Technology has completely changed the way students of all ages interact and learn in the classroom. Teachers now depend on smart boards rather than chalkboards, and students have replaced their trusty pencil cases and notebooks with laptops and tablets. The integration of technology can help create an interactive and engaging classroom environment, and it can greatly benefit the way students access resources and produce work. These 5 pieces of technology are vital for students and have the potential to completely change the way they learn.
Some teachers may not like the thought of smartphones being used in their classroom, but they can greatly aid students with organizing and scheduling their assignments and classes. Android, Windows and iOS smartphones have handy calendar applications which can be used to input deadlines and timetables. These important dates can be synchronized so they can be accessed from other computers and devices. Smartphones with 3G and 4G support also allow students to use the Internet wherever they are and provide quick and easy access to emails and online learning resources. There are also hundreds of different smartphone apps which have been developed with students in mind. Used correctly, a smartphone can be just as useful to a student’s academic life as it can their social life.
A good laptop can be an invaluable resource for any student. The portability of the device ensures that students can comfortably take them between classrooms or lecture halls and type up notes or assignments anytime and anywhere. Manufacturers like Dell and Compaq produce value, entry-level laptops which are perfect for students. A budget of around £350 can buy a powerful laptop with at least an Intel Core i3 processor, 4GB RAM and the latest version of Windows. These specifications are more than enough to run the majority of software that students will require and they will also capably handle memory-intensive applications like Adobe Photoshop.
High Capacity USB Memory Stick
Cloud storage may be on the rise, but sometimes nothing beats the reliability of a USB memory stick. Students don’t have to worry about connecting to the Internet to manage their storage needs and applications can be run directly from the flash drive. Also, it can be quicker and easier to transfer a large file from a hard drive to an external USB than uploading it to a cloud storage server, especially for multimedia projects or large files. A 32GB memory stick can be purchased for less than £10, and it is a small price to pay for a complete storage solution.
Appealing to technophobes and technophiles alike, e-book readers have been one of the most popular gadgets to emerge in recent years. Amazon has announced that orders for e-books now outsell those of printed, physical copies, and its online library continues to grow with new titles being added every day. Selling an estimated 6 million units of the new Kindle Fire model during the fourth quarter of 2012, Amazon’s Kindle range are the best-selling e-readers available. Retailing from £69 and capable of storing up to 1,400 books, the Kindle is an all-in-one reading solution for all students. New titles can be bought and downloaded on the device in just a few clicks and the vast Amazon library has a wide range of textbooks and other academic titles.
Tablet devices have completely innovated mobile computing. Popular tablets like the iPad, Kindle Fire and Google Nexus 7 use an intuitive touchscreen interface for convenient and accessible computing. The huge online stores of both Google and Apple have hundreds of downloadable apps that can greatly benefit students. Time management apps, note-taking software, bibliography managers and all-purpose word processing and graphic design apps are just some of the many useful downloads that can aid academic work and preparation. Coupled with a high definition display and thin, portable design, a tablet computer can be an essential learning resource for students.
Although some will contend that technology is better suited for procrastination rather than productivity, it is hard to deny the huge impact it can have on education and learning. The devices mentioned in this tech checklist demonstrate how technology can be a versatile and resourceful tool in any learning environment and are certainly essential for those studying university courses today, which are becoming increasingly technology based each year.
This is a post from Christopher, a tech blogger, currently studying in his final year at one of the largest London Universities.