Educational Technology – What Does a Classroom Look Like Today?


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It’s an exciting time for education and technology. Educational technology is consistently improving and more common place in the classroom. Google “21st Century Classroom Presentation.” You’ll find schools moving to a different kind of environment. Is this good? Are there problems with adding interactivity and engaging materials in the classroom?

These questions won’t be answered in this article. This article is going to focus on educational technology. Technology that is consistently demonstrated at conferences for teachers and administrators. This article is intended to educate you on what technology is currently available for schools. We’re also going to stick with the 21st Century Classroom theme.

Document cameras, projectors and computers are becoming common place in the classroom. Document cameras are an incredible piece of technology used in education today. The ability to show a page in a text book or a worksheet up on the board without making a transparency! Many schools still use transparencies and overhead projectors. Overhead projectors limit the freedom to adapt to the class and create real-time learning experiences based on student responses.

Projectors and interactive whiteboards are a must ever since the Internet became available. Multimedia, simulations, videos, maps, research, etc… Projectors allow for whole class learning and engaging discussions that extend from a specific topic or skill. The interactive whiteboard technology allows the teacher to stay in front of the classroom notating and controlling the mouse.

Another important educational technology piece are computers. Computer labs have been common in schools for sometime. The real concern has been actual “computer access” the students have throughout the week. Having enough computers and creating a consistent schedule for the entire school has always been a challenge. An answer to this challenge has been mobile laptop carts. Imagine a large cart with 25 laptops shelved, plugged into outlets within the cart. Only the cart needs an external outlet to power all laptops. This cart is moved from classroom to classroom and students are assigned a computer number. Instead of scheduling computer time to the computer lab, teachers are reserving these laptop carts…bringing the computer lab to them!

Classroom Response Systems or Voting Response Systems or clickers are becoming a common trend as an added piece to their educational technology plan. You will be sure to find more information when you Google “21st Century Classroom Presentation”. These devices allow for true interactivity and engagement within the class as a whole.

The last piece of any educational technology plan is the software. Blogs, wikis, games, curriculum software, reading and math intervention software, etc. are all things students do on the computers. Once hardware is in place, the question is, “What do the students do on the computers?” Educational software is such a broad term, schools constantly are researching software specific to a target group of students: high school credit recovery, homebound students, before/after school programs, supplement content to the school’s curriculum, state test prep software, etc.

One thing is for certain, educational technology is constantly improving and classrooms are moving closer and closer to the 21st Century Classroom.

Josh was a classroom teacher for grades Kindergarten through 8th grade and used The A+nyWhere Learning System® with his 5th & 6th graders in order to differentiate the curriculum and provide appropriate content to his many students with Individualized Education Plans (IEPs). Josh currently meets with schools, assisting in implementation, and training teachers and administrators on various software tools.

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Educational Technology – Not Just Computer Technology

Technology is the branch of knowledge that deals with creating and using technical methods, such as tools and crafts, for interacting with life, society, and the environment. Beginning with the conversion of natural resources into simple tools, technology has affected human society and its surroundings in a variety of ways: Foremost, it has:

o Assisted in the development of more advanced economies

o Allowed the rise of a leisure class

o Helped develop today’s global economy

Philosophical debates continue regarding the present and future uses, primarily over whether technology improves the human condition or worsens it.

Computer technology is a prime example. Computers have certainly changed the way people do just about everything, including how they handle personal affairs, communicate, run businesses, and how our children are taught. However, although technology promises many potential benefits for education, we must be careful not to make the all-too-common mistake of speaking of educational technology as if it is synonymous with computer technology. There are other forms of technology used in education and we should not ignore them.

“Technically speaking,” educational technology, sometimes referred to as learning technology, is the study and practice of teaching and improving capabilities by developing, using, and administering suitable technological processes and resources. Whether the selected medium is a GPS device, an educational video, a metal detector, or a computer, educational technology provides for an enormous amount of interactivity. It allows faculty and students to participate in dynamic demonstrations, simulations, and models that can be used to explore and test theories.

The use of educational technology can:

o Show students the path of recent technological progress

o Enrich instructional lectures and presentations

o Encourage students to be active discoverers

o Enhance motivation and curiosity

The appropriate use of all forms of technology in education leads to improved thinking, greater problem-solving skills and a deeper understanding of both concrete and abstract concepts.

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Using Digital Education Technology In Today’s Analog School

It’s mind-boggling: more than sixty percent of our first graders will some day work at jobs that are not even created today.

We can’t even imagine what kinds of jobs exactly might those be, but one thing is for sure: it will has to do with technology. That’s why every child needs to learn how to use technology.

It is important to note right away that this enormous emphasis on technology use does not mean that the teachers will become less important, quite contrary. Technology is here to be used as a tool by teachers and empower them to deliver lessons in a way that the old analog school, still stuck in the last century, is simply not able right now. Teacher are indispensable as the most powerful motivators that exist to actually get children to learn, using the most modern technology or not.

Examples of using education technology in practice include, for instance, incorporating rich media and online resources as means of accessing knowledge. Even games can be used as education technology, especially adaptive software that is made to be greatly interactive. Classroom assessment tools can enable teachers to immediately spot the gaps in their students’ knowledge and tailor their teaching accordingly. Data analysis and management tools can offer valuable feedback that assists teachers and school leaders in better information management.

Some studies have found that when technology is involved in learning, the students are more engaged in knowledge acquisition. Since technology in the classroom offers specialized learning, struggling students are more likely to catch up with their peers when they can use education technology.

Of course, it is impossible to talk about education technology without at least mentioning e-learning and the MOOC (massive open online courses) revolution. They are giving the students around the world the unprecedented access to the best schools and best teachers available today. At the moment, MOOCs are used in higher education almost exclusively, but in the not too far off future they may be used from kindergarten!

It is hard to stress enough how important is incorporating modern education technology and all it can offer (we’re only just starting to scratch the surface on its possible uses and benefits) in today’s school.

Expenditure on technology in schools is steadily rising every year, and around the world. Mobile technology, such as tablets and laptops are contributing to this rise the most.

School leaders obviously firmly believe that investing in education technology is the way of the future.

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Reasons to Get a PhD in Educational Leadership Through Educational Technology

Since technology has become part and parcel of our everyday lives, we have accepted its company as though the air we breathe. Similarly in the teaching environment, younger aged students quickly grasp the technical side of technology. They may not actually understand why technology is useful but rather it’s a means by which we live. As it may come as a surprise to many, technology is not exactly the do-all and see-all. Technology as a tool remains a steadfast fact. It does not supersede man unless it’s one of those horror science fiction flicks whereby robots take over the world and make man into their slaves.

In order for a teaching professional to better understand how and when to incorporate technology as part of their profession, obtaining a PhD in Educational Leadership through Educational Technology is a good avenue to look into. As part of this doctorate program, the student is made to understand how modern technology shapes the education process. It also imparts clear statements on what technology represents. Being able to identify the latest in processor chips, memory specifications, smart devices, applications and the likes is just a tip of the iceberg. A student is exposed to the role of technology in education, when to include technology as part of the process and when to abstain. When applying technology into the education process, various types of technology are up for discussion and selection. Manufacturers of hardware and software scramble over one another to convince educational leaders of their superiority and latest advancement.

As part of the coverage in a PhD in Educational Leadership through Educational Technology program, the PhD student learns the principles, aspects and importance of designing a curriculum to better apply education into daily lives. The curriculum may or may not adopt technology as an active participant as conventional pen and paper works better at times. In incorporating technology into the education, care is taken to ensure technology complements the curriculum.

Upon completion of this doctorate programs, many candidates pursue a career at academic institutions of higher level such as colleges and universities. Some opt for consulting positions by providing services to assess an institution’s methods in using technology as a tool for education. Others may join governmental or educational authorities to participate in think tank projects to promote education with technology.

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