Topic 1 Introduction to classroom technologies

Classroom Technologies have become essential in carrying out daily learning activities. Advance in technology makes it possible for incorporation into classroom activities to support group learning. During a class session, time is devoted to exercises or one-to-one learning. Technology can improve the way students learn and as well benefit the educators. This competence refers in the framework in designing, planning and implementing the use of digital technologies in the learning process. There is a need for educators to reform rather than substitute the traditional means and methods when implementing new digital resources in the learning process. This requires an approach where pedagogical methodologies and strategies include digital technologies during the teaching process.

Classroom Technologies

Technology is rapidly changing the way we live and work.  The field of education is no exception.  In fact, during the late  1990s,  new  technologies  were  being  invented  and  designed  almost monthly. Technology was evolving very fast and education was the primary target for those eager researchers who wanted to see if their products could transform education as we know it. (Vail, 2003).

Three decades later, the novelty of educational technology has somewhat worn off. Financial struggles are still  a  reality  today  for  many educational centers.  Yet  even  for those with  limited  financial resources, educational technology is still a prevalent part of education today. While educational technology has the potential to enhance both teaching and learning, it is clear that these technologies are not always used to their full capacity.  The challenge remains to adapt teaching strategies to the new technologies in ways that elicit and increase student learning and understanding (Lawrenz, Gravely, & Ooms, 2006).  Computer technology is simply a tool, just as is a language, or pencil and paper.  While it has its many benefits, the educator should anticipate unplanned side effects (both good and bad) of educational technology that often surpass the original intentions (Furr et al., 2005).

A short introduction to Classroom technologies.

Using technology to enhance learning

Write down a list of classroom technologies that you usually choose during teaching, or the ones you think are the most useful

Discuss reasoning with your colleagues and confront your list with your colleagues preferences

Few trends in using technology in classroom instruction

The model of using technology in learning links educators to their learners and to professional content, resources, and systems and helps them improve their own instruction and personalize learning.

Technology such as computers, mobile devices, internet access, and interactive white boards can be incorporated into instruction to help educators deliver learning materials and support learning in traditional classrooms (Cheung 2012).

Virtual and Augmented Reality

Used in gaming, virtual and augmented reality in learning has also proven to be effective and engaging.  Because most adults already own a smartphone, educational virtual reality apps can easily be downloaded without significant financial commitment on their part.

Gamification

Gamification refers to adding digital game-like elements to other activities. The acquisition of knowledge could be easier for the learners if done through fun activities implemented with technological devices.

 

In a large classroom, all students may not be able to view what the teaching is showing on the laptop screen, that’s where projectors come in. A projector hooks up to a laptop and projects the screen to a larger whiteboard in front of the classroom.

Videoconferencing Classroom Technologies

Through video conferencing, learners in different geographical locations can attend to a lecture through online streaming. Video conferences can be set up on Zoom, Skype or Google Hangouts, and Guest Speakers can easily address the learners. Video conferencing can help reduce travel costs and time required to give speeches at different places.

Smartphones

More and more adults rely on their smartphones for almost everything, including their learning needs. Apps that support learning keep sprouting everywhere. This is a trend that is most likely to stay.

Interactive whiteboard

The interactive whiteboard (IWB) is a branch of ICT that has played a huge part in transforming today’s classrooms.  The IWB is large touch-sensitive board that controls a computer that is connected to a digital projector (Smith, Higgins, Wall, & Miller, 2005). Electronic whiteboards are very effective for group instructions. They are used for group presentations which enhance learning, and also students find it more compelling.

Flipped Learning

It is part of modern day technology used in classrooms. With this technology, learners can use their personal computers or handheld devices to watch lectures hosted on servers. Later, they can have discussions in class based on the videos. Educators can interact with their learners on a one-to-one basis through personal devices and enhance learning.

Desktops and Laptops

More teaching applications and classroom software are being introduced into the technology market. This drives the need for educators to get sophisticated computers with powerful processors to run the said applications. Classroom software help in managing and storing of learners records. Computers contribute to abolishing the need for bulky encyclopedias as learners can quickly look up information on the internet. Monitoring software can assist in gauging the level of understanding of learners by; quizzing their comprehension of a topic, or by providing an interactive lab complete with a virtual dissection.

Projectors

In a large classroom, all students may not be able to view what the teaching is showing on the laptop screen, that’s where projectors come in. A projector hooks up to a laptop and projects the screen to a larger whiteboard in front of the classroom.

Videoconferencing Classroom Technologies

Through video conferencing, learners in different geographical locations can attend to a lecture through online streaming. Video conferences can be set up on Zoom, Skype or Google Hangouts, and Guest Speakers can easily address the learners. Video conferencing can help reduce travel costs and time required to give speeches at different places.

As an adult educator you should reflect on:

The classroom technologies used during teaching – which are the most effective?

How do you choose the classroom technologies to be used?

Do you have a strategy which involves the use of different digital tools according to the specific target, the topics and the learning objectives?

This topic was an introduction to the most used classroom technologies to support instruction, e.g. electronic whiteboards, mobile devices. An overview and a description of the main characteristics of the classroom technologies were provided, in order to make educators reflect on how these technologies can be integrated in their class and in which way they could be combined with traditional teaching methods in order to improve the service provided.