Choosing technology tools for the classroom can create a massive headache. From choosing the best AV equipment to deciding what headphones work best for student testing, the world of EdTech has expanded to labyrinthine proportions.
However, all classrooms eventually need an upgrade. A classroom which looks and feels as though it still exists in the 1970s is ill-equipped to prepare students for the technological tomorrow. Embracing technology is no longer a cutting-edge line of thinking. It’s a requirement if students are to achieve the competency and training, they will need in their careers.
3 Classroom Technology Tools for 2019
That said, classroom technology upgrades need not be extensive. While it may not be desirable or even helpful to outfit a classroom with the latest VR technology, here are a few upgrades which all classrooms should embrace in 2019.
1. Get comfortable with the presence of technology.
Technology in the classroom is here to stay, whether the institution or the student provides it. As early as 2015, the education materials company, Pearson noted that as much as 78 percent of elementary school students were using mobile devices like tablets for educational purposes. Likewise, young students wanted and expected such devices as a part of the curriculum.
A separate study targeting college students found such notions echoed. College students recognized devices such as smartphones, tablets, and laptops as valuable classroom technology tools even if the educators didn’t agree. This represents a major divide between what educators provide and what students expect.
Despite the fact that 77 percent of all careers require technological skills, k-12 teachers largely remain skittish about the presence and use of technology in the classroom. However, the reality of the role of tech in the world makes ignoring this blind spot counterproductive. In 2019, educators need to embrace the presence of technology in the classroom.
Consider implementing the following ideas to create a space for technology in the curriculum:
- Introduce an electronics policy so students understand exactly when and where they may use their own devices or school devices.
- Take advantage of the surge of educational apps to augment your lessons and encourage further exploration.
- Utilize online tools during lectures so students can follow along.
- Teach digital literacy to help students understand the role of technology and how best to interact with it.
2. High-impact, low-tech solutions support tech transitions.
With many classrooms generally failing to meet student expectations in the technology area, schools are looking for ways to update teaching spaces. However, transforming a classroom from 1979 to 2019 poses more challenges than merely requiring costly tech investments. Technology also changes the way teachers teach and produces a culture shift in classrooms.
Additionally, funding cuts continue to force schools to operate on shoestring budgets, making massive technology investments impossible as they are impractical. Therefore, consider smaller technological tweaks which work with the space, rather than solutions which require a full classroom renovation.
Minor or low-tech tweaks to the classroom space can have a huge impact on the way students engage with the material. For example, a school dealing with increased class sizes may wish to invest in larger projectors and microphones to ensure all students can hear the professor. It may also look into classroom furniture such as movable desks to encourage group work.
Such an approach provides two major advantages for schools and teachers. First, it puts the ability to decide what technology is appropriate into the hands of the teacher who uses that space. Second, it allows for the possibility of introducing critical technology infrastructure in other spaces as needed.
3. Leverage technology for student management.
Classroom technology tools exist to benefit more than simply students. Technology makes classroom management easier for educators as well.
Many teachers are already familiar with online tools such as Turn It In, DropBox or plagiarism detectors. These tools help track student work. However, technology assists in managing students on a day-to-day level as well.
The ubiquity of tablets and iPads, for example, has also come with numerous apps for educators to keep track of what goes on in their classroom. Likewise, technology can automate many other time-consuming tasks such as attendance or making sure everyone has a copy of necessary materials. Therefore, an excellent first step for upgrading a classroom may involve introducing technology which helps a teacher accomplish his or her job.
Classroom Technology Tools for 2019
Integrating technology in the classroom brings about a major benefit evident in all three reasons: it helps to redefine the education process as an interactive one.
Pearson found that it was already commonplace in 2015 for students to own a smartphone if not also a laptop and a tablet. Savvy educators can upgrade their classrooms in a way which leverages the technological richness of the average student.
Not sure where to start? Contact one of our technology experts to discuss your needs today.