5 Technology Tools For Educators
Advances in classroom technology are making it easier than ever for educators to design engaging, interactive lesson plans, while also streamlining the administrative work that has become such a large part of their job. New types of technology are being utilized in the classroom every year. These five tools are some of the most popular.
Students have been using laptop computers in the classroom for decades, and some schools even furnish them to students. In recent years, tablets have begun to replace laptops for many classroom applications. Tablets are even more portable than laptops and are available at a wide range of price points. The intuitive touch screen design makes them accessible to students who may not have strong typing skills. There are thousands of apps available, including a growing library of educational apps. Most tablets can function as e-readers, so they can be used for reading eBook versions of textbooks and other classroom materials, which can save students from having to carry around heavy textbooks. Tablets are also ideal for distributing multi-media content, such as educational videos and games.
The Amazon Kindle is a specific brand of tablet produced and sold by Amazon. Their primary advantage is that most Kindle tablets are available at a lower price point than many of their competitors, making them an attractive option for schools that wish to furnish tablets to their students. Kindles are compatible with many of the same types of apps as other tablets but shine in their traditional function as an e-reader. Because they are connected to the Kindle library, educators can purchase and distribute books in a matter of minutes, rather than having to order traditional books and wait days or weeks for the books to arrive. Amazon also offers a variety of free books and other educational resources to educators, along with their textbook rental program.
The whiteboard has replaced the chalkboard in most educational settings. Interactive whiteboards upgrade this teaching tool from a one-way method of communication to an interactive tool that allows teachers and students to collaborate in real-time. Another advantage of the interactive whiteboard is that educators can pre-record lessons for use by substitutes. Most interactive whiteboard systems include lesson planning software and access to a library of educational tools. Some vendors offer packages that include teacher training.
Clickers are devices that resemble small remote controls. These tools, which can either be registered to specific students or left anonymous, allow teachers to ask multiple-choice questions or post polls and have students input their answers on the clicker. Rather than going around the room and getting answers from a few students, educators can gauge how well the entire class is understanding the material and use the submitted responses as part of their classroom participation grade if they choose.
With personal computers, laptops, tablets, smartphones, and other Internet-capable devices becoming a fixture in most classrooms, web-based educational tools have become a valuable asset. Some tools, such as Google Docs and online versions of word processing suites like Microsoft Office, were created primarily with business users in mind, but have become valuable resources for collaboration, document creation, and presentations in the classroom. Other tools, such as TeacherTube and Classmarker, were designed with educational use in mind. Web tools exist for everything from educational videos and games to lesson planning and test creation.
These five technology tools provide educators with more options for managing their administrative work and for creating an interactive learning environment. Best of all, many students and educators already have some experience with the technology, making the transition a relatively painless one.