TutaPoint Online Education Blog
Posted By Ryan Duques
If your tech-savvy student hasn’t already made it clear, the Digital Age has taken firm root in American classrooms.
As Promethean Boards replace blackboards and the Internet connects tutors and students across thousands of miles, the way we educate students has taken a virtual turn. Bolstered by federal initiatives like the National Education Technology Plan and the newly formed Digital Promise center, teachers and students have begun the long process of revolutionizing education in America.
According to a 2005 report released by the U.S. Department of Education, “The technology that has so dramatically changed the world outside our schools is now changing the learning and teaching environment within them. This change is driven by an increasingly competitive global economy and the students themselves, who are ‘born and comfortable in the age of the Internet.’
The report, titled “Toward a New Golden Age in American Education: How the Internet, the Law and Today’s Students are Revolutionizing Expectation,” also identifies the key role teachers play in ushering in what it calls a “new golden age in American education.”
“…Teachers are transforming what can be done in schools by using technology to access primary sources, exposing students to a variety of perspectives, and enhancing students’ overall learning experience through multimedia, simulations and interactive software,” according to the report.
For Simon Dowle, a fifth-grade teacher at Martin Kellogg Middle School in Newington, Conn., it all starts on his iPad. With apps like Pages, Numbers, and Powerteacher Mobile, Dowle can plan his lessons; grade papers; and keep student progress up to date, all in one handy place. Plus, all that info is backed up on the iCloud database. Web-based programs like Linoit and Remind101, along with his teacher website, enable Dowle to keep in touch with students and parents in a safe, virtual environment. Sound impersonal? Hardly.
“With all the virtual contact I can have with students and parents, I don’t have to wait for an answer (from them)… “I’m getting them information in so many different ways, accountability is really placed on them,” Dowle says.
What’s more, as broadband becomes available to more schools and students and as more schools invest in e-readers, e-books, and computers, more students will be able to take advantage of the numerous resources available to them. Beyond the organizational benefits that devices like an iPad provides, educational applications often engage a wider spectrum of learners.
“You have to really grow with what [students] are used to so you can meet them at their level,” Dowle notes.
Assistant Deputy Secretary for Innovation and Improvement Jim Shelton of the U.S. Department of Education recently noted, “Technology has the potential to greatly enhance student engagement, increase personalized learning, enable students to earn credit and progress at their own pace, and equip teachers with the tools needed to differentiate instruction.”
Dowle agrees. “A lot of is to do with motivation…it’s something new. Some kids are just not comfortable with a book. They need something else, and [educational applications] provide it.”
Of course, there’s a wide world of educational software on the market. Perform a search of “educational applications” and you’ll come back with thousands of options across a wide spectrum of subject areas. With so many tools available for Apple and Android devices, it’s tough to know where to start if you’re new to virtual learning. We’ve culled a list of 10 apps that we think will enhance the learning experiences of just about anyone.