Many school supplies are going the way of the abacus. Many classrooms today are substituting (pun intended) their standard means of teaching with new high-tech options. In our April 23 blog we discussed how Minecraft is being used in the classroom, today we will introduce you to some other ways kids are interacting with technology in the classroom.
The iPad was the catalyst for all of the new technology in the classroom. Say so-long to your old-school spiral notebook and pick up your very own iPad. Kids get to replace all of their heavy books with eTextbooks, and they get to use educational apps for an interactive means of learning.
TI-Nspire Graphing Calculator
Old Graphing Calculators get the boot for the new and improved version. Goodbye to our good-ol’ Texas Instruments TI-84, we had some good times. Hello to the new (and more colorful) TI-Nspire. Still made by Texas Instruments, this sleeker version of a graphing calculator lets you save your work, recharge the battery, and connect with other users, in a much more user-friendly interface.
Gone are the days of learning a new language from CDs, or if we are going way back dare I say… cassette tapes? Introducing the adorable Duolingo, with a friendly owl (what grade student doesn’t love owls?) and kid-friendly interface. It is estimated that tens of thousands of public school students are using the app, and it is actually working! An independent study by the City University of New York estimates that 34 hours “played” on the app is equivalent to a full semester of language studies at a university.
For those of you who played Oregon Trail, your days of dying of dysentery are over! SimCityEDU teaches kids responsibility by being mayor of their own town, having to manage budgets, and settle disputes among the citizens.
Real Care Infant Simulator
Introducing the new and improved fake infant, now with a built in monitor to make sure you don’t leave it unattended for too long. It is programmed to cry at all hours of the day (and night) and can detect temperature levels (so don’t leave your fake baby in the car). Just like the old sacs of flour and the older versions of crying dolls, these infant simulators are teaching seventh graders the challenges of childcare.
The future is finally upon us! Chalkboards are being replaced with SMART boards, which are large, wall-mounted touch-screens. The boards are designed to increase social interaction and create a collaborative learning environment. With over 1 million boards installed in the US alone, SMART boards are the future of classrooms.
I don’t know about you, but my favorite part of class was when the fat TV was rolled in on the squeaky cart. It was certain that we were going to watch the most outdated and boring video, but it also meant we didn’t have to listen to our teacher or really pay any attention at all. Well the days of antiquated videos with warped sound are over. Teachers are using digital projectors and YouTube to present students with current and interesting video content.
You may be saying to yourself, “Where was all this stuff when I was a kid?” But the real question is, what will all of this technology do to children’s developing brains? We live in a world where immediacy is expected and knowledge is available at your fingertips. The only way to know the effects of all this technology in the classroom is to give it time, and see how the youth of today develop into productive members of society (hopefully).