From abacus to blackboard to tablet, classrooms have been revolutionized by technology, changing the face of schools forever and providing new opportunities for learning.
A 2013 Pew study found that 92% of teachers felt the internet had a “major impact” on their ability to access information and 57% found it had a similar impact on their ability to communicate with students.
More and more, teachers are using websites to consolidate information and broaden their reach. Over one third of teachers said they use a website or blog in their lessons. One teacher completely revolutionized her classroom techniques with the integration of advanced technology. By introducing students to various technologies, she now has her class working in smaller groups, at the pace they feel most comfortable.
Another study found that a whopping 74% of teachers believed that technology in education worked as a motivator for students – with over two thirds wanting to increase the amount of technology used in class. So not only does incorporating more technology into a classroom help to raise a computer-savvy generation, it also makes students want to learn.
If you’re hoping to start an educational website, but need a little bit of inspiration, check out how these teachers and schools around the country are using POWr plugins to make teaching just a little bit easier and more fun.
Add interaction with video
Robert Ahdoot, a Los Angeles-based teacher and founder of Yay Math! began filming his math classes in 2008 hoping to engage with his students and provide more resources for them. Robert posts videos of his engaging and entertaining Math classes – and you can hear his students in the background, interacting with him throughout. For the past two years, Robert has used a POWr Slider to embed YouTube videos on his website; he puts links to relevant information in his captions, so his students can have access to related materials.
What started as a classroom project is now global, with people watching over 1.8 million minutes of his videos each month. But he advises against too much focus on technology in the classroom: “There is something very special that the core of Yay Math!'s identity is super human - the connection between teacher and student, ” says Ahdoot. “The technology is valuable because it delivers that connection to a higher scale,” he said, adding that within the classroom, markers and a whiteboard can still have a profound effect on students.
Staying connected with easy mailing lists
Newsletters and blog updates are an increasingly important resource for educators, with 80% of teachers reporting they get weekly email alerts about their field. Billy Parker is the American teacher responsible for Lessons from Travel, a website dedicated to sharing history lessons from his travels around the world. Billy uses a POWr Form on his blog to help people easily sign up for updates, so they can read each article almost as soon as it’s posted.
Use Twitter to embed automatic updates
Social media has created a fast, easy, and effective way for schools to boast about achievements and relay relevant information to parents – without having to depend on students to pass along messages. Many schools use Twitter and Facebook to publish important information, like emergency meetings or school closures. The Hillsboro R-3 School District in Missouri embeds three different Twitter feeds on its homepage – keeping all of their important information up to date and in the same place.
Connect all your social networks to your website
If you’re trying to get more followers on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or virtually any other social platform, consider putting social media icons in the header or footer of your website. That way your visitors are connected to your social media on every page and can choose to contact or follow you in the medium they prefer. Teachers and schools can use social media to showcase work done by students and feature upcoming events. But some are going a step further, and incorporating social media into lesson plans, like this Brooklyn teacher who taught his second-graders how to Tweet.
Embed a résumé right onto your page
If you want to show off your credentials, or teach your students how to flaunt theirs, you might think about including your résumé on your website. Using POWr Resume you can very easily create a CV, either by importing your information from LinkedIn or filling it out manually. Students at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, each embedded a résumé onto a project-specific website they created. This way, the soon-to-be graduating college students could showcase their skills on the same page as their work.
Keep track of who’s attending online classes
If you want to gauge how many of your students are visiting your website – and how often – you might want to consider adding a hit counter to your page. One teacher has a website for her AP World History class where she posts all information related to the course including the complete syllabus, relevant reading, and exam dates. At the bottom of her page she embeds a widget showing live traffic feed to her website, displaying visits from computers across the country, as well as a hit counter, which shows exactly how many visits her website has had.
Keep an eye on the clock
If there’s an important deadline you don’t want your students or visitors to miss, consider putting a countdown timer directly on your page so everyone knows the precise deadline. Countdown timers are effective tools for building anticipation and facilitating organization. Consider using one next time you have a big test coming up, or you want to pump up your students about a field trip or event. Check out this earlier post for more Countdown Timer inspiration.
There are so many creative and inventive way teachers are using the Internet to further education, and we’re excited we can play a part in that. How does technology change the way you teach and interact with your students? Let us know in the comments!