Get an immediate read of your classroom with an Interactive Response System. Students are engaged and you're creating a dyanimc new learning experience.
An IRS enables you to quickly assess whether all your students are keeping up with lesson material, since you'll see precisely how well each student is doing. That insight will help you adapt lessons based on test results or how students respond to your questions. Benefits to incorporating an IRS into your classroom are numerous. Among them, instant polling, eliminating "crowd psychology," because unlike hand raising, the ability to respond in private encourages honesty and individuality and most obviously--a fun and engaging learning environment is created in the classroom.
Nowadays a computer is considered an essential teaching tool, one few teachers could imagine living without. Networked computers are ideal, as teachers can access information from multiple stations in the classroom and throughout the school. Wireless notebook computers are the ultimate teacher tool, enabling round the clock access from school, field trips, your home or backyard.
This multipurpose peripheral covers a lot of bases. With a digital whiteboard and a projector, you can share anything from your computer desktop-websites, streaming video, Power Point slides, or simple Word docs-with the entire class.
You can also annotate, underline, circle and doodle all you like. The device will digitally capture your handwritten notes or drawings, so you can save them, integrate them with other programs, and even print them out. Which means you can record your lessons and step-by-step instructions for future use. Teachers can post or print material for review periods, for students who were absent, or for students who benefit from repetition and extra review.
Think of creative uses: Illustrate and record the steps to a math problem; demonstrate how to diagram sentences; display and annotate maps; navigate the Internet; integrate video clips into your lesson. These are just a few ways to capture students' attention and deepen their grasp of the content.
The interactive whiteboard connects directly to your PC or Mac, and works with a projector and screen. You can also use the surface as a touch screen. It's really very intuitive: If you can write on a chalkboard or flipchart and have basic computer skills, you can probably master this in an afternoon.
Think of these as mini digital whiteboards for students. A notebook computer that uses a digital pen rather than a mouse and keyboard, the tablet PC is highly intuitive. Students can take notes, do math problems, draw diagrams, mark up documents, doodle-all the things they'd do with a pencil and paper-and then store it all on their hard drive. You get the functionality of a laptop plus the user-friendly bonus of the writing stylus.
With convertible tablet PCs, the screen folds down onto the keyboard, just like a writing tablet. In this mode, students can use a stylus to write or draw on the display screen. Because students find it so natural to use, it quickly becomes second nature and fully integrated into their daily routine.
The next generation of the PDA, for multi-tasking teachers on the move. You can store grades and notes about a student's progress, surf the web, make appointments, manage your calendar, email and text-message, make phone calls, and even take photos. Part cell phone, part computer, these devices increase efficiency in ways teachers could only dream of ten years ago.
Creative uses abound: Teachers report using smart phones to upload student data onto their computers, and chart and graph it to see how students are progressing. One high school is using smart phones to do math-teachers use them to send instructions, students use them to network among themselves to figure out math problems, to play math games or even to watch an animation of a problem being solved. See the Survival Toolkit for more info on smart phones and other useful handheld devices.
Keep a digital camera in the classroom and you'll most likely use it on a daily basis. Emailing photos is a great way for new teachers to build instant rapport with parents. Think of creative uses: Record the different stages of a science experiment, go outside and capture examples of geometry in nature and architecture, chronicle class events and projects throughout the year. You can post photos periodically on the web and also at the end of the year in a culminating slide show.
Get kids in on the action too. As roving reporters they can take photos for a classroom or school newspaper and later upload and format them on the computer. Students feel more invested in their work when given creative control and the leeway to learn-by-doing when it comes to technical equipment. Just make sure to begin with a lesson about gentle handling of digital cameras and establish rules about use.
Video can add a whole new dimension to student multimedia presentations, teacher-led lessons and school-related websites. Look for new handheld camcorders with on-board software for easy uploading to your computer or to video-sharing sites. They're surprisingly affordable and a whole lot of fun!
For more information visit the "Digital Gadgets" section of Kathy Schrock's Guide for Educators:
Document cameras instantly display real-time images of any static or moving object onto an interactive whiteboard for your entire class to see. Imagine displaying a book as you highlight key sections or demonstrating a live science experiment!
Wireless technology is the ultimate way to integrate high-tech directly into the classroom. Portable wireless labs make sense for many districts. Make a case for getting your own school up to speed. Portable labs save space and money by sharing equipment throughout your school. Plus they give teachers and administrators greater flexibility when it comes to scheduling classes. Browse the CDW-G website for ideas. http://www.cdwg.com/ A typical wireless lab includes the following:
Multimedia software facilitates active, self-directed learning. Students can make connections and discoveries on their own or collaborate with others in the classroom. They learn how to integrate a variety of content from a variety of media to create effective presentations, and they learn how to sift through and process the barrage of information thrown at them on a daily basis. Multimedia is much more than bells and whistles-it is a new way of teaching and learning that encourages critical thinking, problem-solving, and communications skills.
Looking for a video clip to illustrate a key concept? Or to enliven a lesson on social studies, science, math, literature, fine arts or foreign languages? Discovery Education Streaming is just the ticket. You get what you want, when you want it-whether you're used to planning ahead or spur-of-the-moment. Discovery Education Streaming is a huge time-saver for teachers accustomed to scrambling around to find the right videos to fit the curriculum.
With thousands of high-quality curriculum-aligned clips for K-12, Discovery is the only digital video-based learning resource scientifically proven to increase student achievement. And it's one of the most convenient and efficient ways to integrate technology into your curriculum on a daily basis (if we do say so ourselves).
This program equips teachers with a variety of multimedia tools that increase students' level of understanding about concepts or processes. Engaging videos, simulations, and reading passages become the means to connect with students through their specific learning modality. Students connect concepts with their own life experiences and learn science process skills by designing and conducting virtual lab investigations, solving open-ended science mysteries called Science Sleuths, and much more.
Used effectively, technology can help schools create individualized learning opportunities for all students, making education more challenging for gifted learners and more inclusive for those with special needs.
Some students with learning disabilities have difficulty processing large amounts of text. Digital technology allows teachers to supplement text with other media conducive to a variety of learning styles, and allows students to express themselves in a variety of different ways. Integrating video clips with traditional lectures deepens students' understanding of the content and reaches a wider spectrum of learning styles than text and the spoken word alone.
Interactive whiteboards can aid those who have difficulty writing or benefit from repetition, as the teacher's notes can be digitally stored and printed out for later review. For group projects, using the touch screen on the whiteboard can be beneficial to those who favor tactile learning. Videotaping lessons and step-by-step instructions is helpful for all students, especially those inclined toward visual learning.
For other tips and resources, visit the Special Education Resources section of Kathy Schrock's Guide for Educators: