect your laptop and computers to the web via Ethernet rather than using a mobile or wireless connection.
Above all, teachers should inform and explain new technologies to their students’ parents and families so that they can support these innovative approaches to learning at home. They may even be experiencing these devices for the first time. Together, parents and teachers can enhance the learning experience of their students further than ever before.
About the Author
Aaron Smith is a tech writer and LA-based content strategist. He covers industry developments and in his free time, Aaron enjoys swimming, swing dancing, and sci-fi novels.