Technology makes students more engaged. That’s not just a statement; it’s a fact that can be supported with research. A study from 2016 indicates that the iPad improved the literacy of students in kindergarten. It’s effective for all ages, too. Another study, focused on medical school students, shows that those who used iPads scored 23% higher on exams.
Education technology is huge and it’s here to stay. However, it’s also a challenge for modern educators. You have to be very careful with the apps and tools you choose and the way you introduce them in the classroom. The last thing you need is to make technology boring to your students.
We’ll share 5 simple, but unusual ways for you to introduce technology in the classroom.
1 – Bring Robots in the Classroom
Robots are becoming part of our lives. We all loved The Jetsons as kids. Can you imagine how would it be to make that cartoon almost reality for your students? Teachers are increasingly using robots to present a number of concepts from science, language, and math. The students, naturally, love this method. However, most teachers are not entirely ready to introduce it.
Vex Robotics, Lego, and SoftBank Robotics make it easy for you. Of course, you’ll need a considerable budget to get a robot for the classroom and go through training, but the good news is that most schools are willing to provide these resources for such a cause. The NAO humanoid robot from SoftBank Robotics, in particular, is a realistic character that moves, listens, speaks, sees, connects, and even thinks and feels. This is the kind of artificial intelligence that’s making your students ready for the future.
2 – Introduce Augmented Reality
When you and your students use a device to scan or view an image, it will trigger a subsequent action – another image, video, games, 3D animations, QR codes, or whatever else you want to show. This method is called augmented reality, and it’s a huge trend in education.
Aurasma is the most popular app teachers use for that purpose. You can use it in many different situations:
- During your school’s art show
- Making geography lessons more realistic
- Leading the students to math videos when they scan a math problem
- Giving your students virtual tours through museums, and much more
3 – Explore Virtual Reality, Too
Virtual reality is a different concept from AR. It’s not related to objects from the real surroundings. This is an entirely computer-generated simulation of a 3D environment, which you can interact with in a realistic way. Your students will need special equipment, such as gloves with sensors or a helmet with a screen inside.
If your school provides such equipment, it would be a shame not to use its potential. If that’s not the case, you can suggest the board to get super-cheap headsets that are compatible with iOS and Android, and cost less than $10 per piece.
Virtual reality is great for astronomy lessons. Your teaching will become much clearer and more fun if your students are seeing how the solar system works. Imagine how cool it would be for them to see the stars, move the planets, and track the progress of comets. You can also use virtual reality to explore the ocean or different places all over the world without leaving the classroom, or take your students through a time traveling experience.
4 – Connect Your Class with the World through Video Conferences
Are you teaching your students about different cultures and societies? Why don’t you use technology to connect them with classes from the countries in question? If, for example, you’re exploring the social or political culture of France or you’re teaching French, you can connect with a classroom from that country. Your students will definitely enjoy the experience.
You can also connect your students with college professors and recognized experts from different areas of study. They can act as guest lecturers, who will boost the engagement in the class. You can use LinkedIn or Edutopia to form connections with educators.
5 – 3D Printing Projects for More Fun in the Classroom
3D printing is not new to engineers and designers. They use it to quickly build prototyping tools. For students, however, it is a new and intriguing technology. They can make anything they want, and that’s enough to get them interested.
They can build models of the atom, reconstruct ancient cities, or create art projects thanks to this technology. If you’re teaching a lesson about the wheel, for example, they can build a well-functioning wheel. 3D technology is useful and interesting for students of all ages. The best part is that it’s really simple to master, even for the non-tech teacher.
Are you ready to give technology a chance? Your students will be thrilled if you use any or all of the above-listed methods.
Please share your experiences with these 5 unusual EdTech tools and strategies in comments below or on our Facebook page.
Karen Dikson is a creative writer at Best Essays, and a teacher from New Jersey. Her works have been published on Huffington Post and other educational resources. She loves to help her students achieve their most ambitious goals. Connect with Karen on Twitter.