Saturday, October 11, 2014

Utilizing Current Technologies Creatively in Schools

By Sean Scarpiello

While many schools across the country have implemented the latest tablets and laptops in providing education to their students, the reality is that some schools have not yet caught up with placing a computer in the hand of each student.  When I was in high school, my classmates and I were not given our own iPad, but some of our best teachers found a creative way to implement current technology towards improving our education. 

Looking back on my education, I had a high school social studies teacher who invented a resourceful way to turn a projector and her computer into an interactive game.  Using PowerPoint, the teacher would make up a game show review which was scheduled the day before each test.  There are tons of free blank PowerPoint templates available for download on the internet that teachers can use in their classes.  Game show templates for Jeopardy and others can be altered to include teachers’ own questions on material that is pertinent for the upcoming exam.  In my class, students were split up into groups where we could collaborate with each other to answer questions to win points.  While we were not able to look at our notes, we were able to jot down ideas and key points to study before the test.  The teacher also gave us an incentive to study by giving extra credit points to the group that won the game.  Overall, everyone benefited as students were studying days in advance instead of cramming all their studying in the night before. 

Other teachers would use PowerPoint in conjunction with polling software where students would each have their own remote clicker.  After each question, students would answer using their clicker and the professor could get feedback from the class to review material.  This also gave the students feedback after the teacher revealed the correct answer on the next slide so they know what to review later.  Some of my teachers would also utilize the current PowerPoint technology by importing the slides into a no cost software called Prezi.  Prezi can be used with or without an original PowerPoint.  Regardless of how teachers used Prezi, they are sure to make up an interesting and interactive class presentations.  Like PowerPoint, Prezi can embed videos, graphs, tables, and more.  Plus, Prezi can also be used to make up review question games.  Teachers can even use many of Prezi’s other cool functions to create their own enthralling lesson plans.

In all, there are so many different innovative ideas that teachers can think up using the technology they already have access to.  PowerPoint presentations can be turned into interactive game shows or even a fascinating Prezi Presentation.  Most of all, teachers can tailor these available technologies to personalize a high quality education at a low cost and without hardship to get iPads and laptops.  

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