Technological advance change the face of education

As in any profession, certain technological innovations can alter – and revolutionize – the ways in which in educators teach their students.

Students at Mountain Island Charter School, from left, Ashlyn Moody, Jeremy Ashe and E.G. Coble work with the school’s new Chromebooks in their classes. Innovations in technology change the way teachers think about teaching. (Bill Ward/MI Monitor photo)

Some inventions have given students broader access to information, while others have made learning an interactive, rather than passive, experience, bringing faraway lands and abstract concepts into the classroom. Other forms of technology, such as electronic grade books, can decrease a teacher’s workload, leaving more time for classroom instruction.

Here, teachers from Mountain Island area schools tell us about technological innovations that have improved teaching.

Laptops computers

Classrooms have come a long way since classrooms had to make a trip to the school computer lab or media center to learn how to use computers. Laptops, however, allow teachers to supplement their lessons with multimedia activities and research inside their individual classrooms.

“Using the Internet, the students work through the research process in order to find reliable sources of information for a project. Laptops can also be used for presentations of individual or group projects. Overall, laptops are a piece of technology that all students should know how to use effectively and can be a valuable learning tool to ensure that all students are ready for their future endeavors.”

– Kate Martin, STEM lab teacher at Paw Creek Elementary School

Graphic interface

Graphic interface allows users to use a computer’s capabilities instead of having complex command languages to perform commands. Most computer systems use features, such as a pointer, pointing device (mouse or trackball), icons, a desktop and menus to help users carry out tasks on their computer. Graphic interface made computers more accessible to a wider audience of people, including students.

“(It) made it easier for students to grasp how to use a computer.”

– Christopher D. Herman, technology educator at West Mecklenburg High School

Interactive whiteboards

A relatively new innovation, interactive whiteboards give the overhead projectors many remember from school an interactive twist. Teachers use the whiteboard’s specialized software to create lessons that get students out of their seats, becoming a part of the lesson. The whiteboards – which include the popular SMART Boards and Promethean Boards – make zoning out while learning about the layers of the earth or Civil War battles a little more difficult.

“The teachers at Mountain Island (Elementary) couldn’t imagine teaching with the SMART Board. When they break – which technology does from time to time – we have to stop and think about how we are going to survive until (they’re) fixed, forgetting that most of us taught for years without them.”

– L. Heather Hall Ramsey, teacher at Mountain Island Elementary School

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