Smart Boards, Comic Life, Video, Quizlet & More Inside & Outside the Classroom
Today’s teachers and kids have a plethora of technology at their disposal to turn education into both a learning and fun experience. When speaking to 9, 10, 11 and 12-year olds, you’d think they were already in the workplace with all the apps, devices and technology they either have access to or are exposed to in learning learn their ABCs.
A school district in Westchester, New York, for example, has its teachers using a smart board – an electronic white board – and interactive pen to teach science, math and other subjects. Smart boards rely on four components: a computer, projector, appropriate software and display panel. The computer is connected to the projector and whiteboard, and displays the computer screen image onto the board. Smart boards allow the teacher to write or draw on the surface, print off the image, save it to a computer or distribute it over a network to the students. You can post notes and show whatever is on your computer, including videos. You can use the interactive pen to demonstrate math concepts; for example, plotting points in geometry.
The smart board enables teachers to keep their students focused on learning and to communicate better while encouraging collaboration and interactivity. It is has also been successfully used in teaching students with disabilities.
Apps have also made it into the classroom. Comic Life on the iPad is an app that is being used for educational purposes. The philosophy behind using Comic Life is that students in writing a comic will learn to organize materials and ideas and to visually communicate these ideas. It helps them with storytelling and storyboarding and enriches reading, writing and thinking, among other benefits. Comic Life allows students to be creative in a number of ways. For example, in science, students can develop a lab, with the entire lab process documented using the app’s speech bubbles and image-adding features. In social studies, students can create a timeline of Adolf Hitler’s rise to power and the Allied Forces entry into Germany.
Teachers are also using video games to teach students. Sixth graders are learning Spanish with a video game that has blocks. Each time a word pops up in Spanish and you read the word correctly and know the meaning you get to jump over a hole and proceed to the next block. If you don’t know the word, you fall into the hole!
Quizlet tools are being used by teachers and students worldwide as well. With Quizlet, you can make your own flashcards, matching games, multiple choice tests, worksheets, etc., and help students with memorization and recall of key concepts, and basic practice in everything from vocabulary to math to language learning.
Students are also using Google Drive and Google Docs to share documents with their teachers and other students. These tools give them easy access to materials, and they no longer have to save their materials or upload it to a flash drive. They can also access their assignments from any computer. The use of Power Point, Word, and Key Note among students to do research papers, presentations and slideshows are all a part of mainstream middle school classes as well. This will surely prepare them for the business world, including the boardroom.