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10 Internet Technologies Educators Should Be Informed About – 2011 Update

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Below you will find updated information for 5 of the technologies from the original posting, and 5 new technologies that have earned their rightful place in the list (displacing 5 other types of tech, that while still worthy, are not quite as relevant today, IMHO). This is not intended to be a definitive listing, but rather an informed resource that provides insights and raises awareness. Lots of links to example apps and articles have been provided, so readers can learn more about each application category.
1. Video and Podcasting Resources – One of the most widely adopted internet technologies for use in instructional settings is video streaming. In addition to the ubiquitous YouTube, there are several education-specific video hosting sites, including TeacherTubeEduTube, and SchoolTube. There is an abundance of lectures, how-to videos, and similar materials available on the web. The Khan Academy is one such resource that has garnered a lot of press, but it’s just one of many web-based free lecture and tutoring resources available today. Check out “A Dozen Great Free Online Video Lecture Sites” for a wide selection of lecture content, and our Tutoring Category for more tutoring resources. Podcasting has also been used to provide similar offerings of audio materials through popular sites like iTunes U (learn more about Podcasting here).
2. Digital Presentation Tools – There are dozens of tools on the Internet that can be used to create and share presentations. This summer’s post, “8 Great Free Digital Presentation Tools For Teachers To Try This Summer” provides a good starter set of tools to try if you wish to learn more about these fun applications. These tools can be used to support classroom teaching or distance learning, and provide engaging ways for students to create and deliver reports and presentations.
3. Collaboration & Brainstorming Tools – This is another wide ranging category, including thought-organizing tools like mindmap, and collaborative tools like web based interactive whiteboards andGoogle Documents. There are many collaborative environments on the web, and this category can even include tools like wikis and virtual worlds. Click through to the C & B category to learn even more.
4. Blogs & Blogging – Despite the ongoing growth and popularity of blogging, many educators are still not very familiar with the “blogosphere” and all it has to offer. In addition to the ever expanding body of education focused blog content available for free, educators should also be aware of sites like Blogger and WordPress, where users can quickly and easily create their own blogs for free. To learn more about the many ways in which teachers, students, administrators, and technologists are using blogs, check out last year’s series of posts, “Blogging in Education Today”.
5. Social Networking Tools – The article “7 Reasons To Leverage Social Networking Tools in the Classroom” makes the case for the many benefits that can come from using social networking tools in a social learning context. Posts about the use of mass media tools like Facebook and Twitter generate a lot of traffic, indicating a high level of interest in these tools. There are also many education-specific social networking tools available today that enable teachers to explore this avenue without having to worry about exposing students to inappropriate content.
6. Lecture Capture – This technology has tremendous potential. One of ways in which lecture capture can change the nature of teaching is by enabling teachers to “flip the classroom”. Students can consume lecture content outside of the classroom and use valuable in-class time to reinforce the material covered in the lecture and make sure students are understanding the new content. For more on this topic, read the article, “Learning about Lecture Capture Technology”.
7. Student Response Systems & Poll/Survey Tools – Student Response Systems, or “clicker” technology is gaining a lot of traction in educational institutions. One winner of last year’s EmergingEdTech contest focused on uses of technology in the classroom demonstrated clear learning outcome improvements while engaging students with this interactive education technology. One the most common uses for clickers is poll taking, which can also be done using a computer or smart phone, utilizing any of the dozens of tools out on the web that do this, like Doodle or Polldaddy.
8. Educational Gaming – The “gamification” of education is another tech trend that is gradually taking hold in educational practices in academic institutions across the world. The 2011 Horizon Report, which provides insights into education technology trends, claims that game-based learning is only 2-3 years from mainstream adoption. While waiting for this technology to mature, there are many educational games available today in the form of online sites like these.
9. Open Educational Resources – OER is a transformational idea that can play an important role in changing the nature, and availability, of educational materials, content, and tools. Click over to “Learning about OER – Open Educational Resources” to discover more about this topic and access a host of resources on the subject. How wonderful would it be if Open Education Resources evolved into the predominant way in which educational resources were delivered?
10. The iPad and other tablet devices – Since the launch of the iPad2, this Apple technology has really taken education by storm. Posts here like, “10 Excellent iPad Applications for Teachers” generate a huge amount of traffic, confirming the tremendous interest level in this platform. We’ve been learning more about this phenomenon through articles like, “iPads In Education – How’s It Going So Far?” and “Using The iPad As A Digital Whiteboard (Plus 4 Cool Free Apps To Try It Out)”. Schools across the world are considering uses for the iPad and similar tablet devices, and the market for tablets is really heating up.
Another important education technology trend is the exploding use of mobile devices. While this has not been included as it’s own category here, it is implicit in several of the technologies above. For example, smart phones and other mobile devices go hand-in-hand with social networking and consumption of video and podcasting resources and lecture capture content. I mention this here specifically because tablet devices seem to have risen to the fore of the mobile device category this year.
Well, there you have it – ten technologies that teachers, administrators, and educational technologists should be keeping an eye on and considering for their schools and classrooms, if they aren’t already using them. Please be sure to visit EmergingEdTech frequently (and subscribe if you haven’t already) to stay on top of these powerful tools and technologies that are impacting and changing education.

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