When’s the last time you saw a kid over the age of 15 without a smartphone? I don’t know about you, but I can’t remember when that was. As technology improves and the ages of users of technology constantly decreases, it should come as no surprise that schools are looking for ways to cash in on the technological craze. From cloud computing to gaming, the array of technological methods that educators are adopting is quite expansive, and developers have yet to cease innovating.
Cloud Storage and Computing
The practical uses for cloud computing in classrooms were, at first, a bit limited. In the past year alone, however, the concept has truly begun to unfold and educators are applying them to their lesson plans in extremely useful and innovative ways. On a basic level, teachers can produce and share reference content and activities through cloud computing which students can access whenever, wherever from a device. Now, however, the horizons of cloud computing have significantly broadened, allowing students to interact through cloud-based tools with other students from around the world, partaking in virtual exchanges to enhance their learning experience and engaging in more comprehensive research projects.
Take, for example, Heux’s lesson delivery system. This program, designed for use on both mobile and desktop devices, makes it easy for teachers to create and upload their lesson plans and resources, such as slideshow presentations, PDF files, web content, and more. While in the classroom, teachers and students can write on the virtual whiteboards, partake in polls for quizzes and assessments, have discussions in forums, and utilize the web as a learning tool. Teachers can keep better track of their lesson plans through cloud storage, and students get the benefit of engaging through their mobile devices. It’s more organized and more exciting, creating an overall improved in-class atmosphere.
Massive Open Online Courses
A massive open online course, or MOOC, is a web-based educational course that allows for unlimited participation and access. It combines access to traditional teaching course materials, like videos and PDFs, with interactive user forums that help facilitate communication among students and educators. It’s particularly attractive to students who, for whatever reason, need to partake in distance education, and is a total game-changer for home-schooled kids. Though they often involve the use of closed-access course materials, access for students remains free. Schools that use MOOCs include Purdue University, MIT, and Ohio State University.
Learning analytics is a tool that allows educators to assess data on student engagement within online education tools, like the two mentioned above. It provides educators with knowledge about how efficiently students seem to be learning, which tools are effective, and what changes need to be made. It opens up a whole new world to educators since they can now detect difficulties in individual students without having to be personally approached. It can also take note of patterns in student behavior to predict their future potential and determine their strengths. It’s even smart enough to alert an educator when a shorter-than-average time is spent on a learning module, which may be a sign of cheating or intentionally skipping assignments.
It’s true that some teachers seem to resist the implementation of certain types of technology in the classroom, but the truth is that tools like these are fairly easy to integrate and provide a huge payoff. Today’s students were raised in a technological world and letting them learn within their element is paramount to improving engagement and making the most of available resources.