4 Ways to Integrate Today’s Education Technology

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4 Ways to Integrate Today’s Education Technology

by Roy Rasmussen

Over the past few years, the U.S. Secretary of Education has been pushing for American schools to emulate the model of South Korea, ramp up education technology and abandon printed textbooks for mobile devices in classrooms, states eSchool News. While many would question abandoning textbooks entirely, most educators would agree that today’s education technology offers teachers an unprecedented range of educational tools. Implementing a strategy for using these tools effectively can create a classroom environment that both teaches technology and promotes more dynamic interaction between teachers and students.

Teaching with Tablets

Educational tablets have been around since ancient Sumerian students learned to write on clay, and the idea of using electronic tablets to promote education was one of the motives that inspired computer science pioneer Alan Kay to develop the prototype of the laptop in the late 1960s and early ’70s. Who knew education technology was this old?

Today, Kay feels that the educational system is still not using computers effectively, reports Time. This is partly because commercial interests have restricted technological developments and partly because classroom usage has been limited to applications such as word processing software and taking standardized tests rather than exploring the full range of the technology’s capability. Kay stresses that the special features of computers should be used as tools to express and enhance thought rather than treated as competitors to traditional communication and learning methods.

To illustrate how tablet technology can be used along the lines Kay envisions, SketchUp supports the use of 3D drawing tools for education technology purposes. Science students can now use a tablet as the equivalent of a 3D textbook to learn about three-dimensional forces, molecular structures or anatomy.

Using Smartphones to Get Smarter

Writing for the National Education Association, Edward Graham describes how high school history and political science teacher Ken Halla has turned his students’ widespread ownership of smartphones into an educational resource. Halla allows students to access online resources that support what he’s teaching such as apps with information about U.S. history. He does openly monitor the usage, however, to make sure smartphones aren’t being misused by students. He also has found that sending students and parents automated alerts about assignment due dates has dramatically increased the rate of homework completion.

To illustrate another potential educational use of smartphones, many mobile phones have superior camera equipment built in, enabling students to take pictures of things such as math problem examples and scientific demonstrations for later review.

Videos as Visual Aids

In addition to their photographic capability, smartphones also create the opportunity to introduce educational videos into the classroom as visual aids. For instance, PBS offers online video resources to support teachers on a full range of subjects including science, social studies, math and English. For example, LearnItIn5 provides prefabricated video lessons that can be customized for the needs of any classroom.

Learn about student tech gurus

Social Study Hall

Mobile technology also can be used to turn social media into digital study halls. Edutopia’s Ashley Cronin provides an overview of various ways social media resources are being used in education. For instance, some educators are using blogging to turn their classrooms into teams of contributors. Others are using Google Hangouts to give students opportunities to receive remote lectures from authors, scientists and other experts. Edutopia’s contributors recommend that each school develop a social media plan and policy in cooperation with a review from their school attorney and school board.

Roy Rasmussen is the co-author of Publishing for Publicity. He is a freelance copywriter who helps small businesses get more customers and make more sales. His specialty is helping experts reach their target market with a focused sales message.

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Mark Barnes is the Founder of Times 10 Publications, which produces the popular Hack Learning Series, The uNseries, and other books from some of education's most reputable teachers and leaders. Barnes presents internationally on assessment, connected education, and Hack Learning. Connect with @markbarnes19 on Twitter.

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