Teacher (Photo credit: tim ellis)
Guest Post by: T.L. Council
Do you remember as a child getting a still-damp mimeographed lesson, printed in a bright purple, from your teacher? Those were the days, weren't they? Nowadays, personal computing has practically taken over our lives, including education. This actually quite a good thing. Most adults would be surprised at how many gadgets are present in the typical grade school classroom today! How are teachers introducing and using this technology? It turns out, they're using it in quite a variety of ways. One of the great things about most of this technology is that children with a variety of disabilities have better access to learning, instead of just sitting on the sidelines while their peer benefit. Technology brings knowledge to everyone!
* Computer tablets, such as the iPad, are making classrooms more fun for students and teachers alike! Tablet computers have the advantages of portability and flexibility, something that desktop computers lack. And an even bigger advantage is the ease of use: With the swipe of a finger across the screen, a student can open a textbook, a lesson, and go over tests with the teacher. Downloadable books and applications are often free or inexpensive, making access to relevant lessons even easier for educators. Try AppStar Picks app for finding great educational apps for kids
* Many younger teachers today grew up on video games. And what better way to teach math and English skills to kids than by using games? Instead of standing at the head of the classroom scratching chalk numbers across the board, many teachers have used online learning to reinforce their lessons. Websites like subscription service Buzzmath.com offer each student their own personal account, so they can keep track of their individual progress.
* Around the world, children as young as kindergarten are getting their homework via iTunes, listening in to podcasts, and using social media as a tool to communicate with children around the globe. Just think, twenty years ago, if you wanted to have a pen-pal, you had to wait for weeks at a time between letters. Sometimes the wait was months! Today your kids can have daily conversations with children on the other side of the world using instant messaging or video chats!
* In Australia, schools have started online classrooms. This is partly due to the remoteness of the areas some children live in. It's also part of a move toward getting families more involved in their children's education. If your child is attending a school online, you're more apt to take a more in-depth interest in your child's education.
* Presentation Tube is a new technology to look out for. Similar to an interactive white board, it offers more flexibility. Presentation Tube allows educators to upload videos, hand-written notes, lesson plans, graphs, charts, and anything else the teacher feels is appropriate. The program then combines all this information and creates a seamless presentation for the teacher to use.
T.L. Council is a home educator and former social worker for the Deaf and hard-of-hearing in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. Her areas of expertise include social studies, technology, science, and anthropology, as well as rehabilitation studies. She also frequently contributes to Degree Jungle an online resource for prospective college students.