Technology in the Classroom – ECOO Conference
Embracing Technology in the Classroom
By Martin Seto
Today’s students are as digital friendly as they come. The use of personal mobile devices is commonplace, be it a computer, tablet, or smartphone. Devices aren’t necessarily for games or movies, however, digital resources include interactive white boards, eBooks, educational apps and videos, homework and course management software. The question is, how effective are these new technologies in the classroom? Will they improve productivity or encourage creativity? Will devices change the role of a classroom teacher from instructor to facilitator?
The Educational Computing Organization of Ontario (ECOO) held their annual conference and trade show this past Fall. TEACH’S guest blogger, Martin Seto, attended the show and here are some of the options on the digital landscape of educational technology:
Epson BrightLink Projector
The versatile Epson projector takes the traditional projector and turns it on its side. This feature allows teachers to project images onto anything, even a table for example, making it accessible to all students. The interactivity allows students to participate by touching and manipulating projected items.
CAMPUS by the National Film Board
CAMPUS allows subscribers to access over 3,000 of the NFB’s productions including, educational documentaries, animations, feature films, and interactive titles. Alternatively, educators can browse NFB’s extensive YouTube channel for free videos.
Pearson Canada eTextbooks
The traditional textbook has received a facelift. Pearson Canada now offers over 100 eTextbooks that include video tutorials, search functionality, and highlighting options.
Teach Nutrition offers a free interactive game that teaches Grade 5 students about the digestive system. This fun experience is also challenging,. After learning about the digestive system, players must navigate the narrow tract as a little fly.
The Ontario Educational Resource Bank (OERB) offers a large number of free digital learning resources to teachers and students, from Kindergarten to Grade 12. There are thousands of resources, including units, lesson plans, activities, maps, and interactive learning resources. Also offered is Homework Help, live online math tutoring from a teacher. The service is available for grades 7-10 students at no cost.
iSchool Initiative – The Digital Learning Revolution Tour
The iSchool Initiative is embarking on a digital learning revolution across North America by hitting the road in a mobile classroom. The classroom-on-wheels demonstrates how mobile technology integration can be accomplished. The “classroom” is a bus filled with digital devices from nine different companies that provide students and educators the full experience of their potential future classroom. Partners of the iSchool Initiative include, Promethean and OtterBox.
New to apps? To help educators learning how to use apps, Microsoft is now offering a free “Windows in the Classroom” workshop on their educational apps (www.microsoft.com/en-ca/corp/windows-in-the-classroom).
LearnStyle is another service that also offers paid professional development workshops for Google’s range of educational apps (learnstyle.com).
The Samsung School
With many classrooms already employing a variety of tablets, Samsung offers a management system for the devices called “Samsung School.” The interactive software allows teachers to deliver content to each of their student’s tablets or share a student’s screen with the class. Instructors can also track student progress in real-time, easily conduct group activities, Q&As, tests and polls, then instantly call the class to attention by locking student screens via voice command.
A Chromebook is a very portable laptop by Google that is optimized for the web browser and web-based educational resources. Through Google’s suite of apps, students can also perform word processing and spreadsheet tasks. The Chromebook devices are very simple and do not require extensive training. They are scalable and affordable, making it easier to provide more students with current devices.
It looks like teachers can choose from a wide variety of technology for their classroom. Many companies are stepping up to the plate, and offering exclusive educational packages and incentives for their latest devices.
Do you use devices in the classrooms and if so, which ones? Which do you find most conducive to learning? Tell us by leaving a comment below.