4 Ways To Improve Classrooms With Technology
Today's college professor looks at a lot of computer logos from the front of the classroom.
Less than 10 years ago, most college desks held pen and paper, but over time laptops, tablets and especially smartphones have taken over as the tools of choice for college students. And these devices aren't just for writing term papers. Students rely on technology to consume information, from lecture notes to class notifications. Students may still use books, but today's education relies on the devices in their pockets.
Knowing this, how are professors adjusting to the way students use technology? Some staples will always stay the same, but teachers are finding ways to do everything from saving students money, to facilitating communication and even bringing students closer together-all using technology. So if your classroom is feeling a bit in the 20th century, here are four ways to jump into this one.
Digital Options for Textbooks & Materials
Undergrads can relate to this scenario: You try to save some money by buying a used copy of last year's textbook, only to find out the professor requires a brand new edition for this year. Oh, and of course, that will cost well over $100.
Textbook prices are outrageous. According to the College Board, the average price of books and supplies for one semester is almost $1,300. And since most scholarships don't cover expenses past tuition plus room and board, that money comes straight from the student's pocket. Professors are doing their best to cut students a break by offering cheaper online editions of textbooks and sticking with hard copies from previous years.
Responsive Websites & Student Forums
Websites such as Blackboard are a staple for college students, but professors also use their own websites to deliver information and materials to students. While most websites look just fine on the laptop, not everything is optimized for mobile use. Professors should make sure that the relevant material is easily accessible on today's top-tier smartphones like the Samsung Galaxy S7 edge.
Tech-savvy teachers who want to make a custom website for students should use a responsive template that automatically adjusts to both smartphones and tablets for the best viewing. Professors should also consider using search beacons to send messages to students' phones before they get to class.
Digital Alerts & Announcements
Here's another annoying scenario that is all too real: It's the middle of winter, and you wake up early in the morning because you scheduled a Tuesday/Thursday class at 8:00 a.m. You trudge through the snow across campus and reach the door only to see a note that reads "Class Cancelled."
Whether it's via SMS, email or even Twitter in some cases, establish a system that sends students crucial updates for class cancellation, changes in test/quiz schedules or even something as small as study or extra credit opportunities.
Social Media to Create Community
Forums are great for sharing notes or planning study groups, but social media can be a powerful tool to create community in your classroom. This can be trickier with large auditorium classes of 100 students or more, but smaller classes are perfect for social media groups to create a better sense of community among classmates. This can be for anything from studying to making friends, but a class that relies on teamwork can only benefit by using technology to bring everyone together.