By Troy Lambert
Great teachers at schools everywhere are taking advantage of technology to become leaders in the evolving educational field.
The traditional school system was set up to teach kids about the workplace of their future: the bell system taught them about factory whistles and lunch and recess taught them about rigid break and meal times.
However, kids now need to be prepared for an entirely different kind of workplace, one filled with open spaces and focused on employee collaboration. Not to mention the tech skills most employees are now expected to have.
Tech-savvy teachers are becoming leaders in education, developing and implementing programs that duplicate this evolving work environment—with technology at the center of it all. These teaching styles and tools allow them to teach students at all levels how to function at their best when studying, learning, and interacting with others.
Consider how you can become a leader in educational technology, and give 21st century students an appropriate education, with these tools.
Tiered Activity and Learning Software
Learning programs used to be especially challenging for teachers. Classrooms are filled with students that have a different proficiency levels and interests. In most cases, a single program would leave advanced students bored, slow students overwhelmed, and very few satisfied.
Thanks to new software that uses smart technology, like Whooo’s Reading, educational activities can be tailored to student levels without the teacher having to create several different curriculums.
Often, these programs also engage students with points, rewards, and incentives that encourage them to dig deeper into their learning. Results from these programs have students performing at higher levels than their peers who use in more traditional programs.
“While this approach can be viewed as radical, it actually solves a problem that educators have been dealing with for their entire careers,” according to Leading in a Time of Educational Change. “Which is: How do you keep students engaged in the material when advanced learners become easily bored and others are frustrated by the difficulty and pace?”
This topic has been discussed here before because e-readers and e-reader apps on student devices offer them a better way to interact with books. This tech-based reading tool allows teachers to present reading in a variety of ways, including with audio and video and makes specific books more available to students.
Rather than continually adding books to your classroom library, students can access them with their e-readers. This allows you to spend less and update your physical library just a few times of year.
As much of the information students receive in the workforce of the future will be delivered digitally, this is another way teachers leading the way in education are preparing students for the world they will face outside of school.
Want to use e-readers or alternative reading options in your classroom? Check out these resources:
- 5 Ways to Use E-Books More Effectively in the Classroom
- 9 Websites to Find Free Audio Books
- Open eBooks: The Resource You’re Not Using Yet
Adaptive Learning Software
Adaptive learning software is just what it sounds like: software that adapts to how a student learns. It’s driven by technology that understands how students progress and delivers resources and learning opportunities based on that.
This gives you more time to build creative lesson plans, engage with students, and focus on the ones who need the most help. Some of the most popular educational apps use this software, including Scootpad, Splashmath, and Gummii.
Learning Management Systems
Learning Management Systems (LMS) have been used for some time in higher education, but are making their way into K-12 classrooms. ConnectED programs that bring WiFi to schools and teachers allows them to adopt more technology based learning methods.
It’s become so popular already that a study conducted by EDUCAUSE, in partnership with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, found that 56 percent of faculty use an LMS on a daily basis and 74 percent agree that it’s a useful tool to enhance teaching.
Leaders in this software arena include Agilix, Blackboard, Desire2Learn, Epsilen, Moodle, and Pearson Learning Solutions. Google Classroom is another popular solution, allowing teachers to create and collect assignments, see what students have finished, and give real-time feedback—all online.
Features of these programs, such as homework submission, online chat and resource sharing, prepare students for the technology they’ll be using in middle school, high school, college and more.
Massive Online Open Courses (MOOCs)
While this technology is most often associated with higher education programs and even hybrid programs like Arizona State University’s Prep Charter Schools and the Global Freshman Academy, Massive Online Open Courses are becoming options for high school and even upper elementary students who want to learn more as well.
Students can use these programs to complete dual enrollment credits, getting a start on their college education while they’re still in high school. Thanks to rapidly advancing technology, MOOC’s are steadily improving and gaining traction with students who need more advanced learning or to complete courses at their own pace.
Leaders in today’s changing education system face challenges: but using tools like adaptive learning software, learning management systems, and even Massive Online Open Courses can and will make a difference.