Previously we explored how introducing technology to the classroom can have a wealth of benefits for students, but this time we will look at it from the teacher’s point of view.
The Benefits to a Teacher having a digital technology based classroom will mean:
- You have less stacks of paper
Who is going to miss bringing home 30 essays or tests to grade?
- It is (generally) easier to keep track of student work.
Blackboard.com and it's recently launched Mosaic records and tracks the progress of students enabling monitoring of statistics, course reports and the performance of students at all levels.
Planboard Lesson plans can be planned and tracked using this app and website. No more flicking through folders just to see what you have planned for the day.
Teacherkit allows for tracking students attendance and participation.
iMpact is another app that contains seating plan functionality and also tracks attendance and participation.
- “The dog ate my homework” isn’t a viable excuse anymore
It’s easier than ever before to keep track of homework, assignments and projects.
- Note Taking needs to take a new form
Whether it be taking notes through a tablet or desktop, note taking in a digital classroom is fundamentally important. Luckily, tablets come with in-built notepads, and many even have styluses for drawing pictures and graphs etc.
- You need another method of sharing work that doesn’t involve handing papers from one person to another.
Dropbox: Many teachers are using this file sharing service to hand in and disperse assignments and course material. Students can access Dropbox from a desktop or Google play/app Store application or the website.
Onedrive is Microsoft’s product and you get 7GB of space for free. It integrates exceptionally well if you’re an Microsoft Office user.
Edmodo is serving a similar purpose (file sharing), uses a similar interface to Facebook, and aims to capitalise on a familiar interface to help classroom communication.
Pinterest, a free website where people can collect pictures, videos, blocks of text etc. and pin them to their “board” in any fashion they like is also is seeing great use in the education sector, as teachers are discovering how useful it can be: Students and other teachers can comment, like and “repin” anything they might want add to their own board. This can help bring the digital classroom into a new dimension of sharing.
The findings of numerous experiments with tablets in schools have provided valuable data on the benefits and pitfalls of implementing such technology:
- Certain potential difficulties can be created, in terms of getting the students to focus, the cost of the equipment and the need for staff training.
- Tablets are a simple, digital tool that is immediately operational and has a range of functionalities (e.g. camera, video camera, word processing, document viewing, internet connection and much more)
- A new incentive for learning scientific and IT skills has been created.
- While iPads are often seen as a luxury, their implementation actually decreased costs for students and schools because they reduced and sometimes eliminated the need for physical textbooks.
- Tablets enhanced the learning experience of the course
- A radical and revolutionary plan is taking place in Holland to educate children with iPads only. There will be no blackboards or schedules. Children will come and go as they please!!! Teachers oversee classwork but rarely actually direct them !!! Students learn the basics, at their own pace, from their iPads and interactive learning apps.
Is this the end of the classroom? Click here to read more.
Clearly the switch to a technology based classroom is a big change, but there are significant benefits as illustrated above. The most important thing for teachers is to find a unique teaching approach and to utilise the technology creatively. Teachers will need to sharpen their IT skills to keep up with rapidly expanding new technologies. Every day there are more and more different programmes, websites and apps that can work wonders in the classroom: It’s up to the teachers to find the ones best suited to their classroom’s individual needs.