10 Technology Advances to a 21st Century School, Part 1
Twenty-first century schools happen because of bold leadership that allows transformations to occur. These transformations must take schools out of the past by reinventing procedures and protocols using digital tools. In fact, the future demands integration of digital tools. New norms have nearly obliterated old deference of the past.
For example, most parents of school-age children belong to Generation X. These parents have grown up using technology and are comfortable using technology tools to take care of multiple responsibilities. According to the article Generation Gap (http://www.forbes.com/), Generation X members rely on technology for convenience purposes, such as banking and shopping.
Steps can be taken at any school to bring it into the 21st century, with varied levels of technology adoption and proficiencies. There are 10 technology advances that utilize tools to effectively transform a school into the 21st century. Here are five:
- Group Messaging. Group messaging tools work by incorporating an application to send out text, voice, or email messages to groups quickly, simply, and safely. Teachers can share files, events, due dates, meetings, and keep track of who is doing which tasks. Tech tools for group messaging, which include many of these features, are Remind (remind101), Wiggio, or Kikutext.
- Districts, schools, and classrooms are coming up with their own Twitter accounts and hashtags to communicate urgent messages, meeting reminders, policy reminders, event information, unit topics, classroom projects, contests, awards, or requests. An alternative to Twitter is Facebook pages for the district, school, or class.
- Quick Response Codes (QR Codes). These are digitally coded images that hold information. QR codes can be used in the front office to share school policies, drop-off/pick-up procedures, school events, school schedules, and community outreach. In a similar manner, teachers can use QR codes engaging students in a lesson, challenging students in a lesson extension, relaying a contest or opportunity for students, or communicating parameters for a project. Hand-held devices, such as cell phones and tablets, as well as many laptops and notebooks can download a QR code reader that will enable the user to simply scan the code to obtain the stored information. Tools such as the-qrcode-generator,
- Classroom management tools. By tracking classroom behaviors on a classroom management tool or application, teachers can document occurrences, provide students with immediate behavioral feedback, and communicate individual student behaviors to parents in a clear and prompt manner. The most popular of these tools is ClassDojo, but ClassCharts is another tool with slightly varied features.
- Digital Safety tools. Digital safety educational sites with resources for teachers and students can make technology integration easier and more straightforward. Districts, schools, and teachers with a plan for teaching digital safety can build a foundation for technology experiences both inside and outside of class. Some options for finding curriculum, including lesson plans and videos are Commonsensemedia.org, Google.com/+/safety, or teachinctrl.org.
Be sure to read Part 2 of this blog post with the next five steps to a 21st century school. These steps will be focused on technology support tools for assessment, documentation, and demonstration of student learning.