Education and technology are colliding. As the price of gadgets and other electronics continue to drop, there’s no reason why teachers can’t incorporate technological goodies – both hardware and software — into their classrooms. The right tools can make the educational process easier and more fun for both teachers and students.
With fall just around the corner, it’s time to think about “stocking up” for the new school year. Whether you’re a teacher, or a parent who loves to engage with educators, you’ll want to check out some of these educational tech resources.
We’ve come a long way from those spiral-bound grade books of yesteryear. While many colleges and universities have adopted a system called Blackboard to track grades and assignments, it can be cost prohibitive for public schools. That’s where an open source project like Moodle comes in.
Free to use, Moodle is a CMS (Course Management System) with a community that is building plugins to tailor the software even more towards your specific needs. If you’ve heard about Blackboard, and your school won’t pay for the license, this may be the perfect solution.
As just about any grade school teacher will tell you, one of the hardest things to do is to get students to raise their hands in class to admit they have questions about a lesson. And chances are that if one student is having problems, several others do as well. That’s where something like the iClicker+ comes in handy. It allows you to post multiple choice or yes/no questions, and students can use the “clickers” to anonymously provide answers. Using their responses, teachers can quickly tune lesson to make sure the message is received, and no student will ever have to raise their hand in embarrassment again. Intrigued? The price varies; contact iClicker for details.
The iPad from Apple has become a hugely popular device with educators, but how do you get your curriculum onto the students’ tablets? Apple has a free product called iTunes U that allows you to easily create iPad-based courses. Your courseware can be restricted to just your students, or you can share it with the rest of the world. Have you come up with a fun way to teach the capitals of the states? Share it with iPad users everywhere!
In turn, you will find hundreds of thousands of free courses have been posted by other teachers via Apple’s iTunes Store. In turn, you can share these with your students and possibly pick up some pointers for yourself on how best to get a concept across.
And speaking of portable devices, just about every phone on the planet can play MP3s, so why not turn some of your courses into podcasts? That makes it easy for your students to review specifics, and you could even make an abridged study guide version to reiterate the most important points they will need for a test. And the best part: Once you make an educational podcast, you can share it for ages to come, saving you from having to repeat the same material over and over again.
Of course, every teacher’s situation is unique, but there are a lot of powerful tech tools available to help you to enhance just about many classroom situation.