Tech Talk: Tech in the Classroom
I can’t believe my youngest is graduating high school this year. Times have changed since he started school. While many traditional teaching methods are still used, technology is taking center stage today. Teachers, students and parents interact with each other virtually, and many educators are opting for online learning tools instead of traditional books and materials. After polling my Facebook community, below are just a few of the many online tools and apps currently being used in the classroom.
student information management
I remember when you had to wait for a report card to know how your child was doing in class. Now, most of us have online access to our children’s progress to the point of obsession. (And gone are the days of wondering if my son still has money in his lunch account!) Student management systems help with class scheduling and manage student attendance, faculty, and state compliance. Behind the scenes, they also offer the ability to communicate via email, voice calls and texts. I love these systems until I receive the 5 a.m. call and text that school has been cancelled due to inclement weather.
The latest trend is moving back-to-school paperwork to an online system so it’s easier for parents to complete. If your school doesn’t offer online tools and a mobile app for easy access to your student’s information, you’re missing out.
Google Classroom is dominating this arena for many reasons. The main one is it combines easily with Google’s email, calendar, document management and content creation tools. Teachers can create their own content, and students are learning valuable skills like how to use a spreadsheet, create a presentation or build their own website. Another system mentioned was ClassDojo, which allows teachers to communicate with students and parents in a fun, creative way.
There are many valuable resources available for teachers to enhance and expand their curriculum.
Prezi: Used by people in the business world to create interesting, eye-popping presentations, the app now is used in classrooms to help students do the same.
Animoto: Students can create videos for homework assignments.
Kahoots!: Teachers looking to capture the interest of gamers can use this to create homework assignments or a team game.
Mystery Science: Each interesting lesson explores a mystery through an engaging video and hands-on activity.
Discovery: Offers digital textbooks and streaming videos for educators
Epic!: Gives kids 12 and under a digital library with more than 35,000 different books
Many of these tools have a subscription or licensing fee, and fast Internet speed is required. Since privacy and security are top concerns with students, parents must be on top of what their child is doing, especially at home. If you aren’t a whiz at creating a presentation or video, just ask your 10-year-old.
Sheila Burkett is an information technology expert and CEO of Spry Digital, an interactive design agency delivering smart digital solutions. Follow Spry Digital on Twitter (@sprydigital), Facebook (facebook.com/sprydigital), Instagram (@sprydigital) or LinkedIn (linked.com/company/spry-digital-llc).