“Tech” in the classroom
If you’re reading this, chances are you’re a teacher. But, before you were a teacher, in times of yore, you were also probably a student.
It’s plain to see that classrooms have changed quite a bit since “the old days”. Blackboards and chalk are gone, overhead projectors sit in storage, and floppy disks gather dust in the back of forgotten drawers. All of these have since been replaced with something better. That’s the essence of technology. It’s an improvement on what came before. Once upon a time, floppy disks were the shiny new gadget making magnetic cartridges redundant.
The use of technology in educational settings is a topic that is at the peak of research. Technology has become a major component in the development and delivery of curricula in all educational settings.
You may not think of whiteboard markers as “tech”, but that’s exactly what they are. In the same sense tablets and smartboards are becoming a more common sight in learning environments. These assistive technologies, and many more just like them, are here to make your job easier, and your students’ learning experiences more engaging.
Originally, assistive technologies were implemented in classrooms specifically for students with learning difficulties. But as we’ve seen through the introduction of UDL principles, assistive technologies can benefit all learners. Kami is an example of this! Edtech has changed how we teach and how we learn to make education a more universal package that is more inclusive than ever before. More on that in our UDL blog here.
In all likelihood, your students are all using tablets already. But how many of them are using styluses?
Students will be able to sketch, write, and annotate on their touchscreen devices just as they would a piece of paper, thanks to features such as palm rejection, touchscreen scrolling and precision, and a freehand highlighter. Follow the link for more information on features and pricing.
Why not just use a keyboard, you may ask?
If you haven’t already, check out our blog on the importance of practicing handwriting and the benefits that a stylus can provide in the classroom, specifically for elementary school students! Here are a couple of amazing styluses that will level up your learner’s tablet game:
- Logitech Pen for USI-enabled Chromebook devices (works with Chromebook Certified)
- Logitech Crayon:
- Logitech Crayon for iPad models with a USB-C port
- Logitech Crayon for iPad models with a lightning port
Headphones are also becoming a more common sight in modern learning environments. During the lockdowns of 2020/2021, they were essential to facilitate remote learning as people’s living rooms, bedrooms and such had to become a classroom for several hours a day. Since then, with the increase in blended learning environments, we have seen headphones making more regular appearances in the classroom. There are several reasons why headphones are a great resource to add to a student’s toolbox.
Classroom noise impairs students’ cognition and learning. At a first glance, it seems useful to prevent the negative effects of noise on academic learning by wearing noise-reducing (NR) headphones during class. The literature and guidelines emphasize the academic benefits of wearing NR headphones (decreased auditory distraction, increased concentration, learning improvement, and decreased distress). These benefits are particularly expected for students with special needs, but again, as the UDL framework has shown us, all students are likely to benefit from such devices. For example, personal headphones allow students to interact with media without disturbing those around them. Instead of reading a section of text, students could easily utilize Kami’s “read-aloud” feature and listen to the information instead.
Unsure where to start looking for headsets? We’ve got you covered. These headsets support increased focus, engagement, and accessibility with high-quality voice capture, clearer media audio, and voice typing. Take a look at these options:
Life-Proofing your Tech
Children break things. (To be fair, so do adults.) All these tools and devices that comprise assistive technologies are great, as long as they keep working. One of the best ways to do that is to ensure that students’ devices are being protected against daily occurrences that would otherwise damage them. Consider how much more care you’d need to take if your phone wasn’t in a case. Well, the same applies to tablets and iPads. With a case, an iPad can handle a good deal more of whatever the classroom might throw at it. Take a look at these keyboard cases for an idea of what’s available.
Protective Keyboard Cases for IPAD® (in case you’d like to include them)
- Rugged Combo 4 Touch – Protective Keyboard Case with trackpad for iPad (10th Gen)
- Rugged Combo 3 Touch – Protective Keyboard Case with trackpad for iPad (7th, 8th & 9th gen)
Hopefully, there’s something in here to suit your needs. If you want to dig deeper for more assistive learning tools, try Logitech’s education portion of its website.