Tech­nol­o­gy has com­plete­ly trans­formed every­day life, from the way we keep in touch with friends and fam­i­ly to the way we shop for clothes or order din­ner. With each tech­no­log­i­cal advance­ment our world gets more effi­cient and more indi­vid­u­al­ized to our spe­cif­ic needs and pref­er­ences. This is the world the chil­dren of today have been born into.

It’s nat­ur­al, then, that many kids are strug­gling to fit into the tra­di­tion­al learn­ing mod­el. The expe­ri­ence of being in a tra­di­tion­al classroom—sitting still at a desk for hours, rais­ing a hand to share an opin­ion, and going at the same pace as every­one else—is at odds with the almost con­stant stim­u­la­tion and fast pace of a tech­no­log­i­cal­ly-advanced world. The typ­i­cal school day, for some kids, is almost unbear­ably rigid.

 

Close-up of distracted student leaning on desk and looking away in classroom of elementary school

This distractibility is compounded in students, who haven’t yet mastered the ability to keep school and home life separate and rarely get adequate sleep on school nights.”

Incor­po­rat­ing even a few edu­ca­tion­al tech­nol­o­gy devices in the class­room can help accli­mate today’s stu­dents to the learn­ing envi­ron­ment. With class­room tech­nol­o­gy, teach­ers can lev­el the play­ing field for stu­dents with dif­fer­ent learn­ing styles, make project work more effi­cient, increase over­all stu­dent engage­ment, and accom­mo­date stu­dents with dis­abil­i­ties.

1. Making learning more individualized.

One of the great­est advan­tages of edu­ca­tion­al tech­nol­o­gy is the abil­i­ty to cater to mul­ti­ple learn­ing styles at the same time. Every kind of stu­dent, from cre­atives to prob­lem solvers and visu­al to kines­thet­ic learn­ers, can ben­e­fit from an inter­ac­tive touch­screen dis­play. Whether you use an inter­ac­tive white­board, an inter­ac­tive laser pro­jec­tor, or an inter­ac­tive pan­el, touch­screen dis­plays can instant­ly fos­ter a col­lab­o­ra­tive and equi­table learn­ing envi­ron­ment.

When you imple­ment a BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) strat­e­gy in your class­room using wire­less screen shar­ing, stu­dents are able to inter­act with the con­tent at their own pace and make per­son­al­ized anno­ta­tions on indi­vid­ual inter­ac­tive mon­i­tors or their per­son­al smart­phones or tablets.

2. Improving student engagement and classroom participation.

Stu­dent engage­ment is rarely (if ever) at 100%. Teach­ers too can have a hard time keep­ing per­son­al prob­lems, wan­der­ing thoughts, and just straight up sleepi­ness at bay dur­ing school hours. This dis­tractibil­i­ty is com­pound­ed in stu­dents, who haven’t yet mas­tered the abil­i­ty to keep school and home life sep­a­rate and rarely get ade­quate sleep on school nights.

One method to improve class­room engage­ment and focus is offer­ing indi­vid­u­al­ized atten­tion, some­thing wire­less tablets and inter­ac­tive mon­i­tors make pos­si­ble. With wire­less devices in hand, teach­ers are free to roam and make eye con­tact, with­out hav­ing to turn their backs on stu­dents while ref­er­enc­ing the mate­r­i­al on the pro­jec­tor screen or white­board.

Even if every stu­dent were pre­pared and focused, one-third to one-half of your class may be com­posed of intro­verts who would lit­er­al­ly choose to have teeth pulled over rais­ing their hands to speak. Teach­ers fre­quent­ly use required class­room par­tic­i­pa­tion to force stu­dents who are usu­al­ly pas­sive lis­ten­ers out­side their com­fort zone and keep every­one alert and on their toes. While this strat­e­gy can some­times be a wel­come chal­lenge for some intro­vert­ed stu­dents, who must be pre­pared to live in a world that high­ly val­ues extro­ver­sion, it can also paint intro­ver­sion as a flaw that must be over­come instead of a nat­ur­al gift.

An audi­ence response sys­tem can bal­ance your class­room par­tic­i­pa­tion strat­e­gy, allow­ing intro­vert­ed stu­dents to demon­strate that they’re fol­low­ing along with­out being sin­gled out. In fact, audi­ence response devices can gen­er­ate an even live­li­er dis­cus­sion by giv­ing a voice to every stu­dent.

Pic­ture this: You ask a ques­tion to the whole class, but you only get answers out of 3–4 of your most reli­ably talk­a­tive stu­dents. What if you encour­aged the entire class to vote A, B, C, or D with an audi­ence response device to indi­cate which view­point they agree with (or choose E if they have an entire­ly dif­fer­ent opin­ion)? When vot­ing is com­plete, the results are shown at the front of the class­room. Are the results sur­pris­ing? If this is your first time hear­ing from your entire class at once, most like­ly.

 

Front view of schoolkids studying on windmill model at desk in classroom of elementary school

Under the supervision of tech-savvy instructors, [educational technology’s] collaborative power can be wielded to make project work more efficient.”

3. Increasing efficiency of project work and promoting collaboration.

If you’ve seen the wide­ly cir­cu­lat­ing Twit­ter anec­dote about stu­dents using Google Docs to share notes dur­ing a lec­ture, you know that your stu­dents are already using tech­nol­o­gy to work togeth­er in the class­room and at home, for bet­ter or worse. Under the super­vi­sion of tech-savvy instruc­tors, this col­lab­o­ra­tive pow­er can be wield­ed to make project work more effi­cient.

The Google Suite elim­i­nates sched­ul­ing con­flicts between stu­dents and makes it eas­i­er for instruc­tors to gauge the amount of work con­tributed by each project part­ner (by using ver­sion his­to­ry). By requir­ing stu­dents to share their project doc­u­ment with you before they start work­ing, you can keep tabs on them up until the dead­line, mak­ing them less like­ly to pro­cras­ti­nate.

Using a large inter­ac­tive dis­play with mul­ti-touch abil­i­ties can pro­mote col­lab­o­ra­tion in class, allow­ing mul­ti­ple stu­dents to stand and inter­act with the mate­r­i­al simul­ta­ne­ous­ly. The same results can be achieved with more stu­dents by using writ­ing tablets or wire­less screen shar­ing. Some cloud-based col­lab­o­ra­tion soft­ware even allows stu­dents to write anno­ta­tions over every­thing, from dig­i­tal doc­u­ments to zoomed in pho­tos of sci­ence class spec­i­mens tak­en by a doc­u­ment cam­era, and upload their notes to the cloud to be viewed lat­er on anoth­er device.

4. Creating a more accessible classroom.

Intro­duc­ing dig­i­tal learn­ing tools can make it eas­i­er to meet the needs of stu­dents with cog­ni­tive, phys­i­cal, or learn­ing dis­abil­i­ties. Giv­ing your stu­dents the abil­i­ty to access class­room mate­r­i­al through crys­tal clear audio, leg­i­ble visu­als that can be mag­ni­fied, and hap­tic tech­nol­o­gy or kines­thet­ic com­mu­ni­ca­tion are vital steps to mak­ing your class­room more acces­si­ble to stu­dents with dis­abil­i­ties.

For some stu­dents with dis­abil­i­ties, a large, bright, and easy-to-use inter­ac­tive dis­play, an HD res­o­lu­tion doc­u­ment cam­era with high dig­i­tal zoom, or a sound sys­tem can help them fol­low along with the mate­r­i­al at their own pace, clear­ly see small-print text­books and doc­u­ments, and hear teach­ers clear­ly when they speak.

Also con­sid­er whether the appli­ca­tions you’re using are com­pat­i­ble with your stu­dents’ assis­tive tech­nol­o­gy. Does your hard­ware and soft­ware work with alter­na­tive input devices, text-to-speech, and screen read­ers? When pur­chas­ing tech­nol­o­gy for the class­room, choose flex­i­ble hard­ware that allows you to use your own soft­ware.

Curious about how to get started with technology in your classroom?

Once you’ve decid­ed to take advan­tage of the numer­ous ben­e­fits of edu­ca­tion­al tech­nol­o­gy, you’ll need help deter­min­ing which strate­gies and devices are best for your par­tic­u­lar class­room. That’s where QOMO comes in. Get in touch with a mem­ber of our team to request a demo, or give us some details about your edu­ca­tion­al tech­nol­o­gy needs so we can reach out to you.

Want to hear more from us about how to improve your class­room with edu­ca­tion­al tech­nol­o­gy? Invite us to your inbox!

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