Technology has always been at the forefront of educational change. From providing students with access to the world’s information to providing teachers with new ways to engage their students, technology is always finding new ways to improve the educational experience. And while it can be difficult to keep up with the latest educational technology trends, it’s important to do so in order to provide your students with the best learning experience possible.
To assist you in your endless endeavor to improve the educational experience of your students, we’ve compiled a list of ten Internet technologies that educators should be informed about.
Internet Technologies About Which Educators Should Be Aware
Technology has greatly shaped the way we learn and the way we teach. From tablets to laptops, from iPads to e-readers, technology has revolutionized the way we learn and teach. But how can educators harness the power of technology to improve their students’ learning? Let’s take a look at some of the most innovative tools and technologies available today that educators can use to help students learn.
Video and Podcasting:
Video and podcasting are two excellent tools for teaching online courses or engaging with individual students. Both platforms enable instructors to create video lessons and audio podcasts that they can then share with their students. The ability to record videos enables them to capture key moments from lectures or other instructional activities and supplement classroom instruction with these recordings.
While many universities have simplified the process by allowing professors to upload lecture notes directly to YouTube, there are still plenty of options available to those interested in making the switch on their own. For instance, Google Docs now includes a “Screencast” feature that enables users to record themselves using any computer connected to the internet. This means that even without a webcam, you can easily record yourself instructing your students.
With presentation software such as PowerPoint becoming more widely used than ever before, it’s unsurprising that many schools are utilizing its capabilities to assist with classroom instruction. Whether you want to present slides to an entire class or to a single student, PowerPoint makes getting started easier than ever. Additionally, it includes a number of features that ensure the appearance of your presentations without requiring extensive training.
If you’d rather not rely entirely on Microsoft Office, there are several third-party programs that provide comparable functionality but may require additional setup time. Prezi is one such program that was created specifically to work within web browsers rather than being platform-specific. As with PowerPoint, Prezi includes a slew of useful features, including drag-and-drop editing, zoomable images, and text boxes.
Collaboration & Brainstorming Tools:
While collaboration tools are not always associated with education, they frequently appear on lists of the top ten technological innovations due to the benefits they can provide when working collaboratively toward a common goal. These applications include wikis, blogs, discussion boards, and chat rooms, among others, and each serves a unique purpose depending on the type of group with which you need to collaborate.
Wikis, for example, are ideal for collaborative document creation in which multiple contributors contribute ideas and feedback throughout the process of creation. Meanwhile, blogging tools enable groups to share messages and comments on topics of mutual interest. While discussion forums enable everyone to express their opinions on an equal footing, chat rooms enable real-time communication between individuals who might never meet face to face. All three of these examples could be extremely beneficial during brainstorming sessions or project planning meetings, particularly because they encourage participants to think creatively and innovatively.
Blogging & Blogs:
Additionally, educators should become familiar with blogs in order to stay current with technological trends. They provide a forum for teachers to write about issues affecting their classrooms, interact with others who are interested in expanding their knowledge, and generally stay informed about significant developments in educational technology.
Numerous colleges and universities already host faculty-authored blogs, so finding one should not be difficult. If yours does not exist yet, why not start one today? You’re almost certain to learn something along the way!
While wikis have been around for some time, they have only recently gained widespread attention as an effective teaching tool. A wiki enables users to create pages that contain a variety of different types of content and then link those pages to one another via hyperlinks. This means that students can easily navigate to any page on the site from any other page by clicking on the appropriate links. Due to the fact that the majority of wikis are hosted online, teachers can assign homework using wikis rather than the more traditional paper/pencil method.
Students can even incorporate notes directly into the body of the article, allowing instructors and learners to easily track changes over time. As long as you are willing to invest the time and effort necessary to properly set up a wiki, it can become a valuable resource in your classroom.
Social networking is all the rage these days, and there is no reason why schools should be left out. After all, social media platforms such as Facebook provide educators with numerous opportunities to connect with colleagues across the country and share resources.
Additionally, it allows students to practice their writing skills by posting status updates and interacting with friends. If you’re not already a Twitter user, consider joining some local organizations that are. For instance, I am a member of several professional development networks that connect me to hundreds of educators each month. The more connections we establish within our own communities, the better equipped we will be to face future challenges.
Instant messaging software enables two parties to exchange text messages instantly, without requiring one party to log off his computer first. While many people still prefer email for personal correspondence, the convenience and efficiency of instant messaging have demonstrated its value in business settings. Schools would greatly benefit from implementing IM programs, especially because they are free and require little training to use effectively.
Teachers can easily distribute announcements about upcoming events, schedule class times, and keep parents informed about school activities. Administrators can also communicate with staff members at any time of day or night and receive prompt responses. Of course, instant messaging is not always appropriate for every situation; sometimes, you simply want to speak privately with someone rather than broadcast your thoughts to the entire world. However, for brief exchanges involving sensitive subjects, instant messaging is definitely worth considering.
Through short bursts of information called tweets, Twitter provides another way for educators to keep their classrooms connected. These 140-character posts provide a straightforward platform for individuals to comment on current events, ask questions and offer advice, all while following others who share similar interests.
Unlike blogs, which typically focus on a single subject, Twitter encourages users to tweet about anything that comes to mind. Due to the fact that everyone can see what each user says, it fosters a sense of community among participants. While you may not consider tweeting during class periods, anyone who has attended a conference or convention understands how beneficial these types of conversations can be.
Virtual reality technology enables users to virtually experience different environments. Rather than watching movies or playing video games while seated in front of a screen, virtual reality headsets transport viewers to new worlds. Several companies, including Google Cardboard and Oculus Rift, already offer VR products designed specifically for educational purposes.
While these devices are not inexpensive, they may prove invaluable when teaching certain subjects such as math or science. Students gain a deeper understanding of concepts when they immerse themselves in a 3D environment, as they feel as if they are actually experiencing something firsthand. Additionally, they will never complain again about wearing glasses!
Software for Video Conferencing:
Instead of using traditional classroom setups, video conferencing enables teachers to conduct classes online via webcams. This type of technology enables anyone, regardless of location, to access education, as long as he or she has access to an internet connection.
Numerous universities are even offering entirely online courses. Cost-wise, the majority of providers charge around $30 per hour, making them affordable to any educator. And, unlike other modes of distance education, video conferences enable instructors to interact directly with students, allowing them to clarify misconceptions and answer questions. Therefore, whether you’re looking to save money or improve your teaching methods, video conferencing is a must-consider option.
In conclusion, there’s no doubt that today’s educational system needs improvement. However, by implementing some of the technologies mentioned above into our schools, we can make great strides towards improving student performance. With the right tools, educators will become more efficient and effective communicators, ultimately leading to better results for all involved.
Written by Johnathan Abram