Teachers teach, but technology has changed the way students learn in the 21st century classroom. We can look back 20 years and see how computers paved the way for expansion in science, technology, engineering, and math in schools. It was cutting edge back in the day, but as technology advances, it is easy to see the importance of staying ahead of the curve.
The official definition of disruptive technology is, “Any technology that displaces an established or traditional technology, or any brand new product considered ground-breaking in that it creates a completely new industry.”
Think about all the ways our lives have been “disrupted” by evolving technology; the personal computer displaced the typewriter, but now the PC has been displaced by laptops, tablets, and smartphones. We find it quaint if we receive a letter in our mailbox because “snail mail” has been disrupted by e-mail, text messages, chat rooms, and social media.
Teachers, those in the STEM career education services as well as those involved in traditional subjects have an opportunity to engage students using “disruptive” technology to make learning relevant to today’s lifestyle.
You may think involving social media in the educational experience will take precious time away from actual learning; however, the InspirED 21st Century Classroom professional development course will show you how to turn social media from distracting to productive. It will help you understand how to incorporate technology into your curriculum in ways that support major learning components such as: Active engagement, group collaboration and practice, continuous feedback and interaction, and the ability to reach out to experts in the real world.
Project based learning, self- and peer-assessments create a feeling of community while learning. Students are not only empowered with technology that puts information at their fingertips; they are encouraged to investigate and share what they learn with their peers. It provides students with a realistic model of today’s working environment and challenges them on an intellectual level.
Administrators may be wondering how having a more technologically advanced learning system in the classroom could possibly be both productive and cost effective, but the investment is in the PD credits for their educators, not in fancy equipment. Recent statistics show that technology plays a large part in the lives of students: More than 50% of kids between the ages of 8 and 12 have a cellphone or tablet; approximately 38% of children under the age of 2 years already use a mobile device for media watching; 51% of high school students and 28% of grade school students carry a cell phone to school. The technology is already in the hands of the majority of students, so it can be used wisely to bring teachers and students together using something they have in common.
A provider of STEM-robotics equipment and training for young women and teachers in underserved communities around the globe, the Community Bots is the brainchild of Jack Cooley, a science teacher with a 25-year success record across grades 3-12.
For Parkland Magnet MS’ teachers, CoderZ offers up real-world applications that help students actually see how what they’re learning is applicable in the real world—even though it’s only in a computer simulation.
With the help of a DOE grant, Parkside school is now using CoderZ, an innovative online learning environment where kids learn how to program real and virtual robots using a 3D robotics simulation.
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