There have been some great advances in the world of technology in the last several years and everyone is in a race to keep up. Everything from social media, electric cars and mobile devices have changed the way we do things in every day life. The consumer world is usually at the forefront of using these technologies followed by the business world. The education world is typically the last to adopt any new technology. Why is that?
Aside from funding, one of the main reasons for this is that educators must justify all of their decisions. Like any good academic, they must answer the all important question: why? Why do we need this technology? Why is it better than the last? Every decision has to solve a problem and enable teachers to do their job better.
Easier Content Sharing
Teachers and professors are always looking for an easier way to share content like PowerPoint presentations or web videos from any device (laptop, tablet or phone) to their classroom projector. Finding all of the right cables and adapters is a challenge and puts undue pressure on the educators who just want to walk in a room, put up their presentation and teach. Some great wireless content sharing solutions out there make this possible including Barco ClickShare and Mersive Solstice.
Connect with Students Anywhere
Students are on the move constantly today and the number of adult learners increasing is adding even more challenges to how teachers can connect with their students. Many educators used to think webcasting and recording of their lectures was giving students an excuse not to come to class or as something only done by non-traditional, online universities. While some teachers might still be hesitant to embrace it, students have come to expect that their schools at least provide this option as a supplement to their work in the classroom in case they missed something in their notes or if they had to miss a class for any reason. Mediasite from Sonic Foundry and 323Link are both great tools for capturing lectures.
If you have students working on a group project and they have team members traveling or with kids at home, it can sometimes be hard for them to hold meetings where everyone is present physically in the same place. Technology is a great way to bridge this gap. Skype calls can work for 1on1 communication and Google Hangouts can also suffice for simple group conversation. Another great video collaboration tool is Ubiety which offers a virtual meeting room for video calls where students can call in from the desktop, smartphone app or even just over an audio line.The students can even share screens to make collaboration more effective.
Technology doesn't need to be hard and it certainly can have utility. From the moment students wake up in the morning, they are engaging with the digital world. The more teachers embrace technology, the more they will be able to find ways to keep those students engaged.