18 Smart Ways of Using Technology in the Classroom
Today, technology (particularly wearable tech) is more ubiquitous than ever before – touching all parts of our everyday lives, our homes, and our communities. But even with this fact, most schools are still lagging behind when it comes to using technology in the classroom. If anything, most learning institutions are only beginning to start exploring the real potential that technology offers for learning and teaching. Save for the few ‘elite’ schools that are always way ahead of the curve.
But one thing is undebatable, though. If properly used, smart technology can assist students to get the important skills that they need for surviving in a highly technological, complex and knowledge-based world.
And here we’re not talking about conventional computer studies. Using technology in the classroom means much more than just teaching the basic computer programs and skills in one computer class. Proper integration of technology in education, (unlike what we’re doing presently), is spreading the tentacles of tech across the whole curriculum in a way that it enhances and deepens the process of learning.
This Is Where Wearable Technology Comes In
In particular, wearable technology in education in one way or another supports the four main learning components: active engagement, group participation, regular interactions, and feedback, as well as enhanced connection to experts in the field. Thus, effective integration of technology in education will be achieved when using this tech becomes transparent and routine, as through wearables, and also, when the same technology is used to support curricular goals.
Why using technology in the classroom?
We’ve already seen how fitness wearables are helping people to enhance their health and lifestyles. However, what is going to be even more impressive is using technology in the classroom, with regards to deploying wearables as teaching aids. There are several ways that wearables can be used in the classroom to empower teachers to devote even more energy and time to enhancing student learning.
1. Letting technological devices help in covering the basics
Wearable technology in education could serve as an important tool for sharing an online learning curriculum without the need for being in class. In a simpler language, teachers can use class time to initiate engaging discussions and group projects to assist students to apply the information they are getting from their wearables. Also, by analysing each student, based on the data from the wearables, teachers can provide individualised instruction to improve understanding significantly.
2. Testing will no longer be an event
A quiz or test is an important part of learning as it helps in evaluating how well the students understand a certain subject. Traditionally, students had to wait until the end of a unit or month to get a test to know if they have fully mastered the content. But now, future classroom technology will allow for assessments to be built into the wearable tech and make it easy for teachers to monitor progress continually so that they can change lessons and also address problems quickly. Thus, wearables will help in running quick checks and providing personalised feedback to each student.
3. Wearables can be used to collect real-time data that will help personalise teaching
Presently, teachers are using technology in the classroom and blending the school curriculum with extra online content to enhance the overall learning process. That’s commendable, but sadly, just not good enough.
4. Enter the wearable scene
By analysing the data from each students wearables, teachers can easily empower those students who appear to understand fully the content and are ready to start moving forward, which will keep them always challenged. On the other hand, struggling students can also be noted and offered more help to ensure that the whole class is on the same level as far as knowledge and course coverage goes. Seems like the issue of some students lagging behind will now be left behind!
5. Automation of administrative tasks
We’ve already seen how wearables are great tools for collecting, analysing and recording data, particularly when looking at the highly effective fitness wearables available today. In education, wearables can easily allow for the automation of marking and grading of tests. Consequently, this can free up our teachers’ schedule and alternatively, they can spend most of their time planning, instructing or simply interacting with the students.
What Does the Future Classroom Technology Really Entail?
There’s no denying that teaching remains one of the most challenging modern professions. However, utilising future classroom technology will allow students to take on some of these challenges and allow educators to focus on what is most crucial – student learning.
We may not be at the level of being cyborgs with highly advanced wearables, but it is true that the wearable technology market has grown significantly over the last couple of years. It is expected that as more types of wearable devices continue being developed; we are going to see the wearable technology in many different sectors, including education. The main reason for the current surge of wearables is the consumer shift to embracing mobile technology. Here are few ways we expect the future classroom to look like:
6. Augmented Reality
Imagine reading a book that comes alive and becomes more interactive, rather than just plain boring text. Wearables will help in making learning visible through Augmented Reality or AR. Educators are aware that learning deepens through listening and reading as well as through interacting and creating. With wearable AR products like Aurasma and Elements 4D, students will be able to combine and manipulate several elements of text, instead of simply reading about them.
7. Wearables offer facial recognition possibilities
One of the important objectives of any educational curriculum is to make students feel much more included and welcome to participate in the communal learning process. And future classroom technology may come in pretty handy in this regard. Consider a teacher using wearables to be able to call each student by their actual names through an inbuilt facial recognition app in her glasses. Regardless of the number of people in the lecture room, the teacher will always be aware of the exact student’s information and their profile. Teachers will also be able to track their student’s interaction and make relevant changes to their lectures to increase student participation.
8. Enhanced sports training with wearables
For a long time, athletes have been doing their own research on proper form and technique through YouTube videos and other relevant sources, and then complement with what they learn from coaches. Wearable technology in education will also extend to the field and allow students to enhance their sports training. Imagine using a training wearable that allows you to see a certain technique and then track your performance as you try to perform the same movements. You can even have a coach’s voice integrated into the application to make the experience more natural and motivational. Sounds like an idea borrowed from Zepp Golf clubs, right?
9. Enhanced learning applications
While learning apps may not be something new, wearable technology in education will help in utilising them in a new way for teaching students. Applications are the heart of technologies, whether wearables or smartphones. For instance, an app like Mathway can give answers to mathematical problems but won’t show how the problems are solved. Another app like the Streetmuseum allows students to take a walk through London and see how the area looked like in the past. These are only a few examples of the numerous applications currently being altered to work with new technology and wearables.
10. Wearables will enhance safety
Supporters of wearables believe that the safety benefits is among the main reasons of why using technology in the classroom, particularly for recreating potential dangerous experiments. For instance, students study chemistry in Edinburgh may directly witness an electron collision from an actual scientist sharing the information with the classroom through wearables like the Oculus Rift.
11. Better navigation around campus
Getting lost in school is a common problem for new students, particularly in expansive institutions such as big universities. In this regard, wearables either worn as bracelets, necklaces or devices placed inside the students’ clothes can be used to offer navigation services within the campus. For instance, in a campus that has developed several new buildings over the years, students are bound to get confused about how to reach a certain part of the institution. However, with wearable techs like a smart watch, location monitor or any other smart device, students could easily find their way around the school and get to lessons on time.
The other safety aspect of wearable technology in education is that it offers a good way tracking students both at school and when going on a field trip. Through wearing a device like a bracelet (inspired by the popular Misfit fitness bracelets) student’s data relating to their location can be easily tracked with a real-time map.
How does technology affect education?
Using wearable technology to enhance student learning is changing the roles of both students and teachers in class. For instance, the teacher will now be more of an interactive designer who creates a rich classroom experience while the students will likely have several education-related wearables that enhance their ability of learning. Technology presents great opportunities for learning and below we look at various ways, both positive and negative, that it affects education.
12. Making Learning Visible
Creating innovations through experiments will be a lot easier as wearables continue making learning visible and also become more common among younger generations. The use of this technology in class will now aid students in performing experiments that were either too expensive or dangerous.
13. Making learning visible will make education more effective and fun
Wearables are making learning more visible, particularly if you consider the possibilities of virtual reality. In fact, Future Classroom technology will allow students the rare pleasure of visiting exotic locations without ever leaving their seats. Consider applications like Oculus Rift, that enables users to create a rich, virtual augmented reality, and you will realise how wearables will be very important for the education sector. University students learning political science could even visit various conflict zones around the world to gain a better understanding of the underlying influences of politics. All of this without ever leaving the campus!
14. Quick access to relevant information
Wearable technology education has the mammoth potential of enhancing the connection between teachers and their students through providing instant information access. There are already technological platforms that have been designed to assist with school interaction to homework assignments. Again, that’s all good. But adding wearable devices on such platforms will improve their impact significantly by allowing students to interact and share work or questions with their tutors and consequently get faster replies – all in real time! This kind of always-on-learning means that students will be more alert to any changes going on in the school, especially in regards to upcoming tasks or a class cancellation.
15. Students can get real-life skills by using wearables
While teachers play a key role in imparting knowledge to their students, sometimes learning from an expert in the field makes for a more engaging and rewarding learning experience. Future classroom technology using wearables will help remove the barriers linked to accessing knowledge. Consider using an AR wearable to assist students interact with industry leaders in their chosen fields and get first-hand information about whatever topic is being discussed in class.
The Possible Drawbacks of Introducing Wearable Technology to the Classroom
As much as wearables are likely to cause a major positive buzz in the education scene in a few years’ time, we can’t turn a blind eye to the fact that every good turn….will have it’s dark side.
16. Wearables can be a distraction
If a proper structure is not set up from day one about how the education-related wearables are going to be used during class, then the same assistive technology may be a distraction. Creating guidelines and expectations for students will be critical to the implementation of wearable technology in education if at all we want to reap the positive fruits of bringing tech to the students’ realm.
17. The possibility of disconnecting from social interaction
Well, it’s no secret that most people are often skeptical when it comes to the question of how technology affects the process of quality learning, particularly on matters surrounding the impact it will have on a student’s ability to communicate verbally. For instance, most teenagers are nowadays always on their phone Whatsapping, Instagramming, Facebooking et cetera. Who’s to say that they won’t be sucked in the void of the excitement that wearables will create?
However, a good way of overcoming this challenge is using wearable technology in collaboration and oral presentations when teaching. As a result, students will be more dynamic in how they communicate with others.
18. Technology may foster the ill culture of cheating
It is true that there is always a risk of students using their wearables to cheat on assignments or in class. Nevertheless, this situation will only occur if you lose hope on changing the attitudes of your students and only hand out subjective assignments, which require no perspective or thought. Something that is now long overdue.
Now… a Final Word on This
Since it is clear that integration of wearable technology in education is inevitable, it is no longer a question why use technology in the classroom, but instead how to perform it better for best outcomes. The implementation of wearable technology in education will require a commitment of both teachers and students to enhance subject retention. And with proper planning and deployment of wearables in class, educators can successfully start using technology to improve their teaching as well as making learning more enjoyable for students.