Thursday, June 6, 2013

Integrating Technology with the Classroom

It’s good to understand that the key to education is keeping the student on task and involved in your program. In today’s digitized culture incorporating technology can help teachers and educational organizations connect with today’s students, but in order to make integrating technology into education work seamlessly, you need to start with a good class website. The website will serve as a hub for all of your links, apps, blogs pdf’s, presentations, social media, videos and every other cool new teaching tool that comes down the road.

Within 5 years, just about every student is going to have smart technology in their pocket via some mobile device. Providing exposure to tech and web in a learning environment will not only teach students to respect the devices and personal information, but also empower them to use them for good and learning.

The first step is to understand your goals and relate them to the 2 aspects of technology in the classroom - hardware & software:
  • Are you looking to make learning easier more accessible?
  • Are you trying to integrate all aspects of learning/administration together?
  • Are you trying to relate to the students on a more cultural level?

Looking at hardware, its important to find a device that is customizable and configurable.
Newmind Group has not only helped thousands of schools acquire Chromebooks devices, but we’ve also helped them configure and manage to provide tailored environments based on teaching and organizational frameworks, even 1-to-1 learning.

As to software, I like to separate it into admin and learning. On the admin side, Chromebooks provide the flexibility to control the apps/content students see/interact with, via personalized app stores, proxy configurations, and content-filtering software.

The powerful management console available for Chromebooks allows education administrators to:
  • Provide a private & personalized app store for their school
  • Track Assets & get device usage reports
  • Customize features & user access
  • Configure network access to ensure proxy usage

Using some very clean and easy to use software, like Securly, you can enhance content-filtering.

Important to note, Chromebooks operate online, therefore the school needs to be ready for a web-centric curriculum. Which leads into the learning software, available through the Chrome Web Store. This can be accomplished in two ways:

  • Grade-level application packs are groups of Chrome Web Store apps that integrate tightly with Google’s suite of Apps for Education, divided by grade levels to meet different classroom needs. These packs are installable from the Chromebook management console. Many of them are free and we’ve worked with the app makers to offer discounts for bulk purchases.
  • Organization-specific web app collections in the Chrome Web Store give administrators the ability to recommend apps to students, teachers and staff. The collection is visible only to the school, and admins can curate apps from the Chrome Web Store, application packs and web apps purchased elsewhere or private apps developed by the school. (This feature is also available to Chromebooks for Business customers from the control panel.)

A great place to start is with organizations that have already made the leap. Reach out to local schools and universities and see if any have implemented new technology. You can even reach out to us and we’ll help get you in touch.

Technology can be an asset for education when ensuring its implementation matches organizational and student goals. What technologies have you adopted and what goals are you trying to meet?

Protect Students With Web Filtering

Securly protects students on computers throughout the school while giving them safe access to 21st century learning tools like YouTube, Google and Wikipedia.
  • Safe Search
  • Safe Social Media
  • YouTube for Schools
  • and more...

Daniel Proczko has been working with organizations and individuals to build & grow the entrepreneur community of Kalamazoo, MI. From organizing TEDx events, hack-a-thons, and documentary screenings to engaging with business leaders, Dan strives to inspire individuals with new ideas and better thinking.

Having always been interested in tech and understanding the value of innovation through IT, communicating the importance of strategic IT thinking is one of Dan's primary goals within Newmind Group.