Recently, our team was recognized by the Horizon Interactive Awards with a Silver Award for our work with The Princeton Review. We helped The Princeton Review improve their student’s learning experience through the creation of customized dashboards thanks to the help of SMAC (Social, Mobile, Analytics, and Cloud) technologies. These customized dashboards allow students to know now where to focus their efforts efficiently when preparing for the SATs.
Drawing inspiration from our work with The Princeton Review and the fact that 1/3 of U.S. students use School issued devices, we posed a relevant scenario to our team in hopes of sparking inspiration for improving student’s learning experience in the classroom.
A local middle school has been awarded a grant for testing the implementation of tablets (iPads) into the classroom to see if integrating technology into the classroom will increase engagement, productivity and student grades. The tablets will be used for personalized learning in the classroom; personalized learning is based on the idea that all students can learn, and they all learn in different ways at different paces. The end result being a student-centered environment customized to meet the learning needs and interests of each individual student.
What tips/solutions would you propose to educators to help support students create a personalized environment with the help of tablets, without the technology being a distraction?
Better Student Engagement Starts with Educated Teachers
First and foremost, educate the educators on best practices with using iPads in the classroom. Goals need to be established of what needs to be accomplished with the tablets, and evaluate the progress towards those goals on a regular basis (i.e. have all students complete a project using the tablet, have all students research and evaluate an educational app, etc.).
Creating a platform for teachers to share best practices with each other will ensure a knowledgeable staff. Each month, teachers can meet monthly to review what is working, what is not working.
Applications are the Easiest Way to Create Better Engagement
The creation of Educational Apps is one of the most obvious and easiest solutions. Apps will engage students in the learning process in the seamless and intuitive fashion and is familiar to a younger audience from the get go.
- Cursive-to-Print Converter with a Blackboard scanner that takes images and does conversions on the fly
- Essay Builder that provides students with easy-to-remember templates
- Many times elementary students do long-term projects like growing plants, frogs, flies, etc. Provide a Project Tracker App that not only records notes and pictures of the project progress but also provides a timeline and a final report.
Fostering a Learning Environment with Minimal Distractions and Dashboards
Providing students to access the Internet on their tablets will open them up to a wealth of knowledge. But in order to make sure their time is being spent wisely, blocking social media sites like Facebook and Instagram will ensure that student’s time is focused on their school work.
Coupled with a distraction free tablet experience, the creation of a dashboard like interface for teachers to track the progress of their students will allow for a more personalized classroom experience. The creation of a dashboard interface will allow teachers to see how each student is progressing on an individual basis. If students have been working on a task for too long and need help or are becoming distracted a dashboard interface will allow teachers to interact with the student to give them help or keep them on track.