Classroom technology has become more affordable and accessible in the last few years. Many states are taking action to provide better technology for students and more technology training for teachers. An instructor’s comfort level with technology sets the tone for successfully using more advanced tech in the classroom. A Master of Education, Educational Technology Leadership degree can prepare you for teaching with technology. When students are highly engaged with technology, it can lead to more autonomous learning. The teacher then becomes less of a lecturer and more of a facilitator.
Learning with technology also gives students the opportunity to teach one other. While the possibilities for incorporating technology in the classroom are endless, here are some examples that are gaining popularity. Teachers will likely use these more and more over the next decade.
An interactive whiteboard or interactive touchscreen is a display, often with similar measurements to a traditional white board, connected to a computer and a projector. The computer can be manipulated with a finger or pen directly on the surface of the board. The interactive whiteboards may include accessories such as student response systems. Information from lectures and group brainstorming on interactive whiteboards can be saved and printed for further study. This method of teaching has been used frequently in Europe and is quickly growing in popularity in the United States. Many teachers have found interactive whiteboards to increase student participation, productivity and grades. When using such a complex tool, it’s important to remember to pace the content so students have enough time to analyze what is being presented to them.
Virtual Reality Headsets
Students can use VR headsets with specific apps; these headsets even work well with regular videos filmed by 360-degree cameras. While the cost of headsets used to be beyond some budgets, more affordable options have recently become available. VR can evoke emotional reactions in students, and in addition to enhancing learning, it can increase empathy. According to tech experts, VR changes the role of teaching from content delivery to content facilitation. Through a range of VR experiences, including virtual field trips and art and science explorations, students are engaging with new information rather than just being fed static material.
Advancements in 3D printing have been taking place for over 30 years, but 3D printers didn’t start becoming affordable until the last few years. Students can use 3D printing in the classroom to learn about art, history, math and science as well as critical thinking. Objects created with 3D printers also make effective study materials, and certain lessons become more accessible and easier to visualize than with 2D objects. 3D printing can help both visual and non-visual learners understand new concepts.
Listening to podcasts is a low-key use of technology compared to using interactive whiteboards, VR headsets and 3D printers, but it can still be an effective way to teach. Podcasts can supplement lessons in meaningful ways. For example, listening to an interview with an author of a book that students are reading can enhance their learning experience. It also encourages auditory learning. Having students write and record their own podcasts is a way for them to work on writing and speech in a fun way.
Educators should strive to make the use of technology in the classroom as seamless as possible. When using technology becomes second nature, students can better focus on the subject matter itself. Being tech savvy better prepares students of any age for the workplace and emphasizes the importance of problem-solving.
If teachers feel uncertain about how much or how soon to incorporate technology, they can add in more tech as a semester or school year progresses while continuing to use traditional forms of teaching. With technology playing a prominent role in our day-to-day lives, it is only natural for teachers to incorporate technological learning in the classroom.
Learn more about ULM’s M.Ed., Educational Technology Leadership online program.