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Did you ever as a student have the pleasure of a teacher assigning a Power Point presentation, only to watch in embarrassing agony as they struggled to figure out how to connect their laptop to the projector? If you’re a teacher reading this, you’ve probably been in this predicament (hint: use a dvi/HDMI cable). 

Many teachers today do not know how newer technologies work, while students from kindergarten to college have grown up using much more advanced technology than their parents did and immensely more than their grandparents. How can we cross that divide? 37% of students own a smartphone; while that statistic may seem low, it is higher than the percentage of teachers that own a smartphone. A lot of this has to do with age -- most teachers were born before inventions like smartphones and consumer internet became commonplace and are therefore less likely to adopt new technologies as quickly as their students.  According to a recent survey by the Pew research institute 42% of teachers admitted that they feel their students know more about technology than they do.  Teachers that experience success in the classroom are ones that are quick to adopt new education technology.74% of teachers are using devices like tablets in their lesson plans according to a recent study by PBS and 69% of teachers using newer education technology have reported that it improves lessons and opens up new ways to educate students.

Social  Media Influence

The classroom is just one place where effects of education technology can be measured, social networks are also filled with educators discussing new ways of teaching their students. From Twitter to Facebook,  teachers are looking for ways to remain relevant and exciting by sharing ideas among each other like classroom material and lesson plans.

Apps for Teaching and Learning

Apps like Voxy provide students with lessons designed for their individual level, interests and goals. Voxy also utilizes GPS to send users words related to their current location. Students can also take pictures, add something here and there to make what the teacher wrote make sense. An Image recognition part of the app will send the students a word in the language they are trying to learn.

The core idea of the app is that every learner is unique and every one learns at different speeds. Tailoring education allows the user to learn at their own pace and at their skill level.

Top Hat Monocle is an app designed to change college lecturing into a more interactive and dynamic experience. Answering  real-time polls, quizzes or multiple choice questions during the lecture rather than end of lectures, tests or midterms allows professors to understand in real-time what concepts work and don’t work in the classroom. Professors can  change their approach to teaching almost on-the-fly. Feedback is given in real time unlike with traditional teaching, student progress and understanding can be tracked individually too. This idea is similar to the increasingly popular flipped classroom model making sure that students are not passive in their learning but are active and are learning at their own pace.

Online Learning

Much like apps adopting the flipped classroom model, there are also online sites dedicated to this as well. Knewton and  Khan Academy  are two sites that offer free online courses with convenient progress tracking. Khan Academy fits the flipped model (the flipped model grew out of the Khan model) by allowing parents and teachers to evaluate a student’s progress.

Knewton, offers students a way to personalize their experience and because of this, students have achieved quite a bit of success. After switching to the flipped class model, Knewton had only 19% of freshman fail English compared to the 50% who failed before implementing the flipped model. Math had similar success, before switching to the flipped classroom model, 44% of students were failing, after switching 13% failed in the same class.

Coursera is more about the democratization of education, 33 of the top universities offer online courses for free to anyone willing to learn. Courses range from mathematics to jazz improvisation. Each course includes continuous assessment throughout the semesters so students can gain feedback on how they are doing. A lot of the courses offer forums and interactive spaces to discuss course content similar to a flipped model so students who are struggling can receive help from their peers

These examples are just a few of the new and innovative approaches designed to disrupt the status quo and change the way people learn much like power-point presentations did 10 years ago, assuming your teacher could actually work the projector.

  • Jul 25, 2013 1:00:00 PM
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