Back To School: 10 Technologies To Watch

Back To School: 10 Technologies To Watch image schoolBack To School: 10 Technologies To WatchFrom kindergarten classrooms to college amphitheaters, technology is changing the way teachers teach and students learn. If Web-connected laptops and PCs were the tech gateway in schools, new tools weave technology into the very fiber of education.

Here are 10 tech tools and platforms that are changing the face of American education:

  1. MOOCs: MOOCs, or massive open online courses, provide content from some of the most prestigious colleges and universities in the country for low (or sometimes no) cost. Coursera is a leading provider, making available everything from Wharton’s Introduction to Financial Planning course to the University of Rochester’s Music of the Beatles.
  2. Social media: Students and teachers alike are using social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter to collaborate, communicate, exercise writing muscles (it’s not easy to express a message clearly in 140 characters, after all), to improve reading comprehension, and much, much more. Perhaps one of the most important uses of social technology is as a tool for teaching computer literacy and online safety.
  3. Smartphones and tablets: With their long battery life and abundant education-focused apps, smartphones and tablets deliver (especially in a BYOD model) on what laptops and PCs only promised.
  4. Adaptive software: Learning software, especially when delivered via the cloud, adapts to effectively meet the changing needs of students and classrooms.
  5. Big data management tools: You’ve heard about big data in business and research. Education is another area where big data will likely make a huge impact by revealing patterns that are otherwise impossible to detect.
  6. Wearable technology: Smartwatches and other wearable technology (including, notably, Google Glass) will take the idea of anytime/anywhere computing to new heights in education. Organizations of all sizes and in all industries have expressed concern about wearable technology—and rightly so. But, used with care, wearable tech has great potential.
  7. Flipped classrooms: Schools and colleges are leaving the lectures outside the classroom doors to make time for collaborative activities that encourage critical thinking. Enabling the flipped classroom includes everything from broadband in the home to teacher-authored blogs to Kahn Academy videos and more.
  8. Student response systems: Student response systems, often used in conjunction with interactive whiteboards, are expanding in use, providing new ways for students to more actively engage in daily lessons and activities.
  9. Gamification: What kid (or grown-up) doesn’t like games? Game mechanics have been a mainstay of computer-based learning for many years, but the technology is now being built into a bigger variety of applications, including social networking and productivity apps.
  10. E-portfolios: E-portfolios provide a way for students to show what they know and how they have grown. The portfolios, which can be built on a variety of platforms (including some you may already have on your desktop), can be extended into the workplace as well.

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