Recent trends in educational technology

Technology is everywhere. It is ubiquitous and has the capability of connecting us to others within a matter of seconds.

As we become more interconnected through the use of different technologies, the more technology is being integrated into classrooms and curriculums across the United States.

Integrating technology in classroom instruction is more than just teaching basic computer skills—it is an effective way to further enhance the learning process across the board.

According to the U.S. Department of Education, technology ushers in fundamental structural changes that can be integral to achieving significant improvements in productivity.

School systems across the country are implementing “Bring Your Own Technology” initiatives, allowing students to bring their individual technologies to work on in the classroom.

Blended Learning

According to the US Department of Education’s Office of Educational Technology, “In a blended learning environment, learning occurs online and in person, augmenting and supporting teacher practice. This approach often allows students to have some control over time, place, path, or pace of learning. Blended learning often benefits from a reconfiguration of the physical learning space to facilitate learning activities, providing a variety of technology-enabled learning zones optimized for collaboration, informal learning and individual-focused study.”

Schools are implementing blended learning into their curriculums differently.

In order for blended learning initiatives to prove a success, the curriculum used within the classroom has to be designed in such a way to allow technology to supplement what students are already learning. Blended learning is a success when there is a common goal that both the student and teacher work towards together.

Founded in September 2006, Khan Academy is a non-profit educational organization that allows students and teachers to supplement what has been taught within the classroom through practice exercises, instructional videos and personalized learning.

Khan Academy provides tutorials and supplemental material in most every subject for every grade level—math by grade, computer science, economics, science and engineering, as well as SAT, MCAT, and AP exam test prep. The best part about it is it’s free.

Google and the Classroom

Chromebooks

        Chromebooks are becoming widely used within the classroom for many reasons. First, they are a more cost-effective alternative compared to an iPad. Chromebooks cost about $200 compared to the iPad at around $400. Chromebooks are known for their durability and the integration of Google Apps for the Classroom.

Google Classroom

        Google Classroom is a free platform that integrates Google Apps for Education with widely-used Google Apps—including Google Docs, Gmail and Calendar. Google Classroom allows for less paper, easier turn-around, enhanced communication and organization and is free for those who use. Teachers can set up individual classrooms for each period of students they teach and within a matter of minutes, post homework assignments and reminders for their students.