Technology changing classroom landscape
by By DELANEY WALKER Banner Staff Writer
Jan 21, 2013 | 1739 views | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Yesterday’s past pictured space adventures, laser guns, robotic teachers and hover cars by 2000.

Although recent advances in technology have made predictions more fact than fiction, C3PO will have to wait a little longer before teaching a classroom of earthlings.

In the meantime, tablets, personal computers and a variety of websites are slowly changing the packaging of education in American public schools.

David Gluckner incorporates technology into his lessons at Cleveland High School.

“Technology definitely makes holding students’ attention easier,” Gluckner said. “...Instead of restricting iPhone, droid, spartphone, etc. use in the classroom, we can embrace these tools.”

“Students can download educational game applications to interact with the teacher’s device, as well as other students, and answer questions or participate in technical activities.”

Bradley County and Cleveland teachers have been urged to embrace technology in their classrooms. Grants have begun to provide iPads for teachers and students alike. E. L. Ross teachers recently participated in a two-day training session for project-based learning on their iPads.

Current curriculum ensures technology is a component of every student’s education in the two systems.

Gluckner predicted strides in technology today will pave the way for substantial changes tomorrow.

“Our high school is slowly becoming paperless since all teachers, and some students for specific classes, have been provided with iPads,” Gluckner said. “Over time, all schools will be using electronic textbooks and online textbooks in addition to utilization of websites such as Moodle, Edmodo and School Net.”

“Personally, I feel smart phones will be the essential tool in the classroom for textbooks, in class formative assessment, asking questions after school, keeping track of grades, etc.”

Interactive websites are changing the parameters in which teachers and students communicate. A common belief is students and teachers should not be “friends” on Facebook. Others say the social media platform provides much needed after school communication between teacher and student.

Edmodo is attempting to bridge the gap.

“Edmodo provides teachers and students a secure place to connect and collaborate, share content and educational applications, and access homework, grades, class discussions and notifications,” claimed the education-based social media site. “Our goal is to help educators harness the power of social media to customize the classroom for each and every learner.”

Shannon Cline, Cleveland Middle School In-Tech teacher, said her students have adapted well to Edmodo as the layout reflects the popular Facebook.

Melissa Adams, CHS business teacher, has widened her online selection to include Moodle, Quia and Jing.

A brief explanation of the three websites:

n Moodle: a learning management system designed to help teachers manage individual courses through forums, databases, and wikis among other activities

n Quia (Quintessential Instructional Archive): an online platform used for a variety of tasks, including online surveys, class web pages, online testing, and shared activities and quizzes

n Jing: snapshots and screen casts can be shared among peers and between students and teachers by capturing information on one device through either a picture or recording.

Students and teachers at Cleveland Middle School are getting creative with the help of Glogster and Voki.

Richelle Shelton, CMS student services coordinator, described Glogster as an educational Pinterest. Students can use the site to post all of their resources of a particular topic in one area. These resources include everything from Word documents to websites and pictures.

“Think of it as a huge poster board of everything you have made or learned about a particular topic,” Shelton said.

A Voki can be created to guide a viewer through a student’s Glogster board. According to Shelton, a Voki is an avatar students can create to look how they want. She said the avatars can be designed to interact with the user either through print or voice.

According to Voki.com, the interactive avatars are free for personal, non-commercial use. The avatars can be placed on a blog, social network profile and will soon be integrated in various instant messaging platforms.

Voki is only one example of how teachers are taking to the web to find instructive, interactive, fun and, oftentimes, free education supplements. The same innovative eye used in technology is also being applied to other aspects of the classroom.

Shelton said CMS teachers who attended a recent technology conference picked up on the idea of flipping the classroom. This technique involves switching the roles of classwork and homework.

“Teachers are considering flipping the class so that when children are at home they watch videos, read or listen to a lecture. Then traditional homework would be done in school so children have teachers to help them with their work,” Shelton said.

As technology advances it seems clear Bradley County and Cleveland schools are ready and willing to keep up with the fast pace development.

Robots need not apply.