by Will Lester, CEI Intern, and Christine Mason. Whether it is a resource that the teacher uses or one that students use individually or in groups, we are seeing more and more advanced technology in schools. Last year a number of apps came out that not only aid the learning process, but also bring efficiencies and polish to lesson planning, organization and classroom management.
Below are four of the top education technologies that perhaps teachers used in your school last year. To keep your students engaged, to keep yourself organized, and to stay relevant, we urge you to adopt or adapt these or similar technologies in your 2014 classrooms and schools.
Diigo: A lot of research goes into lesson planning. Teachers identify new strategies and new information that they would like to reflect on or return to later. However, the information tends to get lost in a number of documents and sticky notes. Diigo allows you to mark, click, highlight, take screenshots, and share information that you have found. Information can be shown to colleagues or even placed into the cloud where it can be called upon later during your lesson application.
Aviary: Visual and auditory stimulation in the classroom grabs students’ attention. When students appeared bored, it may not be just the content that they find boring. It could be that they are missing the bells, whistles, and flashing lights from their video games. With Aviary, you can upload an image or video and add your own audio, effects, and music to take an everyday class video or screenshot and make it your own. This is a great application for teachers who want to be more visually creative with their lesson plans.
ClassDojo: Teachers try to plan lessons that keep students engaged, and most importantly on task, so that they can intake all of a lesson’s content. ClassDojo allows teachers to give students points and rewards them digitally for class participation and behavior.
DonorsChoose: Unfortunately for our students, funding for educational technology isn’t always there. Schools that are strapped for cash sometimes face no option but to delay their technology acquisitions. In many classrooms, teachers dive into their own pockets to fund their educational projects or tools. At DonorsChoose, teachers post ideas for projects– from technology tools to larger, more comprehensive projects– and donors are free to contribute the amounts they chose for the projects that they select to support.
Simply using technology in the classroom is not enough. Applying technology efficiently in a program that complements a teacher’s teaching style and lessons where the technology can be beneficial and not just a gimmick is essential. Otherwise the use is shallow and the power of the technology is wasted. Many of evolving technologies are now being embedded in innovative 21st century classrooms around the world, and more and more effective resources are becoming available to further the best use of these technologies. From online webinars, videoclips, and tutorials to graduate programs, teachers now have access to real-time and any-time, 24/7 options for increasing their knowledge and skills.
What technologies do you use? How long before these technologies will be replaced by others? What is just around the corner and what are you doing to stay on top of it all?