Back when today’s teachers were students, learning was explicitly analog, with textbooks, a chalkboard, and occasionally a television program being them main tools of the teaching trade. Now there is a whole suite of new tools available to the tech-minded teacher, giving students more effective ways to learn.
We thought we’d reveal the technology that today’s teachers wish they had when they were students. Its amazing how far we’ve come.
As early as 2013, about 25 percent of US schools had a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) tablet policy, a number that has surely increased with time.
In fact, at Labster we recently described how tablets have already reached some of the poorest classrooms in the world, with students in Cape Town, South Africa being supplied with tablets that include the latest apps and digital textbooks.
The Journal recently showed the many ways teachers are using tablets in the classroom, with one teacher using cloud collaboration tools like Google Drive and Schoology to give his students 25 times more feedback on their assignments than before.
2. Learning Apps
A recent Pew Research Center survey found that 58 percent of U.S. teachers own smartphones, which is 10 percent higher than the national average for adults, indicating that teachers are among the most tech savvy professionals in the US.
This should come as no surprise with teachers and students alike embracing education apps that make learning more engaging and efficient. Recently, Labster covered some of the best education apps for teachers for those that are looking to get started with digital tools.
There are some amazing free apps available like Duolingo for language learning, PhotoMath for math calculations, and Quizlet for creating digital flashcards and learning tools. At Labster we’ve also released our first iPad app, which you can read more about here.
3. Virtual Reality
Virtual reality must have seemed light years away twenty or thirty years ago, but in 2015 it is at our doorstep ready to be explored. With Facebook acquiring Oculus last year for $2 billion, all of the possibilities that have been talked about with VR were validated by the tech giant.
The Oculus Rift headset will make virtual reality affordable for classroom use and opens up a whole new paradigm of learning. Jeffrey Jacobson, the director of Boston-based PublicVR, a nonprofit involved in research and software development related to virtual reality in education, says, “This is the dawn of consumer VR.”
At Labster, we have received $2 million in grants to fund the development of VR labs and have already created a working prototype, which you can see on display here. If you’re interested in joining the collaboration, don’t hesitate to sign up for monthly updates and check out our virtual labs.