15 Unique Ways To Use Technology In The Classroom

Kids love technology. Most of them would rather be grounded for a week than be cut off from their smartphones and tablets for a day. Savvy teachers can harness this love of technology to enhance the learning process and make the school day more enjoyable for students – and themselves. Here are some unique ways to use technology in the classroom.

1) Use Polling Applications To Get Student Feedback

With the use of great applications like PollDaddy and PollEverywhere, you can create customized polls. You can use these polls to find out if one or more students is struggling with a topic so you can give them extra help or adjust your lesson plans.  They can even answer the polls on their smart phones! This is a great way to allow a student to let you know he or she is having some trouble without having to raise a hand and ask questions out loud. If you like the idea of using smartphones in the classroom, you can even use a more sophisticated app like Socrative to create quizzes that your students can take on their smartphones.

2) Bring In Virtual Guest Speakers

Using conferencing apps like Skype and Facetime, you can bring in guests from all over the world to present to your students. Nothing will create excitement in the classroom like an expert from another part of the country – or the world – as a virtual guest in their classroom.

3) Group Projects Made Easy

Harness the power of Google Drive to facilitate work on group projects.  Students can share and edit documents for group projects without the hassle of having to work out the logistics of getting everyone together outside of school hours.

4) Take A Field Trip Without Leaving The Classroom

Field trips are expensive, and many schools just don’t have the budget to send students on trips outside their immediate area. There are a whole host of apps that will allow students to explore famous buildings and landmarks all over the world from right in the classroom.

5) Calendaring

Using a program like Google Calendar, you can put your entire syllabus online so your students know what to expect from tomorrow’s lesson, and they’ll have a handy reminder of assignments that are due and important dates to remember. Since parents will be able to access this calendar, they’ll be kept up to date on assignments and activities as well. In addition to helping students and their parents stay on top of things, this will also allow you to make sure you’re assigning a volume of work that is challenging but not unreasonable, and help you stay organized.

6) Keep Fast Workers Engaged

If you’ve got a couple of students who always finish their work before everyone else, set up a few devices with educational games, videos or projects for those students to use whenever they finish their assignments early.

7) Spice Up Presentations

Add multimedia elements to your presentations. Video clips and web-based content will hold students’ attention better than a static text-and-graph PowerPoint presentation.

8) Record Important Lessons

No matter how hard they try, students aren’t going to catch every little thing you say. If you’re presenting a difficult concept or lesson, record it. That way students can go back and relive the lesson to catch what they missed the first time, or to help them study for the next exam.

9) Social Networking For Education

Lore is a new social network that allows students and professors to communicate with each other on a platform very similar to Facebook. Students can “follow” their teachers on the network, and teachers can post subject matter above and beyond that which is covered in the classroom to deepen the students’ learning experience.

10) Grading Apps

Grading multiple choice tests by hand is tedious and time consuming. Apps like ZipGrade can do the work for you. You just scan the tests with your smartphone and the app does the heavy lifting. Of course you’ll still want to look at the results to see if there is one area where students are struggling, but you don’t have to carve out hours of your time to hand-grade these types of tests.

11) Flashnotes

This is an innovative app that allows students to upload their class notes and sell them to other students who might have missed a lecture or who just need a bit more information than what they put in their own notes. It has a rating system similar to Uber, which allows the best note takers to get more business. The idea is that taking excellent notes will pay off not only in a better exam score but in actual cash. Who doesn’t love cash?

12) Accommodations For Hearing-Impaired Students

Hearing-impaired students can employ the use of technology which converts the teacher’s spoken word to text which appears on a tablet or smartphone. SmartHear, Deaf Helper and Petralex Hearing Aid are a few of the best-rated free smartphone apps.  These allow the teacher to move around the classroom without worrying that a lip-reading student will miss what is being said.

13) Plagiarism Scanners

When grading essays, it’s difficult to be confident that you haven’t missed a “borrowed” paragraph. Many plagiarism scanners are out there to identify passages which have been copied from published work. Some, such as Viper, can also identify misattributed quotes.

14) Grading Assistants

Grading an exam or essay by reading top to bottom and deducting points for incorrect answers, poor grammar or insufficient information and then going back and doing a tally of deductions, then assigning a letter grade is a very time-consuming process. Apps like Grade Ticker keep track of the point deductions on the fly so you can calculate the grade as you go along. When you are done with the exam, you don’t need to go back and figure out how many points have been deducted and assign a letter grade. The app does that for you.

15) Test-Making Apps

There are a host of test-making applications – some free, some not – that enable teachers and professors to easily create beautifully formatted exams for print, as well as interactive exams that can be taken and graded online. Some, such as Go Conqr, have crowd-sourced libraries of tests and resources and access to an online community of other instructors.

Technology, if used correctly, can make the classroom a more interactive, enriching and enjoyable experience. Consider the above 15 tips to enhance your classroom for your students.