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In the past, a film projector was the height of technology in schools. Today, teachers have technology at their fingertips on a daily basis. What are these tools and how are they being used? This video lesson will bring you up to speed on classroom technology tools.

Educational Technology Today

Educational technology is a term that refers to technological tools used in instructional settings. The range of these tools is wide, from machines such as computers to media devices like iPhones.A lot has changed with educational technology in the past 20 years. Teachers used to be glad to have one or two desktop computers. These days, students use tablets, teachers flow from document camera to podcast with ease, and technology is a staple in the classroom.

Educators once used technology as a supplement; now it is standard. It seems that as soon as we get trained on one new product, another one pops up that is even better, faster, and more necessary. From computers for emailing, grading, and lesson planning to tablets for reading and projectors for lecturing, teachers today are more reliant on technology than ever.Clearly these tools are important, so let’s explore the two main categories of educational technology: instructional tools and student resources.

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Instructional Tools

Think back to your grammar school days. Did your teacher play soft music as you worked on an in-class reading assignment? Were videos and other visual graphics part of your daily instruction? Or were you like many of us, watching the occasional movie on the shared TV wheeled in and out of the classroom when needed?Unlike a couple decades ago, today’s teachers have an abundance of ways to engage students using technology. Most classrooms today are housed with tools that aid in instruction.

Perhaps the most standard of educational tools are computers, including desktop and laptop computers. Yes, computers have been around for ages, and we all probably had them in our classrooms as students too. But now, it’s standard for classrooms to have a set of computers in frequent use by students. These computers don’t provide just bonus activities for students – they serve as a teaching and resource tool that students visit on a daily basis to look up information, type reports, and reinforce skills.Another common feature in the classroom these days is a modern take on the whiteboard. An interactive whiteboard is a device that lets teachers show content to all students at the same time and interact with that content.

These attention-grabbing devices have a large screen and come in two main types: a projector and screen combination controlled through a touch pad or a standalone touch screen device that needs no projector or separate touchpad. With interactive whiteboards, teachers can take their students on a virtual field trip, show math computations, give a PowerPoint presentation, show a video, and play an interactive mapping game all in the course of a day.The last instructional tool we will discuss is the document camera, an image-capture device used for whole-class visual presentations. It’s similar to an overhead. With a document camera, the teacher places a document under the camera, which enlarges it and flashes it on a screen. Teachers can use document cameras to demonstrate math computations, enlarge text for whole-group reading, and even correct homework.

Student Resources

Now let’s move on to student resource tools. Today’s students handle technology as a daily habit.One popular tool today is the tablet. Tablets are computer-based tools that respond to input through the screen instead of a keyboard or mouse. They’re typically small (about the size of a notebook) and contain books for students to read and games to practice applying learned skills and knowledge, as well as a place to take notes, tests and respond to learning.

They can often be connected to the interactive whiteboard and used as an additional instructional tool.Associated to the tablet are apps, which is short for ‘applications,’ that are downloaded onto a device. There are a wide variety of apps students can use to aid in learning, such as learning-focused games and tools for skill improvement. Apps often have a check-in system that allows teachers to view what students are doing on the app, providing feedback about what students understand. Sometimes, apps give quizzes or tests and grade them automatically.

Some textbook series have apps as a supplement, allowing teachers and students to connect in-class learning to games, practice work, and tests electronically.Last but not least among our student resources are clickers. A clicker is a response system used by students to provide instant feedback to teachers. They’re usually about the size and shape of a small remote control.

They’re used to answer questions or give opinions. The data is sent to the instructor and can be used for assessment or participation grades.

Lesson Summary

Technology is booming in today’s classrooms. Teachers and students have access to countless technology tools that help them instruct and learn. Three top teacher tools include the interactive whiteboard, computer, and document camera.

Student learning is supplemented with tablets, clickers, and apps. While no technology is capable of replacing teachers in the classroom, technological advances in educational tools have made instruction more engaging and interactive than ever.

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