It wasn’t long ago that the only high-tech equipment in most school classrooms consisted of an overhead projector and a television and DVD player. Today, there are technological teaching tools unimaginable just a decade ago, however, adoption of technology is frequently hampered by the lack of financial resources.
CenturyLink is trying to change that by providing grants for Arizona teachers to buy technology for their classrooms. In 2015-16, 11 schools received grants from $2,200 to $5,000. Projects included robotics, interactive whiteboards and a recording studio.
Here are some examples of how current technology is being used in classrooms.
A Texas intermediate school requires fifth-grade students to have phones donated by manufacturer HTC, according to a Huffington Post report. Phones are used for taking photos for reports, transmitting documents and using learning apps. A school in Illinois provides every sixth-grader a phone preloaded with math and science apps.
The days of scribbling addition and subtraction problems on a board with chalk are long gone. Wireless networked tablets allow each student to actively participate in a lesson while the teacher can view each student’s progress in real time. Tablets also allow students to use a virtually unlimited number of learning applications for classwork or homework.
Today 3-D printers are available for as little as $500, making them affordable for many schools. Three-D printing helps students learn about design principles and helps them think about different ways of interfacing with the world around them. An article in edutopia.org explains possible classroom uses for a 3-D printer include “printing speakers for iPods, teaching physical computing and fabrication, learning about aerodynamics by printing original toy drag racers, learning rapid prototyping, math and 3-D visualization and printing replacement parts for a robot.”
These have become indispensable tools for many classes. In addition to being able to replicate anything done on a computer monitor, the National Education Association explains the boards allow teachers to “integrate multiple items into a lesson plan such as websites, photos and music that students can interact with, respond to verbally or even write comments on the board itself.”
Interactive whiteboards facilitate multisensory learning, which research shows is the best way to fully engage students.
Robots of various types are currently in use in classrooms. They can be used for things like learning games and helping improve social interaction and communication for children with autism. An article on mashable.com explains five ways robots are helping children learn.
Software and apps
It would be impossible to list all the educations software and apps available. They range from programs to help teachers improve their classroom management to apps that help manage student records to games that help students learn language, math and science skills. In this article from scholastic.com, third-grade teacher Genia Connell lists 35 or her favorite free apps for teaching.
Do you know of a teacher that could use new technology in their classrooms? Teachers in public or private pre-K through 12th grade within CenturyLink’s residential service areas may apply for the grants. But hurry! Applications must be received by Jan. 12, 2017. Teachers applying are not required to be CenturyLink customers. Online submissions can be made here.