Remember when powerpoint was the height of teaching sophistication? Sigh. Technology in the classroom was manageable in those days.
But today, new classroom technology zips at a blistering pace. Professors and administrators already average a 60-hour work week, so adding research on technology in the classroom is just an absurd ask.
That’s why we’ve put together a list of three types of technology in the classroom you should consider adopting in 2019. Why? Because the tools on our list can shave hours off your 60-hour work week and improve learning outcomes at the exact same time.
#1 Student Response Systems (a.k.a. “clickers”)
Staring into the crowd of student faces, you wonder: “What are they thinking? Do they get it?”
Even when you ask the question, “do you get it,” many students are too timid to say no. And then there are the students who think they get it, but they really don’t.
The miracle of student response system technology is that professors can gauge how well students are interacting and understanding classroom material.
Let’s say you’re teaching a fairly large class on Modern art. You project a Rothko and poll the students on what emotion they feel looking at this piece of art. You can then announce the most popular emotions in the class and spark a really interesting discussion with your students.
But do students find this tool valuable? I talked to a current university student about her experience using a clicker for college.
“As a university student, I’ve used Top Hat in several classes, and it has been so practical for starting interesting discussions. It’s also helpful to know if you’re really understanding the material. My professors are able to re-emphasize concepts from heavily missed problems right away, clearing up confusion and allowing students to better understand.” —Abby Oligschlaeger, undergraduate at Brigham Young University
#2 Collaborative Technology
Other types of technology in the classroom encourage more participation and interaction from students. Perhaps the most engaging technology in the classroom allows students to easily share, comment on, and consume pertinent videos, memes, photographs, or documents in real time.
The obvious platform for this kind of multimodal collaboration is social media, but if you’re worried about privacy, there are more protected platforms like Yellowdig. These platforms allow students to discover and share how people in the outside world discuss and portray class topics.
Also, with a little creativity, professors can create assignments tailored to their class. Professors teaching the skills of argumentation could ask their students to post the arguments they’ve perfected online. If anyone responds, the students can write up a reflection on the responses.
Presentation technology can also be collaborative—if you use the right tool. While powerpoint remains a relevant and appropriate tool for specific classroom situations, professors should be aware of other presentation software options.
For more collaborative presentations in the classroom, consider tools in the Google and Microsoft office suites, like Onenote. OneNote makes for a slick presentation tool that students can edit and annotate in real time, which is perfect for graduate seminars.
As a university writing instructor, I’m partial to Google Docs. I can project a piece of writing for all my students to see, plus they each have their own cursor. This gives my students a new level of ownership and engagement with the writing samples we discuss in class—not to mention it’s fantastic for peer reviews!Improve your lectures with the right tech tool Click To Tweet
Along with enhancing collaboration, presentation software can also appeal to more visual learners. Prezi offers more flexible layouts and templates, which provides more layout options than traditional slides. For example, you could build a diagram as a web and then zoom in on different parts to show how they’re all related.
#3 Video Technology
When teaching an online course, educators should take advantage of the current developments in video conferencing technology. For example, Zoom in the classroom offers one-click content sharing, real-time co-annotations, and digital whiteboarding to enhance collaboration. These collaborative features create a virtual classroom that can overcome physical divides and function like a traditional classroom.
Besides creating a virtual classroom, video technology also helps students develop skills faster.
Video Software for Skill Development
Video software can improve student performances in public speaking, student teaching, foreign languages, and even nursing. At least that’s what GoReact does.
GoReact is the #1 video software for skill development. Students can easily stream or upload videos directly from their smartphones. Once the video is uploaded in the cloud, teachers can give time-coded feedback on student videos in real time or asynchronously.
So if a student is mispronouncing “bonjour” or forgets to wash their hands during a head to toe assessment, Professors can make time-stamped comments (written, audio, or video) correcting the mistakes. They can explain or even demonstrate how to do it right. This helps students learn skills faster, and the software saves you hours of time managing and giving feedback on student videos.
Adopt new types of technology in the classroom
There is affordable technology out there that you can easily implement that will improve your student outcomes. So what are you waiting for? Before next semester starts, select at least one new type of technology that will save you time and improve student outcomes.
And when you adopt those tools, guarantee success adopting new tech on campus by knowing the basics. For instance, if you already use video in your course or you’ve decided to try it out next semester, it helps to know and review the classroom video basics.
Check out our free classroom video guide to help educators, students, TAs, and administrators create high-quality videos. This guide covers the classroom video basics: getting permission to record where required, finding the right camera lighting, recommended equipment, and more. You can download it for free below:
Hillary is a trained literary scholar and university writing instructor who traded Shakespeare and Cavendish for content marketing. She loves all things design, art, theatre, travel, and literature.