It is amazing as an adult to walk into a modern day classroom. They are simply so different from those in which we remember learning. The blackboards have replaced with whiteboards, the rulers have been replaced by smartphones, and in many cases the teachers have been replaced by robots! Just kidding (for some of my older readers who might actually be concerned). But it is not uncommon these days to see classes taught entirely or partially on computers. The amount of learning technologies which have found their way into the classroom is amazing. And they have helped facilitate teaching and student learning over the past decade. Some of these educational technologies are class websites, mobile devices, podcasts, and e learning products.
Class websites are a great and easy way for teachers to facilitate online learning. While traditional classes are still held, teachers have the opportunity to post additional educational material and even homework assignments on a website. In many cases, a college will allow students to look at all of their courses at the same time, on a site such as Blackboard. This helps students manage heavy course loads and manage all of their curriculum, resources, and assignments. The lesson plans from class may be available too.
Mobile devices have been useful classroom resource since the invention of clickers and smart phones. Clickers help to facilitate PowerPoint presentations which teachers often use to their benefit. Instead of writing notes on the blackboard as they teach the class, teachers can prepare their lesson plans ahead of time and click through notes and diagrams as they lecture. Smartphones such as the iPhone and the Droid are easy to bring into a class, and can house information, diagrams, and other tools which may be useful for student learning.
Podcasts are a cool new way for teachers to reach students remotely. Needing only a computer, microphone, and an internet connection, educators can post videos or audio recordings of their lesson plans. This is obviously a great tool for distance learning, or when a student is unable to make class. Many teachers make an audio recording of each of their traditional classes and post these online later for students to re-watch.
E learning is the new trend in educational technology. It is when students use computers to learn, typically accessing online curriculum resources through the internet, cloud computing, or software. Using e learning technology, entire classes can be taught without ever meeting in a traditional classroom. While this is great for distance learning, many topics such as health care education and business education require hands on instruction. Educators have created a hybrid between traditional learning and e learning called blended learning, which allows them to reap the time management and engagement benefits of online learning while still providing personal instruction.