It’s the 21st century, and modern educators can no longer ignore the impact of technology in the classroom. The rapid surge of edtech has led to more and more education professionals seeing its potential in UK classrooms, as eLearning Inside reports that 54% of teachers make an effort to use tech as an educational tool. When used correctly, tech innovations in the classroom can help teachers improve the learning process and keep students engaged.
With that in mind, here are some tips for using tech well:
1. Use an easy learning management system
Technology can empower teachers to easily work with students and keep track of each one’s progress. For instance, instructors can use the free tool Google Classroom to store lesson files, make announcements, and create assignments. It also lets teachers grade students and make comments on their work, which can be accessed anywhere, any time.
The use of online management tools exposes students to the online learning system, which many colleges and universities already offer. With prior experience like this, students can then easily transition to other learning management systems in higher education.
2. Introduce podcasts
The Tech Edvocate’s article on podcasts for educational purposes provides some valuable insights on why instructors should start using this particular medium. Podcasts are a great tool to supplement classroom lectures, especially for teachers who don’t have the gift of engaging students naturally, thereby making them zone out. In contrast, a well-made podcast is usually fast-paced and entertaining, easily capturing the listener’s attention.
Students can also be encouraged to make their own podcasts. A project like this can test their skills in research, writing, speaking, and editing. As for equipment, most smartphones can already serve as a recording tool.
3. Go on a virtual field trip
One department that will benefit greatly from technology is the history department. History teachers can use technology to take students on a field trip for a fraction of the cost. Teachers can lean on tools like Google Expeditions and Discovery Virtual Field Trips instead of expensive or logistically complicated field trips for destinations around the world.
While images in lesson materials or presentations can help students appreciate historical places, it’s still a different and empowering feeling to see them at present or have interactive experiences.
4. Encourage collaboration through social media
Social media isn’t just for connecting with people online, as certain platforms can also be used for collaborative educational activities. Google Docs, Slides, and Excel sites are free tools that students can use for collaboration, allowing different people to work on the same document, presentation, or spreadsheet together. The same can be said about a Facebook group or Twitter hashtag, which can be used to gather information from different sources. Ayima points to Pinterest’s new collaboration feature as another example, as it allows users to easily keep track of group board activities. In the classroom, students can share ideas through these boards, which serve as a visual aid to bring each student’s concepts to life. This activity feed is also accessible to all, so students can contribute, like, or comment on a topic board.
For more ideas on social media for learning, teachers can also refer to Eteach's ‘5 Unique Ways Schools can Use Social Media’.
5. Teach online etiquette
Online etiquette is a relevant topic in today’s society, where issues like cyber-bullying and even President Trump’s Twitter rants are rampant. By welcoming students into a safe, friendly online classroom environment, they can pick up lessons on how to behave responsibly on the Internet.
They can also be taught important precautions, like being mindful about sharing personal information online or posting hurtful comments they would never say in person. In the digital age, it’s important for these young learners to be formally taught these crucial things.