Teachers and educators today have access to more tools, technology and e-learning solutions than ever before. Sifting through all of those options for your classroom, however, can be a bit of an uphill battle, and potentially you feel overwhelmed.
Below we have put together our ultimate ‘teacher starter kit’ for modern classrooms that you’ll need for best results this year. This kit is filled with the kinds of e-learning tools and tech education solutions, designed to cut through the clutter, to improve education, and to make life today as a teacher, educator and student as easy and as rewarding as possible.
Interactive whiteboards, like SMART Boards, have revolutionised the traditional classroom experience in a way that wasn’t ever previously possible.
Allowing you to use the whiteboard in the same way you would have used a traditional whiteboard option, but extending it with multimedia, effortless digital collaboration, and the ability to permanently save anything created on the whiteboard. As well as to tag, file, and recall those saved resources at any point in time, and so much more. A SMART Board opens a world of educational opportunities that didn’t previously exist.
With SMART Boards, it’s possible to diagram and draw the molecular structure of a specific element or the anatomy of an animal that your class is studying. Then, at the same time, on the same interactive whiteboard, video chat with an expert in that field so that they can further expand upon and enrich the educational experience that otherwise would have been very disjointed.
With plug-ins, add-ons, and other pieces of tech education hardware integrating perfectly with a SMART Board there are no limitations to what these tools can add to a classroom and the positive impact that they offer is immeasurable.
A Google Drive account
The beautiful thing about digital educational resources is that they can be effortlessly updated on the fly and distributed to your students without having to spend a small fortune on new textbooks. Whereas in the past, you would have had to wait for those resources to be printed and released while getting the “green light” from administration to secure those resources for your students, which has always been an arduous task for most educators.
However, by setting up a Google Drive account for the express purpose of distributing new resources with the latest up-to-date e-learning materials. You can provide supplementary materials to your students and it is probably the easiest way to make sure that ALL of your students have access to these materials wherever and whenever they may find themselves in need of them.
Google also makes it easy to collaborate on group projects inside of Google Drive and the Google Office suite of cloud-based MS Office alternatives. Helping you to set up group projects and allow for online submission of homework, assignments, and so much more.
A Google Classroom account
A Google Classroom account is an entirely FREE resource from the folks at Google for teachers and educators looking to create an online classroom experience for their classes that can supplement and expand the education your students are getting in the classroom. Google Classroom gives you a digital framework and foundation to build your digital classroom on. It’s as easy to use and integrate with other e-learning solutions as you could imagine.
Google Classroom work seamlessly with Google Drive, as well as tech education tools like SMART Board solutions, mobile applications (on Android and iOS devices) and can be extended with third-party plug-ins and downloads to offer even more flexibility.
Think of this as an “always available” digital version of your traditional classroom, which is a powerful tool to help your students get the edge in today’s ultra-competitive educational environment.
Slack is a powerful tool for online communication and collaboration. When you set up a free account for your students and your class group it makes facilitating projects online, and tracking their progress a whole lot easier as well.
Best of all, Slack works “right out of the box” and requires no tinkering, no tailoring, and no setup. The people behind Slack handle all of the maintenance and administration of the platform, providing you with a cloud-based communication tool that is easy and intuitive to use. It’s available on all internet-enabled devices that you, your fellow teachers, have access to.
Video conferencing and webinar solutions
Traditional field trips are inherently limited to your local region, but with video conferencing tools and webinar solutions it’s possible to visit any location, any expert digitally, and any educational opportunity, literally anywhere in the world; in a way that just couldn’t have been pulled off successfully before.
It’s also easy to bring in outside experts, teachers, and educators with video conferencing and webinar tools to help teach your students. A powerful resource that can supplement the curriculum you are providing.
Rather than use a traditional projector and be limited to the two-dimensional slides or transparencies they require. Teachers today are using SMART Boards in conjunction with Chromecast hardware, smartphones, tablets and other displays to create a much more flexible, much less expensive and much easier to use projection solution.
Anything that can be displayed on a smartphone, tablet, or computer can also be shared via Chromecast or SMART Board. Opening up a world of digital resources, live and recorded video, as well as collaborative tools that couldn’t have been introduced to the classroom as quickly and successfully in the past.
The tools and technology highlighted above are some of the most powerful e-learning solutions teachers, and educators can leverage right now. All of them are flexible and adaptable enough to give you the ability to tailor them to the curriculum.
At the same time, they are powerful tools that have been deployed successfully by teachers serious about improving the education for the students they are responsible for.
We live in a very disruptive time right now, with the modern educational landscape shifting and changing on a daily basis. With tools like the ones highlighted above, current teachers have a much better chance of reaching students that are tech savvy, collaborative, and creative. The kinds of students that may not survive, let alone thrive, in a more traditional educational atmosphere.
Use our “teacher’s survival kit” above to better prepare for these kinds of students for the world ahead of them!
If you would like to see how an interactive whiteboard might fit into your school call us on 1300 139 292