My Ideal Learning Space

The Most up-to-date Technology Used in Today's Classrooms

What Does This Look Like?

Listed below are my Top 5 "want to have" technology items for my future classroom: one-to-one Ipads, an elmo, a smart board, multi-touch desk surfaces, and biometrics. In my perfect world, I would have the money to buy all of these items and the time to plan and implement effective lessons with them! I realize that technology is rapidly increasing and changing every day, so as of RIGHT now in December 2012, I would more than love to utilize this technology for my classroom. I would use all five of these items on a daily basis to enhance the learning of my students. I believe that each device is unique and fits to the different learning styles of students. I have done advanced research on all five of the technology devices, and it would be incredible to have my students experience learning in such a hands-on way.

One-to-One Ipads

iPads are changing classrooms all over America. They have thousands of applications and tools that are extremely useful for education. For example, iPads are great when it comes to replacing textbooks--in doing this, the students are more engaged in the content in interactive ways, they can find information in an instant, and access it wherever they go! When reading the text on the iPad, the students can click on a word they don't know, and the definition will be brought up right away. The students can also view the pictures in 3D to see more details, and even look at more examples of the picture in the photo gallery designed for that textbook. In the long run, it is also saving schools money. iPads reduce the common problems of losing the textbooks and having to buy new ones, or students ruining/wearing down the textbooks due to excessive use and having to replace them. Also, it is so expensive for the schools to buy new textbooks every year--with the iPad, the students can download the latest version of the book for a fraction of the price!
Also, the iPads contain learning games that apply student knowledge on the content learned. What better way to keep the students motivated? They are having fun while learning and practicing fundamental skills! The iPads also allow the students to create presentations and make videos that further test their knowledge. As teachers, iPads are a great way to engage students and teach the material in a creative way.

To help further explain the benefits of using iPads in the classroom, I have attached a link to the Apple website that gives a brief article on how educational iPads can be in the classroom. Also attached is a YouTube video giving you a first hand look at how students from Deephaven Elementary School are using the iPads in classrooms today. It also gives teacher insight as to why they like it and how they incorporate iPads into their daily lessons.
iTools: iPads in the Classroom

The Elmo

Shown above is a picture of a typical "Elmo" that can be found in many classrooms today. The Elmo has recently replaced what used to be called the "Overhead Projector", where teachers would have to plug it in, adjust the camera to the right quality, make sure the light bulb worked, use transparency sheets with the correct markers, and then erase the transparency sheets to use again the next day. To me, this is a lot of work when compared to an Elmo! An Elmo allows the students to see what is being written by the teacher as he/she is writing it. The visual learners will benefit from this because they can see the small items, text, and demonstrations in a bigger way. Similar to the iPads, the Elmo can also save money when it comes to teachers making copies. For example, instead of printing off 30 quizzes, you can print of one quiz, place it under the Elmo, and have the students take their quiz on a piece of notebook paper. The Elmo can be used in a multiple of ways, such as: show and tell, science experiments, maps, photos, taking notes, completing worksheets/graphic organizers as a class, etc.

Below is a link to a website that gives more information on the benefits and perks of having an Elmo in your classroom.

Smart Boards

Smart boards are another presentation tool that is very visual and interactive for students. A smart board is made up of a computer, smart board software, an interactive whiteboard, and a projector. According to an article I read (parts of it shown below), "With a touch of a finger, students can control applications, navigate the Internet, and write/change/move around and save content. A smart board is also touch-screen, and can allow students to make items bigger or smaller as desired. The smart board can pull up images or text onto the marker-board, and from there, the students can come up to the marker-board and make notes/analyze the information however they want. They are also great when teachers want to review previous days' lessons--the smart board can save previous notes that can be pulled up at a later time.

Below are two screen shots of a study conducted at the University of New Brunswick. The first screen shot gives statistics of how smart boards have a positive impact on teachers. The second screen shot gives facts of how smart boards have a positive impact on students. Two of my favorite bullet points are: Visual and tactile lessons led to multisensory engagement in the learning process and the use of smart board interactive whiteboards limited opportunities for distraction by focusing students' attention on lessons. These two facts show that using a visual tool such as this is engaging, practical, and inventive.

Multi-Touch Desks

Before starting this project, I had no idea that multi-touch surfaces even existed... let alone the idea to have multi-touch desks in the classroom! While this is a far stretch (as of in today's current society), I feel that 10 years down the road, this could be awesome! If every student had a multi-touch desk like in the picture shown above, it would prove to solve a lot of problems that teachers face today. For example, in place of worksheets, the students could use their hands/fingers to fill out the information. It's all about being hands-on! Multi-touch desks are very visual and allow the students to show their creativity. The students could also use a pen (designed to be used on this surface) to practice their handwriting. This would especially be great for the lower grades--they could blow up the letters to a large font and have the students work on tracing the individual letters. In the upper grades, multi-touch desks would help keep the students organized and give quick access to several tools/resources. Students of all ages could even use this device to collaborate live with students around the world!

The video shown below paints a better picture of how this device works--the student would get a normal keyboard and mouse, as well as a computer screen in front of them to look off of. I'm sure that as time goes on, technologists will think of more ways to make this more classroom-oriented, but this video gives the gist of what it would look like.
ViewSonic and EXOPC EXOdesk Demo CES2012 - HotHardware



Just like the multi-touch desks, I had no idea that a tool such as biometrics could be used in the classroom. According to the article shown directly below, "Biometrics is the technology used to recognize humans based on specific physical or behavioral traits." Similar to multi-touch desks, biometrics would be implemented in the classrooms within the next ten years--not right away. Technologists are working on the theory of biometrics to be used in classrooms because it has several very unique characteristics. For example, the software could be used to understand the physical and emotional state of children learning in the classroom... that's incredible! This also means that lessons and assignments can be altered to individual needs, depending on the biometric signals given from students. Biometric software would also be able to pick up on physical traits, such as facial expressions, heart rate, and even skin moisture, to create reports of student understanding and performance. To me, this all seems far-fetched, but we can never underestimate technologists because ten years ago, we never would've thought we would have the inventions and technology that we do today. It's truly amazing!