Technology in the classroom is now as common for students as Facebook on the phone. The introduction of classroom technology has diversified teaching methods, increased supplemental course curriculum, simplified administrative tasks, increased student engagement, and changed the education landscape forever.
The tech transition isn’t without its flaws. However, the classroom technology movement is a mirror of our digital world, and the opportunities for online learning are endless.
Current Classroom Technology in Action
The concept of education technology isn’t new; the overhead projector transformed classroom instruction in the 1930s, videotapes brought learning to life in the ‘50s, the Scantron system streamlined grading efficiency in the ‘70s, and computer labs were introduced to campuses in the ‘80s. At the time, this technology was groundbreaking.
Today, advanced classrooms pair students with personal laptop computers, and teachers share lesson plans and assignments through technology tools, including Google Educator. Dusty textbooks and print handouts are replaced by digital textbooks with live hyperlinks and classroom websites with course information updated daily. Interactive apps, such as Socrative, allow students to read text or watch video while pop-up multiple choice questions test comprehension. This gamification approach makes learning fun for students, and provides real time information for teachers.
“Dusty textbooks and print handouts are replaced by digital textbooks with live hyperlinks and classroom websites with course information updated daily.”
The one-to-one computer program means that every student has direct, controlled access to the Internet in class. This technology innovation promotes a collaborative learning environment where students can research and share information. Group projects now connect through shared Google documents, and students can question received knowledge and research topics to confirm or debunk theories. Internet access also opens up a new world of possibilities for what supplemental subjects can be taught through alternative methods. If school budgets limit electives, such as foreign languages, students can connect to qualified teachers through video platforms, like TakeLessons Charter.
New Online Learning Opportunities Through Classroom Technology
Education technology progress doesn’t always align with school budget realities. While computers, Internet access, and software tools create new learning possibilities, qualified teachers will always be the most important piece of the education puzzle.
“How can schools restore arts and humanities electives, while working with limited financial and personnel resources?”
The arts and humanities, though proven to be beneficial for brain development, are historically first to go during budget cuts. Beginning in the late 2000s, more than 80 percent of U.S. school districts experienced a decrease in funding. Many schools sacrificed art, music, and foreign language courses – and teachers – in order to focus on priority math and science subjects. The challenge now is: How can schools restore arts and humanities electives, while working with limited financial and personnel resources?
Technology won’t replace teachers, but innovative classroom technology can connect students with the teachers they need, who specialize in the subjects they want. Charter schools and independent schools without district restrictions can experiment with third party partnerships to enhance their curriculum with supplemental courses. One example is TakeLessons.com, an online learning platform with a network of 5,000 top-rated teachers across the U.S., including professional musicians and foreign language leaders. With their new TakeLessons Charter program, vetted experts can teach music and language lessons to students through interactive, two-way video streaming.
“Technology won’t replace teachers, but innovative classroom technology can connect students with the teachers they need, who specialize in the subjects they want.”
Picture this: The third period bell rings, and as students are seated, a projected video reveals a foreign language teacher who greets the class. This isn’t a one-way YouTube video. Rather, the TakeLessons Charter platform fosters a live classroom dynamic with teacher instruction, student questions, and community interaction from start to finish. The session is administered by a school professional in the classroom.
TakeLessons Charter is an example of the new wave of classroom technology. Available curriculum spans music classes in piano, guitar, ukelele, and vocal singing, as well as foreign language classes in Spanish, Sign Language, French, and English.
In the 21st century digital age, classroom technology innovation is exciting and inevitable. It’s a reflection of the world we live in, and the world we’re preparing our students for. From teacher-run websites and app-based lesson plans, to video-enabled instruction with experts, new technology in the classroom expands learning potential for all students.
Explore new online learning opportunities in language, music, and more.