To keep up with media- and Internet-savvy students, many teachers and districts find it helpful to implement instructional technology. Like most technology, though, technology designed for education changes frequently, so it's important to be aware of and to understand new products. Implementing new technologies in the classroom can help keep students engaged and excited about learning new content.
Interactive White Boards
Interactive white boards, such as SMART Boards, are now in many classrooms. These interactive boards allow teachers and students to manipulate text and objects and to visit websites for content review. In addition, these boards act as a projector for what’s on a computer screen. For instance, if a teacher has a Power Point presentation on her computer, she would use the SMART Board to show it to students. SMART Boards also come with several activities and programs that benefit educators. For example, Response Question Sets are prepared questions related to content based on grade level and subject. Also, math teachers can use the math multimedia resources to allow students to manipulate math problems.
Many websites also offer interactive games that are compatible with these multimedia white boards. For instance, the National Library of Virtual Manipulatives offers activities that correspond to grade level and content.
Websites and Blogs
Many teachers now have websites or blogs to keep students and parents up to date. Teachers can get their own domain name, or they can simply sign up for a blog on a host site like Blogspot or Wordpress. On these sites, teachers should post upcoming assignments, important dates and even additional content. For instance, a teacher might post a lecture online and reference it the next day in class. Teachers can post important information for parents, such as dates for parent-teacher conferences and important school functions.
For some districts, the days of overhead projectors are long gone. Many districts now turn to document projectors, such as the Elmo. These projectors are connected to multimedia projectors and can display any document, not just those that have been copied onto an overhead transparency. Teachers can use projectors such as the Elmo to share text and lesson examples. Math teachers, for instance, can use a regular calculator on an Elmo. Students can also easily show other students their work with these projectors. No special copying is needed. Many Elmo models also offer a digital document camera. The projector can take a picture of a particular document and store it on a memory card for later use.
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