Quick Look: 5 New Technologies In Classrooms Today

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Quick Look: 5 New Technologies In Classrooms Today

contributed by Jenn Smith

We associate creativity with art, storytelling, and music. Yet virtually every science and discipline involves creativity in some way. To this end, ensuring students are exposed to avenues of creativity remains key even outside of art hour.

Considering most kids today can’t fathom a world without smartphones and other computer-driven technology, it’s a good idea for educators to seize on technology as much as possible. With limited school budgets it’s not always easy, but with every passing year, it becomes more and more feasible for school systems to be outfitted with tech.

Teachers are increasingly able to use the following technological resources to not only educate in general, but to help students ignite their own creativity.

Quick Look: 5 New Technologies In Classrooms Today

1. 3D Printing

It’s hard to believe consumer grade 3D printer technology has arrived. Through the use of an easy to learn 3D design app connected to a printer, students can create practically any object they envision. It’s by far one of the more exciting ways to learn these days.

There are many ways to use 3D printing to teach. At the root of all of them is the act of creating an object. 3D printing can help students grasp the creative thought processes behind structural engineering, molecular modeling, and industrial design. Better yet it proves it’s possible to turn abstract, albeit practical ideas into real world objects and systems.

2. Tablets

Using tablets in the classroom probably sounds like old hat advice. While basic math and reading lessons are no doubt in play, when it comes to lessons in creativity, teachers aren’t doing enough to utilize these highly interactive devices.

For instance, tablets make for great tools in basic video post-production, allowing for students to create their own visual reports complete with labels, titles, and graphics. Tablets, specifically iPads, are also excellent for introducing students to music composition, providing a visual way for students to understand melody, rhythm, and lyric writing.

3. Drones

Many schools are investing in drones for teachers to borrow and use with their students. When it comes to creativity, what do drones have to offer? Altered perspectives of seemingly familiar places and things seems to jumpstart creativity in people. (Here’s an entry-level drone you can practice with before stepping up to something more expensive.)

Taking a drone up into the air, students can see footage of their school and city from a bird’s eye view. This opens up their minds to notions of spatial reasoning and re-enforces the concept of object permanence – critical to the healthy development of creative thought.

4. Virtual Reality

We aren’t quite at the point where teachers can take their class on a field trip 5,000 years into the past, but virtual reality is certainly coming along. Smartphones are now being optimized to provide users with a VR experience not unlike the stuff of science fiction.

With a virtual reality optimized smartphone attached to a VR headset or Google Cardboard, students can experience life as a blood cell or comet in space. Similar to the perspective shifting power of drone technology, a VR experience can open a child’s mind up to the possibilities of a world from multiple points of view. They leave the experience with a better grasp of how the many systems of the world are different, as well as how they are the same.

5. Video Games

Tell a class they’ll be playing a video game for the next hour and a half and they’ll likely jump for joy. Indeed, games (like Plague, for example) are a great way to teach problem-solving and creativity, but not always in the way you might expect.

It turns out there are a variety of video games geared towards teaching students about computer programming. They are designed to emphasize the creative control of a computer programmer. A million – perhaps a billion possibilities are possible starting from the first line of code. Students have only their imaginations and coding skills to act as limits.

Conclusion

Technology in the classroom is undoubtedly a wonderful thing–or can be integrated properly.

It can be harnessed to empower students with their own creativity, by showing the connection between ideas and results. If you’re a teacher lucky enough to work in a district with a big budget for tech, don’t hesitate to use it to the advantage of your students, especially in the pursuit of creative thought.

Quick Look: 5 New Technologies In Classrooms Today

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