I was sitting in my astronomy class a couple years ago, expecting the same old boring lecture. I sat down, pulled out my computer and waited for the clock to strike 1:50. Then something weird happened. The professor came in, turned the lights off, and instantaneously the ceiling was filled with stars. Apparently, the university had purchased a star projector that shot out the image of our galaxy. Pretty cool stuff and it definitely got my attention from day one. We used the projector a few more times throughout the semester, but every other class was made a little more interesting just from the thought of it being so interactive. Students my age have been surrounded by technology growing up. We constantly had something to entertain us, except in the classroom. So when new technology is used in the classroom, it holds our attention. Instructional technology is becoming a hot topic in the teaching discussion. Here are some of the new technologies that are helping engage students while learning.
HD Projector: You knew this was coming. Projectors have been around for a while, but these new projectors are unbelievable. It’s not necessarily a technology that is new and out there, but if you project a galaxy on to the ceiling, I guarantee you’re going to have every student’s attention in that room. Not in an astronomy class? No problem. There are a million things you could project that would be engaging.
Tablets and Apps: For the past 4 years or so, tablets have exploded on to the scene and have dominated the way people use technology. The area that they are just creeping in to though is education. Tons of educational apps are coming out that can help all ages from early childhood to college. The obstacle is finding those apps to help kids learn. Using a tablet in the classroom would work better for younger kids, as that is where the bulk of the applications are targeting.
Touch Screen TV: A few years ago, touch screen TV’s were only in places that had a lot of money to burn and thought it was cool. Now, they’ve become more common, and can conduct lessons to a whole classroom instead of individually like tablets. Not to mention the fact that every child would be itching to get up and play with a touch screen TV. Lesson plans that are centered on one of these will grab the attention of any kid.
These are just a few of the different gadgets and ideas that are being introduced into classrooms around the country. They can be utilized in classrooms of all ages, and have a proven track record of increasing attention and participation. I know I was hooked in my astronomy class from day one just by the use of a simple projector. As technology evolves, student’s attention spans shorten. So teachers and professors must find new ways to grab their students to make them learn.