Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Learning first, entertainment second. Technology in the classroom.

Lots of talk lately has been whether or not technology can improve student learning.  I believe, when used correctly, technology can drastically improve understanding of concepts .  Using the virtual world destroys the boundaries we encounter in the physical classroom.  In all fields of education, we need to start using all tools available and not just the "traditional" tools that were around when we were in high school. 

When my SmartBoard was first installed in my class, I truly believed I was utilizing technology to its full potential everyday, by writing my notes on the SmartBoard.  Sadly, I have then realized all I had in my classroom was a glorified whiteboard.  This then caused to me think, "Even though I might have technology in my class, unless I am using it in a way that requires that certain technology, I am not using it correctly".

How do we utilize such technology?  Below are apps described by "eSchoolNews", and what the sites claims to be the top 10 iPad, iPhone, or iTouch apps.  The list could go on and on, as more and more educational apps are created daily.   No matter what technology we use, however, we need to be aware that its use should be promoting student learning and not just for entertainment.

Name: Word Lens
Best for: Language Classes
Cost: Free
Features: Instantly translates signage from one language to another through the camera application
How to Use: Language teachers can use this program for scavenger hunts
[2]Name: Molecules
Best for: Science Classes
Cost: Free
Features: Allows users to view and manipulate three-dimensional models of different molecules
How to Use: Visual learners can see how protein molecules are composed and can download new molecules from the RCSB Protein Data Bank
[3]Name: Blackboard Mobile Learn
Best for: Students and teachers whose campuses already use Blackboard
Cost: Free
Features: Course listings, organizations users are involved in as well as access to any readings
How to Use:Users can enroll in any classes or organizations that they have registered for and download any assignments there instructors have posted
Name: Today in History
Best for: History Classes
Cost: Free
Features: Lists notable events in history as well as important figures who were born or died on a specific date
How to Use:Use for trivia quizzes or facts of the day
[4]Name: Math Ref Free
Best for: Math Classes
Cost: Free
Features: A free version of Math Ref, this app offers 600 out of over 1,300 formulas, figures, tips, and examples
How to Use: Use as a formula study guide or to view graphs of different equations
[5]Name: PI83 Graphing Calculator
Best for: Math Classes
Cost: $0.99
Features: With over 100 math functions, the graphing calculator is a clone of the TI-83 without the $70 price tag
How to Use: Use in place of any calculator to input data, make graphs or matrices

[6]Name: Star Walk
Best for: Astronomy Classes
Cost: $2.99
Features: An astral telescope; Star Walk adapts its view to wherever the user holds it up to, highlighting constellations and planets
How to Use: Use for guided tours of the night sky or to find the location of any specific astral objects
Name: Cram
Best for: Anyone in need of test prep
Cost: $3.99
Features: Both teachers and students can create flashcards and tests and import and share them with others
How to Use: Use to study for standardized tests or exams, or create study materials for students
[7]Name: Essay Grader
Best for: Teachers pressed for time
Cost: $5.99
Features: Essay grader comes with a bank of pre-written comments and helps teachers cut down on grading time without writing the same comments over and over again by hand
How to Use: After assigning a grade, teachers can then eMail the grade sheet directly to the student or export it to the computer for editing and printing
Name: eClicker
Best for: Teachers looking for classroom feedback
Cost: $9.99
Features: Providing instant results, eClicker charts the class responses, showing which areas are understood and which need more work
How to Use: Students select a response to a question composed by the instructor and are then able to participate without fear of being wrong, since only the teacher views the results


  1. In my experience with the SmartBoard, I also noticed how it was used more as a 'glorified whiteboard.' Have you found ways to utilize your SmartBoard differently or more effectively?

  2. technology is progressing every day one day I'm afraid to catch up

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