Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Technology is the Future

Technology is the future of classrooms and is currently a prevalent part of our world and our day to day life. People use technology to communicate, learn, explore, and for entertainment; the majority of time people don’t even realize they are using it. Technology is an idea was once new to people and has only really erupted in the last 20 years, but within those last two years some of today technological leaders have paved the way for technology to help us in ways many would never have dreamed. A lot of the tools being created in today’s day and age are being geared to helping communicate information most importantly in classrooms. Some of the most helpful tools that have been introduced in the last decade are Turning Point and Animoto.

Turning Point is a great quizzing or polling tool that operates a lot like PowerPoint. Teachers constantly need to test the knowledge of students and to see how well students comprehend information as well as which techniques are working for students. Turning Point gives teachers a new and innovative way to address both of these things. The actual questions are created on a Power Point looking slide and have multiple choice answers, students can then select their answers by clicking the corresponding letter on a clicker that they all have. Each one of these clickers has a code on it that will register with the program so a teacher can track what student’s answers are. Teachers can make Power Points with the Turning Point program and have places in the power point where they have a mini quiz to test the student’s knowledge on what they have learned so far. This is a great way to get students to pay attention during lecture times and teachers can always count these quizzes as participation and not as a full quiz grade.  Teachers can also create review games and review sessions with this program. If teachers create quiz or test like questions they then can present them to the class in a fun way and track who gets what right then tally up the points at the end to see how each person did. This could be a group quiz game too. A teacher could create a “who wants to be a millionaire” style game and have only two clickers going at a time to see who gets it right. The teacher can have the class be in teams and have only one person come up at a time. The reward for this type of game could be extra credit points or even just bragging rights either way it makes reviews a lot less intimidating.

The great thing about Turning Point is that you can have it highlight the correct answers after you have allotted the amount of time you want to give that specific question. In addition of giving the correct answer it gives a statistical breakdown of the answers students chose so the teacher can gage what the students were thinking and address miss communications that might arise. This type of tool makes quizzes seem less intimidating to students and allows them a new fun way to take quizzes rather than paper and pencil style. 

Animoto is another great tool to use when it comes to teaching. Animoto is a video making program that creates professional quality videos in seconds! The program is all online so there is never a conflict with it not working the same with a Mac vs. PC. Animoto is great because it makes video making simple even for the most non tech savvy people out there. When you log in to the site you can create a video in just seconds by choosing a theme, pictures (ones provided or your own), music (provided or your own), and text when all of that is chosen you can reorder things and the site will produce the video itself. Once the video is made you are free to share it or embed it to another site/page. 

For teachers Animoto is the perfect way to get students hooked on a new topic. A majority of the time when teachers introduce a new topic it starts with “get out your workbooks” and for a student that just kills the moral one has and makes everything mundane. However if a teacher made a short video of  clips and pictures that give a sneak peak at the new topic it would entice the students to want to know more and leave them hanging. Students are going to react better to videos in schools today because they are exposed to so much tv and internet that they live their life around that type of media. For teachers being able to put the information on a level the kids can relate to will help the students better understand and connect with all the important information.