In the 21st Century technological advances have exploded. Schools have not been left out in these advancements. Classroom technology has become increasingly more popular. The following five technological tools are must haves for the classroom of today. Each tool provides teachers with a method to actively engage their students in the learning process. Today's students are digital natives and as such the use of technology in education has proven to be effective.
The Internet - The Internet is arguably the greatest technological invention of all time. The explosion of the Internet and its capabilities has provided a resource to teachers that just a generation ago was unimaginable. There are so many potential educational uses of the Internet that it is virtually impossible for a single teacher to tap into all of them. The advent of the Internet has allowed teachers and students to take voyages and adventures into realms that would not otherwise be possible. It provides information both good and bad to students with easier access than ever and it is just a click away. The information available to students online is vast. Teachers who use it appropriately can actively engage their students on a daily basis in ways never imagined a short time ago.
LCD Projector – A mounted LCD projector allows a teacher the opportunity to share activities, videos, Power Point presentations, etc. from their computer with the whole class. In the technological age an LCD projector is a must have in a classroom. It is a powerful tool, because it allows a single computer to become a powerful tool in a large group setting. A teacher can put an entire lesson together on a Power Point presentation and actively engage their students within the lesson by putting it up on the LCD projector. Research has proven that this generation of students respond to a technology based approach.
Document Camera – A document camera works in conjunction with your LCD projector. A document camera essentially has taken the place of the old overhead projectors. With a document camera, you no longer need transparencies. You simply put the document you want to show your students under the camera and it is shot up on the screen through your LCD projector. Once it is up on the screen you can use the camera to take a screen shot of the document and save it directly to your computer for later or you can just use the live version. A document camera also allows you to place diagrams, charts, textbooks, etc. on a large screen so that all your students can see the images, passages, etc. at one time. The camera also broadcasts in color, so if you want to show your students an example of a color wheel, they will see exactly what the original looks like.
Smart Board – Smart boards are becoming increasingly popular. Students love to interact with these technology based educational tools. A smart board takes the place of a traditional chalk board or white board. It is essentially a white board with technological capabilities that allow you and your students to interact in ways they had previously not been able too. Teachers can create engaging, active lessons using the many tools that a smart board provides. They can transpose diagrams, charts, and templates, have students come up and actively participate in the lesson, and then print anything such as notes that were done on a particular day and give them to students as a handout. Learning to use a smart board correctly does require some training, but teachers who use them regularly say that notice their students are enthusiastic when they create a lesson that implements the smart board.
Digital Camera – Digital cameras have been around for a while, but you don’t often find them used in a classroom setting. Today’s digital cameras also have video capabilities that could bring another dimension to your classroom. A digital camera could be used in a variety of ways to engage students in the learning process. A science teacher may have students take pictures of different trees that can be found within their community. They could then identify those trees from the pictures and build a Power Point presentation giving more information about each specific type of tree. A reading teacher could assign her students to act out one scene from Romeo and Juliet and then record that scene to play back and discuss different aspects of that particular scene. Teachers who use this technology find that students will work hard to learn because they enjoy the interaction with the camera and the fact that it is a different style of teaching and learning.