The technological advances of recent times have revolutionized entertainment today, but they have been much slower to reach the world of education. More recently, developments in technology have begun to filter down to the classroom, enabling teachers to further immerse and inspire children in their school work, studying, and homework. The top five list below will get you well up to speed on the current advances in the part educational technology has to play.
- Whiteboard animations make difficult concepts easy and even fun to understand, harnessing the powerful tool that is a child's imagination to bring computer generated images to life. The wealth of high definition graphics and interactive animations now available can bring to reality something a child can never experience, such as the vastness of a galaxy or the beauty of a molecule. Innovative visuals displayed on interactive whiteboards are revolutionizing the way children see the world. These devices have taken on a bigger and bigger role in learning since their introduction to schools less than ten years ago, but have come under criticism from some teachers and parents. While most reviews are positive, some are concerned that this technology forces us into a rut of lecture style teaching, rather than a truly interactive classroom.
- Tablet Computers
Over the last few years, tablet computers have being introduced in schools across the nation with promising results. Teachers assert that students are more creative and responsive when enabled to integrate with their learning the kind of technology they are familiar with only for playing games. Parents agree that their children are more engaged with their learning when they have the chance to digitize their work and bring it home, and no doubt it won't be long before these devices become a more prominent feature of the classroom.
- Recording Equipment
Universities have been recording lectures for years, but some schools are seeing what happens when the teachers record the lessons they give. For reasons of child protection, it is often inadvisable to record the pupils as the lesson is taking place, but there is nothing to stop teachers recording their lessons and posting them online or on the school network. While some teachers and parents question the value of recorded lessons for younger children, secondary school pupils can get a lot of use from a recorded lesson. Enabling students to easily catch up on lessons they have missed will of course prove invaluable in education in the future, and many more schools will join in recording their lessons. Although this technique has been experimented with since the advent of recording equipment, the availability of cheap modern recording devices and fast data transfer will surely see this practice become more and more common in years to come.
- QR Codes
Invented in 1994 by the car company Toyota to keep track of components in their factories, nowadays you can't go for one day without seeing these innovative bar codes somewhere. With the appropriate QR code reader app on a phone or computer, you can scan the code to reveal a link to a website, or even a small block of text. Teachers are becoming excited by the possibility of using QR codes to enhance lessons, tagging worksheets with a QR code to encourage their students to find out more, or encouraging students to use software to compile their own factual QR codes to share with the class. These handy codes can open up a whole new world of information with the click of a button.
- Classroom Assessment Tools
When every student has a computer with internet access in their home, it becomes much easier to assess how effective your teaching has been. Providing simple online PowerPoint quizzes for homework allows a quick and easy way to investigate just how much information a child has retained from the day's lessons. These online exercises only become useful when a teacher can guarantee that every child has access to them, so although it hasn't reached its full potential just yet, these tools are predicted to make a big splash in the near future.
So whether you love technology or your hate it, it can't be denied that children are being expected to interact more and more with high educational technology on a daily basis. Students are having a much easier time using technology to support their education. Whether this is a step in the right direction, however, is up to you.
Byline: This article was written by Mike Webster who writes for one of London's top supply teaching agencies, World Class Teachers.