Back to School Technology
As schools across the country begin their new terms, new technology programs and creative ways to integrate emerging information systems into the learning process have taken center stage. The following three trending areas are offered by CleverBooks.eu as technology spaces to watch in education to understand how this integration is happening.
Cyber-bullying and other challenges for today’s youth: Cyber-bullying is not a new phenomenon itself, it has recently been shown that 42% of US students have been threatened online at least once, and that half of all victims fail to communicate their problems to teachers or parents. As schools slowly adopt 1:1 device spread or Bring-Your-Own-Device-programs (BYOD), more of these incidents occur within school hours and -facilities.
Secondly, there is student anxiety. Partially due to the era of high-stakes standardized testing (compare Jeremy S. Adams on The Educators Room) that treats students as an anonymous mass in a one-fits-all-approach, and the extreme stress often connected to that, students become increasingly prone to anxiety, fear of failing tests, fainting in class and seemingly insuperable mental blockades. Individual strengths are not often enough recognized and fostered by the prevalent systems, and students are falsely categorized as less capable than others upon generic criteria and assessment methods.
Data Analytics and Cloud Computing: The point where it becomes incredibly hard for the average, human educator to identify individual student’s strengths, weaknesses and problem areas, is the point where data analytics and algorithms come in. Tracking, monitoring and analyzing large pools of data allows conclusions regarding the holistic performance (and performance growth or decline) of single students, classes or schools in various fields, compare them and, for example, identify best practices.
Understanding your students better should be a constant aim of yours, simply because you as a teacher or parent care about them and their academic success. In the end, your success as a teacher will always be measured upon the basis of your students’ success. Like with every good research that aims to understand something better, the most consistent findings can be made through observable, empirical data, viewed and evaluated by an attentive researcher.
Cloud computing then on the other hand makes it possible to share this data online, view it from multiple devices at the same time and even open it up to parents or other relevant bodies, decreasing the risk of the accusations based on relative truth occurring. Software like Google Classroom allows you to share tasks and answers, homework and other data with your student so it is accessible from home, ending the times of homework “getting eaten by dogs” and allowing direct access to and sharing of online resource in classroom discussions.
Creative Makerspaces as Back to School: Creative Makerspaces, also called FabLabs, Hackerspaces or similar, are workshop-like areas that allow students to explore their own capabilities and fantasy with the help of most innovative technological equipment. Often used as creative business environments for start-up founders and innovators to gather around and generate the ideas of tomorrow, the same kind of collaborative, tangible experience revolving around creating and inventing can be achieved in schools. 64% of middle school students believe that technology makes their learning more interesting, and an environment that acts like a library equipped with a 3D-printer, a range of creative computer software and hardware and other equipment for creative arts like drawing or sculpting therefore can be of incredible value.
With the adoption of STEM-policies in many countries in recent years, makerspace should be given additional attention, especially when they can be combined with ILEs and Mixed Reality Tech. An accessible learning environment that motivates intentional play and “safe risk”, one that is inclusive and flexible and based on most innovative technology holds the potential to draw huge numbers of kids towards science and technology, topics which can be so hard to make interesting for teachers, can be so much fun to explore when the right visualization techniques are used.
As described above, technology integration into the modern classroom can go far beyond computer labs. Data collection and sharing can optimize and perhaps one day customize the educational experience for young students.