Using the Latest Technology to Enhance Student Learning
COMPUTERS• For a while we have had the opportunity to use computers in our classrooms. With updated software and new programs, teachers can introduce a topic and allow the students to explore – on their own – more about a topic they enjoy.
Laptops• Computers are great, but they are stationary. Once you hook them up, its hard to move them. With the invention of the laptop, teachers can have more students on computers or even work in groups around the room.
Document Cameras• Teachers have used overhead projectors for as long as I can remember. Problems with this device is that you have to have an overhead sheet or roll, markers (which rub off onto your hand), and you can’t throw put a book on it for kids to see the pictures. With a Document Camera, you can place any type of document under the camera and it will project up onto the screen.
Still/Video Cameras• Most kids are visual learners and many kids will forget what you said five minutes ago. With still and video cameras, you can take pictures and video of a lesson or topic you are discussing and later you can refer back to that to jog their memory. These are especially useful when used with Wikis and Web sites (see slide 8).
SmartBoard• We learn best when we do something. Somebody can tell you a piece of information, but 85% of the time, you’ll forget it. If we use our hands to learn, we are 85% likely to retain that information. Unfortunately, we cannot always get and use the materials necessary. SmartBoards allow us to use our hands to manipulate digital pieces of information therefore increasing the chances of knowledge retention.
Handheld Devices• These include tablet PCs and cell phones. We live in a digital age and many students have grown up not knowing life without a cell phone or computer. It only makes sense that we allow them to use the tools they are comfortable with to do and show their knowledge. Many campuses and even districts have implemented programs to allow students to bring their own devices to class to use for educational purposes.
Wikis/Web sites• Learning should not stop when the student leaves the building. Otherwise, they would forget most of what you talked about the previous day. By using wikis and Web sites, students can go online (which more than likely they already are) and research or share information they are passionate about. This also is a great way for parents to see what the students are learning in class and they can ask their child about the topic, reinforcing lessons learned at school.
Summary• There are conflicting reports on whether the use of technology in the classroom is helpful. The split seems to mainly be generational, where the older generation is used to the way things have always been done and resists the change. Kids are growing up knowing this digital language and by allowing them to learn how they are comfortable will only enhance their willingness to learn.
Extra Reading• apple.com.• Richtel, M. (2011, September 4). New York Times. Retrieved June 17, 2012, from nytimes.com.• Subramanian, C. (2012, February 22). Time Techland. Retrieved from Time Magazine.