Preparing the classroom for the 21st CenturyBY CHUCK TUCK|CONTRIBUTING WRITER On January 1, 2001 we entered the 21st century with dreams of further exploring space, vaccinations and cures for diseases, and sought a higher level of education for the next generation of students.
To achieve a higher level of education meant outfitting the classroom of today to reflect tomorrow’s technologies improving upon the standards expected by teachers, parents, and most importantly, the students.
This meant that the classrooms of today would need to use computers, LCD projectors, wireless tools, and digital overhead projectors (document cameras) to accomplish its goal.
Trudy Sullivan, Granite Falls High School Peer Technology Coach and Teacher says that she aligns herself with several of the other teachers, and teaches them how to integrate these technologies into their classrooms.
“Not only is it important to me, but I truly believe in it,” said Sullivan when it comes to integrating technologies into the classroom.
For many teachers, it’s about learning to embrace the change.
“Technology is progressing so fast, and the generation of students that are in the classroom today are pretty savvy; and the ones that are coming up into high school from elementary today are going to be even more savvy- their whole life is about technology,” Sullivan said.
She continued to say that many of the students today are growing up using computers from the time they could walk and that technology integration already exists to them, and for those students coming into the classroom and not having technology is almost foreign to them.
“Integration is something that I think has to be done if we really want to teach kids to be citizens of the 21st century.”
Sullivan said that being able to bring up a video on YouTube during class to discuss social studies or current world issues is something that is natural for this generation of students.
Grant Woods, Marketing Director for AVerMedia Information, Inc. USA, Presentation Products Division says that, “Teachers typically like document cameras because of the flexibility and ability to teach on the fly.”
A document camera such as the CP300 allows for flexibility and the immediate display of images for students to study allowing for every student to participate.
Sullivan said that the document camera is a cool and neat tool that can be used to scan images and project them onto a screen using a ceiling mounted projector.
“A document camera can display virtually any document, 3D object or even images from a microscope in full color and depth. Teachers also have the ability to zoom in, pan, capture images, and record video and even make annotations to the digital image being projected. With available remote controls, teachers no longer need to be stationed in one area of the room,” said Woods.
He also said that it can save on cost by reducing the need for photocopies, multiple textbooks, and more.
Sullivan added that some classrooms use a wireless (portable) writing pad that allows a teacher or student to write on it, and have that image projected onto a screen for the class to see via a mounted projector.
This gives the classroom an immediate response to a question allowing for students to discuss or correct topics of study in real-time.
She also said that given the choice today, students would rather type a project on their computer posting it to what is called a blog (an online journal) than write it out even though the same work is being done.
Technology in the classroom today is vital to the success of every student as it prepares them for what awaits them in their future, and strengthens the nation as a whole.