Teens take a lot of heat for the amount of time they spend staring at their phones, but when it comes to effective learning, being buried in a screen might be more effective than being buried in a book. For example, by issuing a laptop to every student in 3rd through 12th grade, the Mooresville Graded School District in North Carolina increased the graduation rate from 80 percent to 91 percent over the course of three years.
Technology-enabled learning can streamline assigning, collecting, and grading work and help create a more personalized education experience. Here are the best software and hardware tools to bring your classrooms into the digital age.
Digital Classrooms Keep Students and Teachers Connected
Smartphone ownership among teenagers is growing—in 2018, 89 percent of teenagers had their own smartphone, compared to just 41 percent in 2012. When you add tablets to the mix, 95 percent of teens have access to a mobile device. And smartphones, texting, chatting, and social media may offer more positives than once thought. For example, 25 percent of teens report that social media makes them less lonely, compared to just 3 percent who say it makes them more lonely.
Educators can leverage students’ comfort with—and preference for—online communication to streamline classroom activities and create more personalized learning opportunities. Apps such as Google Classroom and Canvas provide integrated learning management platforms that allow teachers and students to access multiple digital learning tools in one place. Other apps, such as Klassroom and Seesaw help take the digital classroom home. With Seesaw students can create and post a portfolio of their best work to share with their parents any time. Teachers can also access the portfolios to demonstrate how students are meeting learning objectives.
The Right Tools for Digital Classroom Learning
Software is a big part of digital classrooms, but teachers also need to right hardware tools to facilitate effective digital classroom learning. Here are some solutions to consider.
- Digital whiteboards. Instead of drawing their best approximation of the solar system, digital whiteboards allow teachers to share photos, maps, charts, graphs, and videos to enhance their lessons or lectures. Digital whiteboards are also compatible with BYOD devices so students can connect and share what they’ve been working on in their own learning apps.
- Audio and video conferencing. Remote learning is becoming a mainstay of colleges and universities, but high schools and even some elementary schools are also turning to online learning options. Audio and video conferencing solutions can facilitate presentations from remote experts or virtual field trips to faraway places. And by combining hardware solutions such as microphones, speakers, and cameras with cloud-based software solutions such as Zoom or Slack, participants can share screens and content while communicating face-to-face.
- Flat panel displays. Millions of students are using education apps to create dynamic, high-quality work, and that work deserves to be shared on high-quality displays. Flat panel displays are thin and lightweight, so they don’t take up much valuable real estate in a classroom, and their high resolution helps enhance whatever content is being shared.
Meeting Your Education Technology Needs
With a wealth of software and hardware tools for digital classrooms, knowing what solution is best for the needs and budget of your school or university can be a challenge. Schedule a consultation with a ClarkPowell expert today to discuss your education technology needs.