With new technology, today’s classrooms have tools that can make learning happen that was impossible in recent years. Now, students can create impressive products as class projects that would have required lots of equipment or money in the past.
The smartphones that many students carry in their pockets are much more powerful than the technology used to send a man to the moon. They can use those smartphones or devices with access to the Internet now to meet virtually anyone on the planet.
These are exciting times for education. Here is how some schools and students are making the most of them with technology:
Collaboration. Students are working together in digital spaces. They can connect whether they’re in different classrooms or different countries. Plus, with shared work online, the days of “my partner’s absent and he has my notes” are over.
Example: Use Google Documents to create shared research notes or co-create an essay.
Repetition. Practice makes permanent. Online practice sites like digital flash cards and review games can make that repetition more interesting. Plus, most of those options can be carried with students in smartphones in their pockets.
Example: Use your own terms to create flash cards using Memrise or make fun review games on ClassTools.net.
Video. Quality video projects used to require expensive cameras and production equipment. Now, a tablet, computer webcam or smartphone can create high-definition video that demonstrates students’ understanding of content.
Example: Create quick videos with a built-in webcam or photo slideshows using YouTube’s upload button. Make it easier by creating a “typing in a document” video with Gone Google Story Builder.
Audio. Students can create their own radio shows, telling creative stories or interviewing friends and others. Those recordings can be shared widely, just like radio shows have been for years, but for free.
Example: Record an audio show using AudioBoomand share the link others to connect student work with a large audience.
Social media. Communication tools like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and others gives classes access to virtually anyone with an Internet connection. Hashtags let students send messages to anyone searching for that specific keyword.
Example: Students can connect with authors, scientists, researchers, politicians, celebrities and more for unique learning experiences.
Video chat. The access from social media becomes even greater when audio and video are involved. Students can share with others around the globe while seeing facial expressions and verbal intonations of others.
Example: Classes can pair up with other classes around the world to work cooperatively on projects and share through Skype or Google Hangouts. Connect them to virtual tours with Google Connected Classrooms or Discovery Education’svirtual field trips.
Websites. These days, student work doesn’t have to be completed for an audience of one — the teacher. It can be posted on a free class website or a student e-portfolio website for employers or university admissions counselors to see.
Example: Students can create a free Weeblywebsite and collect their best work on it to display.
Satellite imagery. Students can use detailed maps and photos taken from satellites to see anyplace in the world. They can compare and contrast where they live and see places they’ve always wanted to visit.
Example: Use Google Earth’s street-level view to take a virtual field trip of a famous location like Paris or London. Take it to the next level with World Wonders, collections of street-level view and images from breathtaking sites around the world.
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