The classroom of the 21st century is one with many technological tools. Interactive white boards, digital projectors, one to one laptops and net-book computers are being used to help students deepen their understanding. Other devices also being used in many schools around the globe are, smartphones and other handheld devices such as iPod Touches and or tablet computers.
What are they being used for?
These small devices are great because they allow students access to many of the great resources provided by netbooks and or other laptops but at an even lower cost. Students can use these devices to access the Internet, type a response to a question, record and audio reflection or calculate problems. Newer models are now even able to record and edit video. They are becoming an invaluable tool to the students that are lucky enough to have use of them.
What does the future look like for devices such as these?
As time passes these devices will become even more integrated with the rest of the technological tools already found within the classroom. An example of this is already in the works so to speak. http://www.socrative.com/ is the home to a nifty bit of software that allows these small devices to interact with a website as a “Clicker” for a Student Response System. These SRS’s allow the teacher to quickly check for understanding, make tests and quizzes more interesting and give feedback to students. This system provided to teachers and students at http://www.socrative.com/ works with any web browser and is available on both the Android Market and the iPhone App Store. What this means is that any device already in the classroom, whether it be a net-book, a 1:1 laptop, an Android tablet, an iPad or iPod Touch, can be used to interact with the quizzes, activities and games the teacher chooses to put up on their digital projector.
The Socrative program not only makes learning more interactive it can also help teachers save valuable time grading. I am not a Socrative sales agent or connected to them in anyway. I am just awed by the Internet and how it can be used to make learning so much more productive. The Socrative program is in Alpha testing, so for now, it is free to use. I was just blown away when my HTC Desire interacted with a test quiz that was running on my Mac Book Pro. This is just cool in my book.
One problem that exists with these smaller handheld devices is that games can easily be downloaded and installed. This presents several issues when teachers want to use these devices to assist in learning. Who wants your students playing a game while you are trying to teach something. I read another article about a great made for school tablet called the Kineo. http://www.tabletpcreview.com/default.asp?newsID=1945&news=brainchild+kineo+tablet+school
Brainchild is on the way to making these smaller devices even better for classrooms as they provide software which helps keep kids safe. The Brainchild Kineo http://www.brainchild.com/Kineo.html# is designed specifically for use in schools, has controls built in that will prevent students from downloading and running programs not meant to be used for instruction and will run about $300.
As for the future use of these devices, only time will tell. The classroom of the future may have more of these smaller devices in them as apposed to laptops. It will all depend on companies and or individuals which make applications that work with these devices. When the capabilities of these smaller, less expensive tools become comparable to the laptop, then the 1:1 laptop may be replaced.
Thanks for reading,