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With technology growing and moving faster than ever, it is absolutely essential that students have access to the latest technology so that you can push them to the forefront of learning. In turn you will help them to become thinkers (and spaceship drivers!) that will inspire a whole new generation in the years come.
Here are a few ways you can steer your students to their full potential using the latest and greatest educational technology and edtech hacks.
1. Let students learn from one another.
Kids are often the first adopters of technology—which means that at least one of your students will probably know the ins and outs of even the newest ed tech. Don’t be afraid to go to them and ask them questions about technology. Not only can they help one another, they can help you too!
2. Communicate like you live in the future.
Set up a private classroom Facebook group or a weekly Periscope chat to stay in touch with your students’ parents. You’ll seem like the savviest teacher in the world (and we won’t tell anyone that it literally took you just minutes to set up).
3. Let your projector really project the world.
Gone are the days of drawing stick figures in dry-erase marker on plastic sheets. Use your (new and modern) projector and show your students the world right from the comfort of your classroom. Use Instagram to pull up photos on a certain topic or communicate in real time with a classroom in another country using Skype. The possibilities are infinite.
4. Imagine the possibilities of interactivity.
Speaking of projectors, new interactive projectors can take your students to places that ed tech has never taken you before. Make it your goal to spend 10 minutes every day to learn a new functionality of your interactive projector. (Day one: Watch this video and start imagining the possibilities.)
5. Get collaborative with your desks.
Studies show that kids learn better when they work together, and the design of a desk really can make a difference. Using longer, bigger desks that can be wheeled together in seconds, you open up collaboration in the classroom in a whole new way. (And we totally count functional ergonomics like this as “technology.” If it works, it works.)
6. Let your technology do the talking.
We joke about how the only way we communicate these days is via text message, but the truth is that using technology to communicate is the way of the future. So divide your students into groups, give each group a device and let them compete against one another in a collaborative game. They’ll be learning, they’ll be communicating and, interestingly enough, you’ll have the quietest classroom you’ve ever had.
7. Speaking of functional ergonomics, how about using high-tech chairs?
Have you seen the awesome, stylish, bouncy, chairs available these days? (Watch this video to see how chairs and desks have been updated.) They are so much fun! Not only do they support kids physically, they also promote mental stimulation.
8. Use digital textbooks to keep learning modern.
Imagine a classroom without any bookshelves. Sounds amazing! Instead of hauling and moving and dusting shelves and shelves of books, the classroom of the future will be sleek and simple with access to more information than could fill a library at the flip of a button.
9. Allow storage to promote creativity.
It might sound funny to think about storage contributing to learning, but modern storage carts can house a dozen or more laptops and other interactive equipment. (Think: e-readers with digital textbooks!) Imagine where you could take learning if you could go outside, to the gym, to the park … anywhere.
10. Turn your classroom into a makerspace without spending a fortune.
When we see pictures of makerspace classrooms online, they seem like an amazing, impossible dream. (After all, what teacher doesn’t face budget cuts these days?) The reality is that you can create a makerspace with a bit of ingenuity and a small tech budget. Request a 3-D printer from your school’s tech fund and print out your lessons in 3-D (watch this video to see how), have a LEGO drive and create a LEGO makerspace wall or build a makerspace digital library and you’ll have your very own makerspace classroom at a fraction of what you would expect it to cost.
How are you taking ed tech to the furthest reaches of learning? Tell us in the comments and then watch this video to see how a school in Florida received a technology makeover.