Technology in the classroom has come a long way from the early days, transitioning from overhead projectors to VCRs to iPads and sophisticated virtual learning environments. It's necessary to adapt classroom furniture continually to bend these new tools to our will to help us achieve our goals in the teaching profession. We implement new hardware on a fairly regular basis these days in many educational settings, from K-12 school classrooms to university labs and lecture halls to corporate training centers. New software, including many free apps, are pulled into the classroom even more often.
Although it can be hard to keep up with all this innovation, technology in the classroom provides instructors today with more high-tech learning tools than ever. They can choose technological advances that will maximize productivity and help with administrative tasks or lesson planning, those that can increase communication between student and teacher and those that can provide new experiences in the classroom. Audio and video recording devices, combined with computers, software and Internet access are transforming the meaning of education in imaginative ways. Here are some basic ingredients that can be combined into recipes for success in the new digital classroom:
- Class website: Creating a website can be a wonderful collaboration and group-learning project. Students will be exposed to developing various formats of content from writing to photo and image selection, to design and layout basics and more. When completed, the site can serve as a communication hub. Instructors can post exam schedules, lesson outlines, project instructions and more. A feedback section for any aspect of the learning experience can be set up on the site, with questions/polls or comments about recent class trips or assignments and suggestions on how to make them better.
- Student, teacher and/or class blogs: In a blog format, students can express themselves in an online journal, save research in progress, discuss/document progress on a class entry in a science fair or class bonding project, such as caring for a class pet, and more.
- Podcasting or video creation: There are many uses for this flexible audio-visual medium. Schools are using these for student debates, oral reports, public speaking assignments or practice, school plays and more. Besides drama and speech, music classes can make use of these communication outlets. Almost any subject or interest, including math, science, engineering, chemistry or accounting will lend itself to a podcast or video blog.
- Video conferencing: Skype provides the next best thing to being there, for instance, if students and teachers are separated for a time or if a travel budget for the school debate team doesn't exist. Spread the communications net wider and collaborate on class projects or presentations across international lines.
- Collaborative storytelling: This is a type of group creative writing or digital storytelling, with one one writer beginning a story and others adding to it, branching off and evolving the direction of the story. Teachers can use this as a class writing project or create teacher/student interaction.
New ingredients, like the above high-tech hardware, software and online tools, are being added to the classroom recipe file daily. Successful integration of technology in the classroom provides new learning opportunities and a wider field for collaboration and teamwork and also recharges the classroom and helps make learning more fun.
To help energize and organize your students' learning environment, look for classroom furniture that seamlessly merges with new technology tools. Visit the Nova Solutions website for the latest furnishing solutions for your school or training center. Questions? Just contact your local representative.