Back when I was at school, a technologically-advanced lesson meant successfully showing a video clip from a little site called YouTube on a PowerPoint slide. Suffice to say, a lot has changed since then.
In recent years, there’s been a proliferation of tech-savviness in the classroom. In my day, we weren’t allowed to take phones with us into exam halls. Now watches have joined that blacklist in case they happen to be smart. It’s a whole new world.
In this era of internet fluency, teachers are increasingly planning their lessons with online learning in mind. The main benefit of having your students in an online classroom environment is that collaboration can extend beyond the person they’re sitting next to and the physical room.
Today, we’ll be highlighting six tech products that enhance learning by empowering students in interactive, collaborative ways.
Improving teacher-student interaction
Have your students document their schooling in pictures and videos with Seesaw. They streamline your class’s output with digital portfolios that can be shared with classmates and parents. That means everyone involved in little Timmy’s schooling can track his learning progress. Flag items so you can bring up his masterpiece essay on the mating habits of spectacled bears at the next parent-teacher conference.
Keeping it simple is TodaysMeet, a chatroom to make your classroom digital. Use it as an online office hour, or use it as a backchannel to enhance class discussion. TodaysMeet aims to give everyone a voice, leveling the chattiest student with the quietest. Ask that question on habitat loss in South America. There’s a good chance that Justin, who never raises his hand in class, will tell you all about it.
Interacting with the modern whiteboard
Padlet, the self-described “MS Paint of the web”, recently raised a cool $1.2 million. It’s a blank virtual pad with intuitive options to type, draw and add all types of media. It’s device agnostic so it will work on Katie’s old tablet, Luca’s brand new tablet, and your desktop. Sounds like a neat option for brainstorming and group presentations.
You have a great interactive lesson planned, but you don’t want the fuss that comes with getting people out of their seats – there’s always that one kid who’s accidentally tied himself to his chair with his jacket. This is where virtual whiteboard BaiBoard comes in handy. Students can interact from their desks and, with voice conference capabilities, from home too.
Better classroom analysis
Designed with educators in mind, ClassFlow brings collaboration and interaction together. Its offering is an interactive lesson delivery system to enhance the teaching experience. With a repository of multimedia presentations, they hope to inspire your lesson planning. Not only that, they consolidate assignment results so you can easily crunch numbers by lesson, grade, class and student. Score.
Wikispaces enters the education sphere with centralized platforms for classrooms. From group project tools to social feeds, it aims to make it easier for you to assess assignments and measure engagement. See who’s slacking and see who needs some extra help on their Civil Rights assignment. Its mission is to serve not only teachers but the broader education community, so it’s also available for entire schools, districts and universities.
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