3 Examples of Innovative Educational Technology

3 Examples of Innovative Educational Technology
The SHARE Team February 1, 2013

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Innovative educational technology might represent a completely new way of teaching, or it can reflect a better way to use an existing teaching tool.

These three examples of innovative educational technology range from the most advanced electronic classrooms to the more modest technologies used in the developing world. These innovations illustrate how best practices in education technology can be shared and how you can tap into these great ideas.

Computer-assisted instruction

The current buzz in education surrounds Common Core State Standards implementation and computer-assisted instruction. The basic idea of Common Core is that all the K-12 schools across the United States will offer similar instructional content at each grade level.

Computer-assisted instruction will benefit greatly from the Common Core initiative. This technology has been around for some time, but it has been slow to develop because, in the past, each school district offered different instructional content at each grade level. With Common Core, this technology is poised for rapid adoption across the country.

Basically, computer-assisted instruction allows teachers to spend more time with individual students who are having difficulties. Meanwhile, other students in the class can work through their lessons at their own pace. This improves classroom efficiency and allows for one-on-one attention in larger classrooms. A study by Lisa Barrow et al. showed a marked improvement in heterogeneous classes with more than 15 students. As states are forced to educate more students with tighter budgets, computer-assisted instruction offers a promise of higher test scores.

Websites and social media

A commonly overlooked trend in education technology is the use of websites and social media. Students, teachers and parents are all connected through social media and the Web. This allows parents and teachers to maintain communication about classroom events and assignments.

Some teachers have used these technologies to create a homework blog, a classroom website or student blogs. Another innovative use of social media and the Web is the creation of education-related Pinterest boards. Each of these technologies opens up the classroom a little and facilitates communication between students, educators, parents and the broader community.

This can be seen as the technological extension of the traditional schoolhouse and its connections with the community. In a way, these innovations are bringing the world back to a time when your parents knew what happened at school even before you returned home. This is because the whole community was, and increasingly still is, built around the local school.

XO laptops

Although it is not the most high-tech device, the XO laptop is very innovative in its simplicity and its approach to global problems with access to educational resources.

This computer is completely open-source, including the hardware, software and drivers. This means students using the device can begin by learning basic lessons in reading, writing and arithmetic. However, they can eventually progress to program and reconfigure the laptop in any way that suits their needs.

The major benefit of introducing these open-source technologies in the developing world is that they do not foster reliance on outside assistance to support and maintain these devices. This fosters local development of information technology infrastructure and develops job skills that can be traded on global markets. The One Laptop Per Child initiative has been in operation for several years now and it continues to expand its projects around the globe.

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