SPECIAL GUEST POST: Andrea Erins "How Technology is Evolving for Students"

How Technology is Evolving for Students

These days, most students have access to the internet wherever they go. Between home computers, mobile devices, and school laptops, the way students learn is evolving just as quickly as technology itself. Here are some ways that technology is evolving to better suit students’ needs.

Blackboard Learn – This is a fantastic tool with a number of capabilities for course management. On a course website, teachers can post handouts, study guides, and PowerPoint presentations for those who miss class. Discussion forums allow students to ask a teacher questions and to help each other learn collaboratively. Teachers can also post grades and give feedback on work. The website even provides space to save group projects. For a classroom, Blackboard can be just as interactive as Facebook.

School Blog – Forget the school newspaper. Many school journalism classes are now turning to blogs to publish the traditional school newspaper. This is a great opportunity to teach students some basic skills in online publishing and design software, which will certainly be valuable for a future career in journalism. Use of social media to promote the newspaper will likely get more students to read it, and it’s a great way to go green

Mobile Apps As more and more students get iPod Touches, iPhones, iPads, and similar “smart” devices, a number of applications have been developed to improve their educational experience. For schools that want to integrate such devices into the classroom, an iTunes app called SafeBrowser sets parental controls and an internet search filter. Students can download study tools such as flashcards, reference pages, and review games. They can even download classic books or the complete works of Shakespeare.

eReaders – With the extortionate price of textbooks, it’s no wonder that students are beginning to turn to electronic textbooks, or eTextbooks, as a cheaper alternative. If a student wants to make notes on a certain section, they can always print out the pages they need – although many eReaders already have basic highlighting and note-making capabilities. In the future, students may carry a single eReader to all their classes rather than a stack of heavy textbooks.

Online Learning – Online colleges aren’t the only schools on the internet these days. Many public K-12 schools are utilizing cyber and virtual e-learning platform. This may be a good alternative for a student who has severe allergies or other medical issues, who doesn’t want to go back to school because of violence or bullying, or whose parents want to homeschool but don’t feel capable. Classes may be synchronous with those at a school, or they may allow the student to have his or her own schedule.

Applying for College – College admissions offices are now using social media to appeal to high schoolers as they decide which college to go to. Many colleges have a Facebook page for prospective students to post questions answered by current students. Others have interactive websites where you can read student blogs about the school. Even the application process has gone tech-savvy: instead of the traditional application essay, some colleges offer students the option of submitting a YouTube video about themselves.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Andrea Erins has been a college professor for 13 years and likes to write about various topics related to education. She is the owner of the site www.mastersineducation.com

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