It is almost a given that technology is a huge advantage as far as their being able to get somewhere in life is concerned. It is actually not a matter of whether or not it will have impact on students but whether or not it will impact the learning process positively or negatively and accelerate the learning process. Given the popularity technology is enjoying today, it comes as no surprise that it is being credited for the increase in public awareness among students, something that used to be a challenge for both parents and educators.
For one, technology accelerates, enriches and deepens a student’s basic skills. Recent studies show that students learn faster and understand better when they use technology because it facilitates cooperative learning. Real communication with adults is possible because they are getting used to it and it is one medium they feel most at ease with.
Technology also keeps students motivated and engaged in the learning process. When students are engaged in something, they learn more especially when they are able to relate this to real-life situations, especially in matters concerning communication, scientific analysis and problem-solving. Technology also helps prepare students for the real world, by making them into individuals who are more productive and more competitive, something that contributes significantly to economic growth and a more viable workforce market.
Experts believe that it is best to teach students about technology when they are young, but then again with gadgets becoming more affordable, schools are able to incorporate more technology into their curriculum so it’s really has turned into something children easily learn like how to ride a bike or how to play basketball.
Today’s tech-savvy students, however, are not just limited to a desktop PC or a laptop as far as getting higher grades or maintaining them is concerned. With so many innovative advancements available, there is practically no excuse for students to get bargain basement grades and so here, in no particular order, are the best ways for students to get old-school straight A’s the high-tech way:
1. Educational Websites
Since the world and its mother are practically logged onto their computers 24/7, perhaps it makes sense to come up with websites designed to help students do their homework, research and writing. Cramster.com for example, is an online community offering homework help to high school and college students using interactive textbook guides. It also serves as a way to facilitate communication between students, enabling them to form study groups and share their class schedules.
Ipl2 on the other hand, is a free website that offers links on a variety of academic topics from creative writing to history. It also features an “ask the librarian” service tailored for both kids and teens for easy navigation.
2. Educational Mobile Applications/Plug-ins
Next to laptops and tablets, the mobile phone is one gadget that students can’t live without as it serves as their portal to the world but it can also be a portal to higher education with various apps that can be downloaded like the IStudies Pro Iphone app that helps students keep track of class information and deadlines. In addition, you can also link your teacher’s email and office hours for each class and you can also color code your time commitments for easier tracking.
Another interesting mobile app is Evernote, which makes note-taking easier by enabling you to take notes in text, images or audio recording. You can also easily access your notes from your home computer whenever you need to. And although quite expensive, Cram is another app you that can be downloaded and enables students to create study aids like flash cards when you need to study quickly for quizzes or exams on the go.
3. Gadgets for Reading
Reading definitely becomes more fun and easier with tools like Speak Tool, a built-in feature in any computer that is also great for proofreading. Then there’s the Word Talk plug in that reads aloud selected texts from written on Word 2003-2010. Text-to-speech software like NaturalReader Free Version, Balabolka and Read and Write GOLD reads aloud any selected text with synchronized highlighting and even allows text to be converted to mp3 audio.
The best thing about technology is that they come in a lot of downloadable options so that you can also choose to download them on your mobile or tablet as well.
4. Gadgets for Writing
There’s nothing like good speech recognition software to help get those need-to-remember facts into your head like Windows Speech Recognition, E-Speaking for Windows XP and Dragon Naturally Speaking Premium. For those writing assignments that need to be word-perfect, there’s Ginger, the advanced spelling and grammar checker, E-Type, which is a word prediction software and FreeMind, a free mind-mapping and brainstorming software to help students come up with the perfect topics and ideas for projects and papers you need to hand in.
5. E-book Readers
Ever been assigned a book report wherein the book in question may no longer be available at the local library? E-book readers not only enable you to download a copy of that hard-to-find book, it also is light enough and convenient enough to bring anywhere with you so you get to do your research and get ace that book report without too much effort. Even if you’re not using it for school, you can also download the latest best sellers in the market for your pure reading pleasure.
It is not enough however, that teachers base their use of technology on the students’ interest in them. They should also find ways and means to use technology to open their students’ mind and help them get a new perspective on things. They must keep the learning both fun and challenging to keep the students learning and their grades from slipping.
About Ian Nuttall
Ian Nuttall is an expert in web technologies and teaches people how to make websites and generate a profit from them too. You can find out more by visiting his personal site: Ian.