Posts tagged "education"

Tech is Changing the Way Our Kids Learn

September 13th, 2017 Posted by Best Practices, Cloud, Community, Data, Networks, Newsletters 0 thoughts on “Tech is Changing the Way Our Kids Learn”

Digital technology is revolutionizing many parts of our lives, whether it’s communications, transport, entertainment, personal finance or even shopping.

Education is no different, with advancements in digital tech transforming the way students learn in schools around the world.

While Chromebooks have become commonplace in many classrooms, there is a range of other cutting-edge technologies that also have the capacity to radically alter the way schoolchildren learn.

 

Virtual Reality in the Classroom

Virtual reality (VR) is tipped to be a breakthrough technology in the entertainment industry, but it’s also forecast to have a big impact on education.

That’s because the release of relatively low-cost VR headsets has enabled teachers to create unique and interactive 3D environments that can bring classroom lessons to life.

For schools, one major application of VR is that it allows teachers to transport students to locations where they are studying, including for a diverse range of subjects such as history, geography, and science.

VR also has particular utility for science subjects, since VR can make difficult concepts comprehensible via its unique visual and immersive qualities.

However, like any disruptive technology, there remain barriers to VR becoming an everyday fixture in classrooms, with one of the largest being its relative unfamiliarity to students and teachers.

 

More 3D Printing in Schools

3D printing, which turns digital 3D models into solid objects, is another emerging technology touted as having a bright future at schools across the globe.

In particular, 3D printing has the potential to assist teachers by providing them with 3D visual aids to illustrate complicated concepts, improve interactive learning and boost class engagement.

It also has applications in design, fashion, and engineering faculties within schools, particularly since those industries are already making use of – and being impacted by – the exciting technology.

Like many cutting-edge technologies, 3D printing faces challenges before it becomes an accepted part of classrooms. Likely obstacles include justifying the return on investment, managing access to a limited resource and incorporating 3D printing projects into the classroom.

 

Cloud Computing and Smarter Classrooms

In addition to VR and 3D printing, cloud computing is on the rise within classrooms. The practice involves storing and accessing data over the internet, instead of via a local hard drive.

Cloud computing has several positive educational outcomes because it cuts IT costs, increases accessibility and fosters collaboration between students.

It has become popular with teachers and students, especially in science, social studies, and languages fields, where the sharing of information between students over the internet is important.

Meanwhile, schools have adopted interactive, or “Cisco Spark”, boards in the classroom in recent years. These interactive tools usually include touch-sensitive screens, making them ideal for children. The boards can also be linked to tablet devices and computers.

Already used in many developed nations, proponents of this technology say it leads to a more interactive class environment, with a teacher able to build a lesson plan into the board’s software, while children can rewatch the lesson at home. It’s a long way from blackboards and chalk.

Let the Think specialists help you and your company! Please contact our sales team at sales@thinknettech.com if you would like our recommendations or a quote.

Page Versus Screen – Is There a Balance?

February 8th, 2017 Posted by Best Practices, Data, Desktop, Devices, Internet, Newsletters 0 thoughts on “Page Versus Screen – Is There a Balance?”

For years, the debate has raged, but research hasn’t been able to prove one way or another if we retain information better when we’ve read it from a physical page – in a book, magazine or newspaper– than when we’ve read it online, with a tablet, mobile device or other screen.

And hopefully it never will, with ‘screen time’ such a big part of our lives. Computers and mobile devices are versatile and make information more accessible, so striking a balance between children’s appetite for information and their ability to digest it is crucial for primary, secondary, and even tertiary educators.

So, is the page mightier than the screen? Should we choose one over the other, or can we still find balance?

Page or Screen?

Leading researchers believe that there is a tangible relationship between text written on a physical page and the way the brain responds to and retains what is written on that page. Studies in the early 2000s indicated that students performed better in exams when they had studied the information for tests from textbooks and other printed sources. However, a 2013 survey by the UK National Literacy Trust found that over 52% of students aged 8–16 preferred reading on electronic devices, and only 32% preferred print. In fact, research indicates the next generation of students are reading well on digital devices.

In reality, banishing the screen is a near-impossible task. With students issued laptops at all ages, and doing more of their research and homework online, the screens are here to stay whether they’re helping or not.

So, the question becomes: How can educators deploy screen time for best effect?

Technology in the Classroom

Implementing simple strategies like giving students extra time to familiarize themselves with the devices they’ll be using before reading texts mean they won’t be distracted by functionality while trying to concentrate.

Screens and e-readers should be used in the same way as printed text – one device per student, not one shared among a group. This way, students will be more easily immersed in learning – without the distraction of tussling with a neighbor over ownership.

Although it can be both a blessing and a curse, connecting devices to the internet allows for more collaboration, enabling students to compare how their fellow pupils are engaging with a text. For example, sharing information online (for example, by allowing students to see which passages in a text their peers have highlighted, or by making students’ digital annotations visible to their classmates) can help the whole class to improve their understanding of a text.

This should be balanced with an emphasis on the importance of each student developing their own understanding, so teachers need to keep track of their progress by continuing to ask questions of individual students.

The future success of ‘digital natives’ using devices more frequently in their learning will rest in the same place it always has done – in the quality of the materials, in the ways educators implement them and in the way students are nurtured to use them effectively.

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The Largest Learning Event in History

December 16th, 2016 Posted by Community, Data, Devices, Hour of Code, Internet, Newsletters 0 thoughts on “The Largest Learning Event in History”
The vision for Hour of Code is that every student in every school should have the opportunity to learn computer science, just like biology, chemistry or algebra. Code.org organizes the annual Hour of Code campaign which has engaged 10% of all students in the world, and provides the leading curriculum for K-12 computer science in the largest school districts in the United States.

Think Network Technologies, the Durango School District 9-R and the Durango Education Foundation teamed up to bring the Hour of Code during Computer Science Education Week to local schools in Durango. Park Elementary & Sunnyside Elementary students were awarded with a certificate once they completed their Hour of Code. Seven students from Miller Middle School, Escalante Middle School and Durango Shared School were awarded with a scholarship from Think Network Technologies to continue their education in Computer Science.

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