Let’s take a quick look at the tech-enabled teacher that will operate in the future (near future!)

It’s Monday morning, another day and another fun week in the classroom with tech support.

Mrs. Apple (Psst! It’s you!) walks into her classroom, quickly fires up her laptop, and checks out the daily news show and podcasts that students will soon be watching. She then proceeds to check the school’s web community where there are some announcements and where her students have been busy all night finishing up their online activities.

She answers some of your questions about an upcoming project and addresses some of a parent’s concerns about his son’s math grades. The mother is away on business in the southern US, but she has been keeping an eye on her son’s progress in the school’s password-protected virtual community.

They were given as homework a diary, a science quiz, and a crossword puzzle in French. Ms. Apple reviews marks and comments on activities quickly and efficiently without turning pages. She smiles when she notices that the students Spatial Glossary has grown to over 100 words. The morning news show will feature the return of the space shuttle, so this may draw some extra space words. She reviews the latest entries and approves their posting on the website.

Starting the school day, a student who loves working with technology comes in early to set up the classroom projector, digital whiteboard, and electronic tablet. He tests the equipment and student response systems to ensure they are ready for the day’s work. Meanwhile, the teacher uploads various digital lessons, Power Points, and websites that she will use during the school day.

Students enter and participate in school opening exercises that are played on the schools’ media system. The words of the national anthem appear at the bottom of the screen while images of the landscape of their country and images of their history appear on the classroom monitor. After the anthem, a popular figure delivers an inspiring message recorded on the screen to give students a positive start to the day and lessons they will remember for a lifetime.

The class begins with a ten-minute synopsis of world and national events presented in a student-friendly format. After a brief discussion and activities related to current events, students prepare to discover more about their world from people their own age. The class connects via video link with their digital pen pals on the other side of the world and begins a student-moderated discussion that allows both classes to ask questions and gain a human perspective on their pen pals’ country. that will help them in their next projects.

Once the online conference is complete, each student writes a formal letter to their pen pal and sends it via school email. Some students attach their animated short film they created in computer class, while others submit their video skits they performed in drama class and uploaded to their personal hard drives.

As noon approaches, the excitement begins to build as students prepare their questions for today’s special virtual guest; a real astronaut. Several other classes across the continent link up to a video conference with the astronaut to hear about the training he underwent and the science he did while in space. Once they are inspired and informed by their new hero, they continue to work on their space websites that they have been developing for the last few weeks.

A few enthusiastic web design students decide to put their skills to the test and enter a youth web design contest sponsored by a multinational technology company. The students are so engrossed in the project that they spend their lunch hour and weekends trying to win the grand prize.

After lunch, the teacher has students answer questions using their electronic student response systems to get instant feedback on the student’s understanding or lack of understanding of the previous day’s lesson. After a quick scan of the test results, the instructor loads a few pages from the previous day’s lesson to give students any necessary clarification.

Now that the teacher is confident that the class has a good understanding of yesterday’s lesson, he introduces the new topic using video, interactive software, the whiteboard activities, and constantly monitors their understanding using the student response systems. Once the lesson is complete, students complete their assignments and a couple of students review the lesson again using a visual software program.

At the end of the day, the class decides to add to Wikipedia. They have been updating information about the history of their town. A student has brought an old history book that belongs to his grandmother that will help the class find new information for his entry.

This is how the day and the year continue in this classroom supported by technology. Interactive lessons, professional online presentations, lectures, hands-on activities, and digital assessments are delivered in an engaging, efficient, and effective format. The only question that remains is… are you heading towards this type of classroom?

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