New and emerging technologies are supporting today’s students and teachers in unprecedented ways. Here are a few ways this is happening in schools in local communities across the country.
• Communication Apps. New apps such as ClassDojo, are making it easier for teachers to actively communicate with students and parents. Teachers can send encouraging messages to students via the app and message with parents. What’s more, students can create digital portfolios to share at home with their families. With flexibility to access the app on tablets, phones, computers and smartboards, its versatility helps foster a learning community.
• Collaborative Math Resources. The textbook is no longer the sole resource math students can rely on to succeed. New software is making mathematics more accessible, interactive and personalized. For example, ClassPad.net, a one-stop shop for educators and students, helps students investigate mathematics more deeply and enhance their understanding of related concepts. Designed to be equally usable by keyboard/mouse and touchscreen-based platforms, this all-in-one web-based mathematics resource is geared for K-12 mathematics and beyond. Allowing for simultaneous work with calculations, graphing, geometry and data analysis/statistics, this tech helps teachers demonstrate things they can’t show in other ways, something 65 percent of educators said was important in a study conducted by PBS Learning Media.
• World “Travel.” While nothing will replace the excitement of a field trip, leaving school grounds can be time consuming and cost prohibitive. Luckily, no permission slip is required to travel the world from the comfort of the classroom. Today’s classrooms are using Google Earth to virtually visit the sites of a distant city or observe the topography of a mountain range. They can also access the collections and exhibitions of museums and libraries around the world online. And augmented reality is creating new opportunities to “visit” interesting locations and engage with their surroundings.
• Advanced Lesson Presentations. Remember the overhead projector in your classroom? Today’s teachers have more versatile options that can even be controlled from a smartphone or tablet. For example, Casio’s award-winning LampFree XJ-UT351WN Ultra Short Throw projector features two HDMI ports, a dust-resistant design and the ability to generate large images over very short projection distances, such as in classrooms. Even in very small classrooms, it can project an 80-inch from just 1.5 feet away. Schools looking to go green, save money or both will benefit from its hybrid Laser and LED light source, which eliminates the need for expensive and hazardous mercury lamps while delivering a 20,000-hour estimated operating life.
• 3-D Printers. Classrooms fortunate enough to have 3-D printers are able to give students endless hands-on opportunities to be creative, and teachers can use the printers to create needed classroom materials — from anatomical and architectural models to maps and musical instruments.
As classrooms adopt cutting edge technologies, students are being given exciting new methods of absorbing lessons in their school subjects.