Mar 11, 2018
MakerSpaces, 3D printers, and virtual whiteboards may not be far off from joining tech like tablets and apps used in the classroom. Chances are your child is already using technology that was previously found only in science fiction, but what are they really using today and what’s around the corner?
Your child may already be using computers and tablets to complete their homework, but even newer forms of technology are entering the classroom and bringing about changes in education. According to a survey conducted by Edgenuity, “The vast majority of teachers (91%) agree with the following statement: “Technology provides a greater ability for teachers to tailor lessons and homework assignments to the individual needs of each student.” So what will classrooms of the future look like?
Technology in Widespread Use Today
Class websites are helping teachers to better share what’s happening in the classroom with parents and as a portal for students to turn in lessons. Students are learning to design and create websites and some English teachers are even asking students to write blogs for the class website using applications like EduBlog. One teacher’s use of digital tech is discussed in this HiClark blog.
Chances are you have at least one tablet at home, but today they are almost commonplace in the classroom as well. Students are using tablets for research on the internet, access to educational apps, digital textbooks, and writing papers with Word 365. There are a number of tablets available, but iPads, Google Nexus, or Amazon Kindle top the list. You can read more about tablets in this blog.
Apps like Dreambox are being used to effectively teach children math through age appropriate exercises. While other apps like Google Classroom and Remind are helping teachers send messages to students and parents as homework reminders or updates to assignments. Companies are developing apps at lightning speed, so you can expect to see the number of apps for student learning and communication increase in the near future.
Technology Expanding to More Schools
Confusion Buttons and iClickers
Echo360 is being used in classrooms to allow students to ask questions in real time during lectures so teachers can tell if a particular subject is causing difficulty, while the iClicker is a device used to take classroom quizzes. Using these devices allows teachers to see if students are following along, understanding what’s being taught, and if not, they can quickly take a different approach based on instant student feedback.
Imagine instead of a chalkboard or projector, a fully interactive whiteboard at the head of the classroom that connects to the teacher’s computer. In appearances interactive whiteboards look like a massive computer monitor, but they make it possible for teachers to share a multimedia presentation where both teachers and students can write directly on the touchscreen. You can read here on the Clark blog for more on virtual whiteboards.
Imagine an entire classroom table turning into a touch screen where students and teachers are able to collaborate on projects right on the screen. In Tacoma, smart tables are already being used. The educators explain in this video interview that they found huge improvements in student learning and social interaction.
3D Printers and MakerSpaces
EdTech reports that 3D printing arrived two years ago at William Penn Charter School, a private pre-K–12 school in Philadelphia, after a printer was loaned from a parent. William Penn science teacher Corey Kilban explained, “students were solving problems and then using the tool to develop and prototype the solutions.” The printers were so well received he says they “were able to convince the school to get a 3D printer of its own.’” To accompany 3D printers, companies like MakerBot are making K-12 lesson plans and MakerSpaces are popping up in classrooms. MakerSpace laser cutters and animation software, in addition to the printers, are being used to teach students innovation and how to think outside the box.
Up and Coming Technology
Yes, “HoloSkype” is coming. A recent New York Post story reports holograms are already being used on an experimental basis in schools in Australia. In the article, Pearson’s Global Director of Immersive Learning, Mark Christian, said the technology was completely changing the way everything from history to science to math could be taught. “Gaining access to actual artifacts from ancient civilizations is incredibly difficult,” he told news.com.au. “With this technology, we’re building a holographic box of artifacts that bring ancient objects to high school students. So instead of reading about ancient Chinese architecture or looking at a picture of a 3,000-year-old house, students can walk inside the house and experience for themselves what it was like to live inside one.”
Debates are currently raging over the ethics of bringing this cutting edge tech to the classroom, but it is a possibility. What is it and what does it do? Biometrics are typically used for security through iris pattern, voice, and fingerprint recognition. Some educators, however, are considering their application in the classroom. For example, eye-tracking devices can be used for monitoring a student’s response to the lesson. The devices could also be used to see if students are paying attention in order to track what learning methods work best.
Although technology can never replace the value of a teacher, bringing it into the classroom enables teachers to teach more effectively and creatively. Educators will be able to better personalize lesson plans and expose students to topics in many different ways thereby reinforcing what they are teaching. Imagine reading about the American revolution and then, through holograms, holding the flag made by Betsy Ross or Paul Revere’s lantern. Students will be able to work math problems on the chalkboard and then use the solutions to make a 3D building. The teaching possibilities will be endless - and for today’s students, that means a more engaging classroom experience.
What technology is being used in your classroom? What tech would you like to see used? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below!