How Technology Inspires Creativity In The Classroom
Are you ready to make technology and creativity a big part of your classroom? Technology inspires creativity like little else and it’s time to take a close look at what technology really means for your classroom.
This dynamic duo is here not to replace you, not to change you, but to enable you to move forward with the times, to reflect circumstances in the real world and to prepare students as citizens of the future. Many critics of using technology in education cite the idea that once students start using technology, they’ll be unable to be creative anymore. In fact, technology and creativity really go hand in hand – more than you might imagine.
Students Already Use Technology
I can’t imagine anyone who has a great tool such as technology at his disposal and does not use it to their advantage. Students are aware of its facility and its creative potential. Technology is nothing new to them; almost every aspect of their life requires its use and given any gadget they become most imaginative.
Teachers can still hold onto the teaching values you hold dear while embracing technology and promoting creativity in the classroom. Discover how appealing and engaging lessons using new media can be and how creative your students, not to mention- you and your teaching- can become.
While some teachers are joined at the hip with their netbooks and will easily juggle any lesson using smartphones, tablets or any other technology for that matter, there are those who won’t always admit to it but they lack confidence in their abilities. This fact may sound like a serious shortcoming for a teacher of the world but a short glimpse on the flip side will take care of that.
We owe it to ourselves and to our students to become further acquainted with the technology available. Take another class-knowing the basics just won’t cut it anymore. You can browse online – there are a wide range of options available for basic technology skills – or pop in at the store and ask for a full description and a demonstration of the latest in technology gadgets if you have to. That in itself will get you thinking and acting creatively.
Even if you feel as though technology isn’t your strongest asset, we’re betting that there is someone in your classroom who has a great level of comfort with the tools – your students. What better way to be creative than turn the lesson over to your students. However young they are, they will eagerly initiate you into the secrets of the arcane and they will find ways to teach you all about it. There’s no worrying what they’ll think about your limited technical knowledge. The whole process is a creative one. They’ll be more than happy to oblige. They sometimes know their way around a keyboard, a screen, a game better than any expert in the field. Don’t hesitate to tap into their young expertise to get a creative, technology based lesson going.
Create Something Together
Everyone is talking about how creative teaching is changing their experience in the classroom. The teacher next door may have been raving about how his lessons took off once he incorporated different technologies into his teaching but you weren’t listening then. Down the hall there is a teacher who has been experimenting with mobile learning and students are spreading the word. In the staff room you heard about how blended learning seems to be paying off. You know it’s time to turn to a colleague for help. Open up, discuss your concerns, collaborate, organize a workshop, learn from one another and perhaps the joint work will create something real promising for the whole school.
With the media available you will be saving time and energy not to mention taking pride in a whole new set of creative activities on your daily teaching agenda. It’s great that you are in tune with the latest but everyone needs to keep abreast of the trends in technology. New arrivals hit the market daily and your ultra- modern smartphone may be deemed outdated overnight. Technology is here to stay and it is so quick to change! Learn to adapt just as fast.
Acquiring the technical skills prepares the stage for a lot of creative teaching and learning. Once you open up your classroom doors to the magnificent duo, you will find that it is easier to approach your students’ present reality and to help them prepare for their future.
10 Educational iPad Apps For A Well-Rounded Elementary Curriculum
The Education category of the App Store features an overwhelming number of apps, great for both parents and teachers.
Each subject search displays a diverse and colorful selection of apps to cover just about anything you’ll be adding to your digital curriculum. However, with so many choices, it’s hard to discern a download-worthy app from the next. (A simple search for math apps yielded well over 200 results.) Here is a list of educational iPad apps by subject matter that you may not have heard of before, but are certainly worth a look.
Free/Paid Lola’s Math Train invites preschool and elementary school children to learn key skills like adding, subtracting and puzzle-solving through interactive elements on each of the pages. With varying levels and self-advancing difficulty, Lola’s Math Train challenges players while also providing them with an entertaining tool to strengthen their math skills. There is a free and premium version available on both iOS and Android.
Free/Paid There is something satisfying about watching junk food favorites get smashed into an oozy, gooey mess and not having to clean it up. But students can only see this happen if they guess the nutrition facts of the doomed food first. Smash Your Food teaches the value of healthy eating in a non-traditional manner by doling out tips to parents and setting up challenges for more points. There is a free and premium version available.
Paid Building popsicle stick bridges in science class are a fond memory for many of us. Naturally, there is an app for that. Simple Physics introduces the basics of engineering by asking students to build simple structures. They must also take into consideration wind speed, maximum weight and budget before completing a level. It’s an addicting tool… and far less messy.
Free/Paid Awesome Upstander! wants to show elementary and middle school students how they can help stop bullying. This social awareness app features a game where making new friends and collecting clever “must-have” items can help outsmart bullies. The game is available to play online for free, but may be downloaded via the iTunes App Store or Google Play for $0.99.
Free/Paid In this “grown-up” app to help high school students learn vocabulary and think creatively, players help Astro and his friends defeat the Evil Mr. Sharks in a writer’s battle royale. Each player gets three words to include in a short, Twitter-friendly, story before passing it on to a friend. The Mad Libs-like story can then be broadcast over a variety of social networks. The premium version includes the ability to download a complete story to PDF.
Paid The Grading Game puts a player in the shoes of a poor Teacher’s Assistant, who can only pay off his load debts by correcting term papers for a crazy professor. Students have the chance wield the red pen and earn in-game money each time they fail someone. The faster the grammar and spelling errors are found, the bigger the payout. Challenges can be played for free, but in-app purchases are available for more themed term papers.
Free Coined as the “only Chinese word game played with letters of the alphabet,” PinYinPal is a Scrabble-type game that teaches Simplified Mandarin Chinese. The completely free app features a built-in dictionary and anagram tool with audio pronunciations to help students learn through gamification. At the end of each turn, a player can get more points if he or she remembers the character and definition of the word played.
Paid This whimsical, interactive ABC storybook app features a young boy who has an unlucky day full of monstrous and mythical encounters. Students can read along or have Jim Dale, narrator of the Harry Potter audio books, read it to them. Additional features include monster index, variety of reading options (narration off, autoplay, etc).
Free Okay, so maybe you’ve heard of this one, but that proves its worth. Paper is gorgeously designed and is a great way to keep sketches and inspire creativity. Its minimalist approach allows students to use only basic tools and colors to practice drawing. Notes, scribbles, and drawings can then be shared over the web. Additional in-app tools can be purchased, but the free version is more than adequate.
Paid Music theory books can be a thing of the past. This interactive app features mini quizzes and tutorials to take students through the basics of music theory. There is also a really cute owl that whistles wildly when questions are correctly answered. Music theory can be daunting ― there are 2000+ questions in the app alone. This is a fun and simple way to explore it.
“Young people are more curious about the outside world, they are looking for meaning, they are looking for purpose in life and TEDx gives them so much rich content. The ideas focus on social problems right now and philosophy questions we don’t really mention in our schools, and we think that young people really like it because they can learn something and it’s quick.”—From the article “TED talks embraced as a learning platform in China“ on Al Jazeera English, in which writer Yunqian Wan argues that TEDx events can and are changing the face of education in China. (via tedx)
This means that U.S. consumers are spending nearly two times more time in mobile apps than on the web. And this time spent is now starting to challenge time spent watching TV. Flurry estimates that the average U.S. consumer watches 168 minutes of television per day, based on data from the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics for 2010 and 2011.
“We ultimately expect apps on tablets and smartphones to challenge broadcast television as the dominant channel for media consumption,” said Flurry CEO Simon Khalaf.
Flurry’s CEO Simon Khalaf says in spite of recent VC hand wringing over how hard it is to invest in consumer mobile apps, there’s still a golden opportunity.
The difference is that user and traffic acquisition on mobile platforms is still changing rapidly and most investors and entrepreneurs don’t quite fully understand it. He was referring to Fred Wilson’s recent argument that investor sentiment is changing and firms are now starting to favor enterprise plays more than consumer investments. This is partly because of the recent post-IPO performances of Groupon, Zynga and Facebook and how difficult it is to acquire users on mobile platforms.
Wilson said in a post this week that he’s refining his thoughts on mobile first, web second. “What I want to focus on is the paradox that mobile is where the growth is right now and that mobile is very very hard to build a large user base on…. Building an audience on mobile is a bitch.”
But Khalaf says we’re still figuring out how to grow mobile applications successfully and predictably beyond rudimentary tactics like having a favorable relationship with Apple or less scrupulous ways of gaming the charts.
“The web comes with an understood set of metrics like page views, visits, unique users, returning visitors and bounce rates, to name a few. And there’s still a standard way of buying traffic (SEM) and getting traffic organically (SEO). There’s a clear index and path to the web, called Google, and most VCs understand Google economics. They understand the lifetime value vs. cost per acquisition equation. They can value businesses accordingly. What the venture industry doesn’t yet understand is mobile and apps. Traffic acquisition is still an art more than a measurable science.”
Of course, he’s tooting Flurry’s horn. The company’s business model is all about helping developers acquire users through incentivized video ads and other means.
Flurry also did its annual look at how consumers spend time in apps across different categories. Like before, games lead the way, but at a slightly lower marketshare than in previous years.
Entertainment apps and utilities gained marketshare at the expense of social networking and games. Last year, games took up 50 percent of time spent in mobile apps while social networking accounted for 30 percent. This year, gaming’s marketshare is down to 43 percent while social networking comes in at 26 percent.