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9 great back-to-school tech tools

kids using school technologies

 

With the new school year just around the corner, we thought we’d have a look at the devices & technologies that could be getting used by you and your kids for the school year 15/16. We’ve mixed our list with products that can be used at home and school and we’re not restricting it to just hardware or software. So here goes!

In the Classroom

The modern classroom hasn’t actually changed too much over the years but with the wider use of Internet in schools means there are several devices that can make teaching a lot more interactive & fun:

Interactive Whiteboards

The days of scratching nails down a chalkboard are long behind us! It’s not that uncommon now to find schools that have invested in Interactive Connected Whiteboards and we’re big fans. The great thing about them is the variety of learning it allows and has features such as easy editing, playing videos as well as being able to save and upload any work as needed meaning kids don’t need to waste precious time copying down notes when they can get them later on. The top range models even allow kids to contribute to the Whiteboard through their mobiles

 

kids using in class connected whiteboard
Portable Projectors

When we imagine the projectors that were being used in classrooms just a few years back they were clumpy machines with poor visuals, skip forward a few years and now projectors are much more affordable and small enough to carry in a laptop bag. The advantages are pretty obvious and we just love that if a teacher wants to better explain something they can just whip out the projector and a phone and immediately have access to all of the Internet’s content.

A projector for school classrooms

Kindles for classes

We assume that you’re familiar with Amazon’s Kindle, the application & devices that have changed the way we read, well this technology is also great for schools and children. Imagine a classroom where you can access thousands of free stories at the touch of a button for the whole class. There’s even have an Amazon school program which is designed to allow schools to easily adapt what kids have access to read. Sure the devices may not be affordable for every school but the KindleReadingApp can be easily used via a single smart device / Laptop meaning it can be projected for all to see (and hear too!). Find out more about kindles in classrooms.

children using e-books in class

Tools for Home

Before the days of the Internet homework help was restricted to whatever was written in a textbook or Mom and Dad’s prior knowledge of the subject. Obviously the internet quickly made researching any history question or math problem a lot easier with thousands of results (try googling Trigonometry for kids), but now we’re in the midst of an online learning revolution as we see Social Medias & Online tools making collaborations between teachers, students and parents easier than ever before. We’ve picked a selection of the tools that are currently available:

Group Projects Apps:

Do you remember when it was the job of one person in a group project to take care of word processing an assignment? Applications such as Google Drive & Dropbox means this problem is no more. Both of the applications mentioned allow multiple live editors of projects ranging from written pieces, presentations and spreadsheets and plenty of cloud storage meaning you’ll never lose a file again. They both have app versions of their software and can be edited from any location (don’t worry they also have secured sharing).

children working together online

Online Teaching support:

Next up is the selection of products in the Google for Education range and we promise we’re not on commission for mentioning them! Google have integrated their widely used tools such as Gmail, Drive, Hangouts and Calendar with their specialised App for schools, ‘Classroom’. What this enables is the ability to have any particular class online including, setting assignments, work submission, learning resources, teacher support plus much more, we recommend watching the video below. One cool features is the reminders for when assignments are due so there’ll be no excuses for forgetting to do your work!

 

Social Media:

We can imagine what you thought when we you first read social media as a suggestions for schools but we’ve already seen how some schools have really been able to use it as a great way for students, teachers & kids to communicate. Sure, we’re not saying that you start adding your kids friends or teachers but consider it more from an online community point of view. Facebook have set up school communities with admin ran by teachers and parents who regulate the members & content. It’s great to broadcast important information such as parents evening dates, newsletters or even important news like snow days for example, where previously you may have had to wait for an announcement on local radio or risk your kids misplacing school newsletter. The guardian have a great piece showing practical uses of social media for schools.

Great learning Applications

Desktop and Smartphone applications are going to have a massive effect on education in the future and several companies are already sowing the seeds that mean additional learning may one day come from phones rather than private tutoring. We’ve picked out three of our favourite Apps that we recommend checking out:

Duolingo

Obviously you’re not going to use this app to learn maths but for languages this is a must! Duolingo allows students of all levels to learn by gamifying lessons and has courses in Reading, Writing, Listening and speaking. It works on mobile & desktop and is best online but there’s still a great offline version. There’s tracking that parents can use and helpful notifications so your kid doesn’t fall behind and the best bit, it’s free!

Khan Academy

If you’ve not heard of these guys then check them out, another free service, that’s trying to make the learning of any subject free and accessible to anyone. They have a widening range of topics and offer courses per grade. They have both desktop and mobile versions of their service and even offer coaching for parents & teachers. Their courses can act as support for classroom learning or even full teaching in  subjects not covered by the curriculum. Learn more below

 

Youtube

As well as being the home for all your favourite music videos Youtube is also a great learning resource as video learning offers a great alternative to textbook learning. Of course how it’s used varies in that you may have a teacher at your school who is prepared to put lessons online but more likely you’re better off finding a relevant channel that covers your child’s needs. Opencolleges.edu list youtube educational channels that are categorised by subject and learning level. We would recommend testing the videos to make sure they cover relevant learning.

So what do you think of our list, did we miss any of your favourite techs? We’re constantly searching for new cool ideas so don’t hesitate to tell us what tech you’re excited about with a comment below.

Bag to school Competition

To celebrate the return of the school year we’re giving away 2 free Kolibree Toothbrushes from August 21-September 12th. All you have to do is snap a picture of what’s in your kids school bag with the hashtag #BagToSchool and tag kolibree on Twitter or Instagram to enter the content.

We’ll be announcing the lucky winners the week following the end of the competition

W34_Twitter_bagtoschool

5 Comments

  • The photo you have of the interactive white board looks like a great turn for kids to learn and for teachers to incorporate new technology in to the classroom. That will make planning lessons and teaching so much easier. Teachers will be able to provide better visuals and students will be able to learn using different methods. Providing images like graphs and pie charts to help teach statistics is just one of many way the white board could help in learning. Thanks for all your great tips on how technology can benefit learning.

    • Hey Annie and thanks for the kind comment. It’s true that tech is really changing the way we learn and it’s crazy to think how much it has evolved in the last 5 years, imagine what it’ll be like in another 5 years time!

  • What, August already? Must be time to start gathering school supplies. These days, of course, that doesn’t mean just the notebooks, pencils and other analog tools you’ll find at the local superstore — it means digital technology of all sorts.

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