It can be tricky keeping up with the latest gadgets for the classroom.
In Monday morning's Parent to Parent, Julie Ogata from ParentMap is here with how technology keeps transforming your child's education.
Where can technology make the biggest difference in a child's learning?
You want to see technology that allows your children to be creative…and not just consumers of the latest gadgets.
You want to see technology engaging your child. Instead of a traditional book report, you want to see perhaps your child blogging about the book and trading ideas with other children.
It’s not just using the traditional computer…there are also handheld microscopes that can take learning outside, so children can look closely at leaves while still on the tree.
There are robotics…where the child can really put to use 3-D thinking and their imaginations.
You don’t want their experience with technology to be passive…like punching in answers on the keyboard.
What's the technology trend in our local schools right now?
Just this month, the Seattle Public School system opened its first “STEM” elementary school which stands for “Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.” These schools are becoming the trend and are already in school districts such as Bellevue, Lake Washington and Bainbridge.
These STEM schools immerse the children in technology with hopes they will keep America competitive in the international business world.
Whiteboards or Smartboards are also a trend. It’s like a big interactive white screen that can be hooked to a computer. A teacher or students can touch it or write on it…and you can hook up a clicker to it and students can answer questions or take polls. The teacher can immediately see if the majority of students are understanding a concept before moving on.
Also, iPod touches, iPads and digital readers are becoming a big teaching tool. Mainly because they are more affordable for schools and educators are finding students really connect with technology they are familiar with or can also use at home.
What should a parent look for in terms of technology in a classroom?
A parent should look for technology that will develop thinking skills…not just sitting at a computer.
There should be technology that supports the core areas of learning. The Highline School District is using mini laptops with 45 minutes of individualized math instruction for every student. They’ve seen big gains in their math scores.
Make sure there are just not traditional computers, but other technologies are being used. Such as digital microscopes, robotics or document cameras…which lets you put up a student’s paper, so he can explain an answer to the entire class.
Technology lets you “interact globally” with children from around the world. In the Mercer Island School District…high school students started a company and they sell “fair trade & sustainable” goods with students from other countries.