The world has developed a great lot over the millennia past, and so has our schools. But the good news, however, is that technology has brought with it, several tools that schools can use to enhance the learning process while making studies more fun for students. It is a recognized fact that technology has brought with it some bad luck, such as students trying to text themselves in class even when a teacher is standing before them, or perhaps students playing phone games in the class with total disregard of the teacher.
But then, the beautiful package technology has brought to the learning game far outweighs its sins. Today, and because of technology, a classroom does not have to be a building with a teacher, some desks, a marker board and a number of students. Today, a class can be as simple as a number of students looking into their laptops from their various locations. Simple as this seems, it is very efficient.
We shall now proceed with looking at some of these technology tools that schools can adopt in their instructional and administrative processes.
Some Technology Tools Available For Schools
This resource is a breath of fresh air to all teachers in need of a way to make their classes a bit more playful in a bid to crack difficult topics to easily understandable parts. Most often, teachers want to turn a boring lesson into a game so as to motivate students, but then, not everyone possesses the skills required to create a game from the very beginning. With Kahoot, however, it is very easy to get the desired effect, which is to turn the classroom into an academic game house. To create this effect, teachers feed the site with questions and similar answers. As students try to play these games, they find themselves responding to these questions and learning fast in the process.
When a phone is called “Smart,” it is common sense that such a phone has more features than normal. In this case, the smartphone is like a small computer which both students and teachers can use to facilitate the learning process. In reality, a smartphone embodies so many features in one place such that if it had to separate into its component functional parts, at least two dozen different devices can be made from it.
From brilliant cameras to fast internet access, smartphones help all of its features to the creative use of teachers and students.
What are smartphones without apps? We can dare to say that smartphones without apps are like laptops without software. That is just how critical applications are. Worldwide tens of thousands of developers work day and night to develop cool applications which can serve virtually every aspect of life. And since education is a part of life, there are thousands of apps already created, and countless more under development to promote the educational cause.
Depending on the device, students can visit Google PlayStore or Apple’s to download desired apps. Many are free, and a few are paid.
Facebook! Over the course of 13 years: from its humble beginning in 2004 till date (2017), Facebook has undergone a lot of changes. So relevant are these changes that education, today, benefit a lot from a site that was initially designed for fun.
Through Facebook, teachers, school admins, and specific classes can create groups where meaningful discussions can be done conveniently and affordably. It still goes beyond this. Depending on the creativity of the teacher, more activities are possible with social media.
Twitter is particularly useful to parents, even though students can tap from its power. Here is how it works. The teacher gives out their Twitter handle to parents who follow them up for updates during school hours. This platform is particularly helpful to parent with kids in kindergarten. As for student mature enough to use Twitter, it is a means of keeping in touch with their teachers during holidays and other off school periods.
Skype is one of those tools that one would hardly expect teachers to use in instructing students, but then, the surprise would be legitimate. After all, Skype is nothing more that a tool for video calling and chatting to start with. But it would seem, today, which schools are leveraging this technology in impressive ways.
One such way teachers leverage the Skype technology is in Skyping professionals during class sessions, to prove a point or illustrate a concept. For instance, a history teacher can create a video call with a world war veteran live in class so that his/her students can get firsthand information of the event being discussed. In the same way, it can prove helpful to teachers of geography and just about any subject. Would it not make more sense to see an Eskimo hunt fish than to read about it?
Very obviously, I used DropBox to represent the multitude of cloud hosting tools there are out there. There are times in the teaching process when teachers would need to distribute some files to the students. Instead of forwarding these files manually to the various emails of the students, the teachers simply uploads it on DropBox or any of it alternatives then makes its link available to students.
With this arrangement, students gain access to course materials anytime, any day, in a matter of a few clicks. This method is also ideal in cases where multiple heavy files need be passed across.
First technology gave us laptops, then came smartphones, and now tablets (or even hybrids). Tablets are like the laptops we can conveniently carry about. With tablets, everything gets bigger and more exciting no matter what angle you consider it. To be brief, the fact is that tablets do what smartphones do, and mostly do it better. The same apps that run on smartphones usually run on tablets in just about the same way. Like smartphones, they parade an array of exciting features which both students, teachers and the school management can find very useful in the academic procedures.
For schools that use the G Suite for Education (formerly called Google Apps for Education), Classroom is not a new story. With this technological tool, teachers can distribute and grade assignments in addition to organizing all class materials on Google Drive. With the help of this tool, reaching students becomes easier. For most teachers, Google Classroom can pass for an academic, personal assistant.
The use of technology in schools is very flexible. Any and every useful tech gadget can help staff and students in any way can and should be adopted in schools. Watch out. The most unlikely of devices could turn out to be the best solution to a particular school challenge. Even as you explore other options, start with the ones listed in this article and begin to enjoy a simpler and easier time in school.