The 21st century has seen an explosion of technological advancement, and schools have not been left out. Tools such as Smartboards and LCD projectors give teachers new ways to engage their students in the learning process. Today's students, after all, are digital natives. They were born into a world surrounded by technology, understand how to use it, and typically learn best when they are able to interact with it directly. The following classroom technology, used wisely, has the potential to improve educational outcomes.01of 05
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For teachers, the internet provides access to a massive library of lessons, activities, and digital resources that can be used to enhance classroom curriculum. History teachers, for example, can stream documentaries on a variety of subjects, or have students research primary sources through the Library of Congress. Math and science teachers can help students grasp challenging concepts by working through the lessons at Khan Academy. Digital tools such as Drawp for School, Google Drive, and Popplet help facilitate student collaboration and encourage participatory learning.
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A mounted LCD projector allows teachers to share activities, videos, PowerPoint presentations, and other media directly from their computer. The device is a must-have in every classroom. Using an LCD projector, a teacher can put an entire PowerPoint presentation up on the wall for all of their students to see, engaging them in a way that would not have been possible with old overhead projectors.03of 05
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A document camera works in conjunction with an LCD projector. It has essentially taken the place of overhead projectors. Using a document camera, teachers can place any materials want they share under the camera, which captures an image and delivers it to the LCD projector. Once the image is up on the screen, teachers can use the camera to take a screenshot of the document and save it directly to their computer for later use. A document camera also allows teachers to place diagrams, charts, and textbooks on a large screen so that large groups of students can view the same materials at the same time.04of 05
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Smartboards, a type of interactive whiteboard, are becoming increasingly popular in classrooms, where they have replaced traditional chalkboards and whiteboards. The Smartboard has technological capabilities that allow teachers and students to interact in ways that were previously not possible. Teachers can create engaging, active lessons using the many tools the Smartboard provides. They can transpose diagrams, charts, and templates, have students come up and actively participate in the lesson, and then print materials such as lesson notes. Learning to use a Smartboard does require some training, but teachers who use them regularly highly recommend the technology.05of 05
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Digital cameras have been around for a while, but they are not often found in classrooms. That's unfortunate since digital cameras can be used in a variety of ways to engage students in the learning process. A science teacher, for example, may have students take pictures of different trees that can be found within their community. The students can then use those pictures to identify the trees and create PowerPoint presentations giving more information about them. An English teacher could assign their students to film themselves acting out a scene from "Romeo and Juliet" (most digital cameras now include a video function). Teachers who use this technology find that students will work hard because they enjoy interacting with the camera, plus it encourages a different style of teaching and learning.