Educators can try new technology in 2014

Posted on Monday, 12/30/2013 6:00 PM

For teachers, a new year provides an opportunity to embrace fresh ideas and jettison those that proved to be ineffective. If educators have avoided using classroom technology, such as student software, in recent years, then 2014 may be the best time to embrace cutting-edge educational tools.

U.S. News & World Report recently highlighted a few technology trends instructors may want to try come Jan. 1. Here are two of them:

Making instruction more personal
What works for one student in the classroom may not necessarily work for his or her peers. For this reason, educators should consider how they can tailor their lessons to pupils' individual learning needs.

Georgia's Forsyth County Schools is one district where students benefit from a personalized approach to learning, according to the news source. Forsyth has a system in place that assesses how its pupils learn best, as well as the best methods for teaching them lessons.

As not every school system has the resources necessary to take such steps, Mike Evans, Forsyth's director of information and instructional support, told the news outlet that educators could always use technology to personalize their instruction. For example, teachers could bring experts on a specific topic into the classroom via Skype.

According to the online voice and video service's website, 75,021 teachers are already using Skype in their classrooms. The software allows students to chat with pupils in another part of the country or go on a virtual field trip. Ultimately, if it can help improve kids' academic experience, it may be worth a try in 2014.

Learning in 3D
With each passing year, more and more education experts are talking about 3D printing and how it can benefit classroom learning. This technology, which turns a digital model into a solid object, is already appearing in schools.

"I've seen them used in elementary schools all the way up to high schools," Rich Lamb, an assistant professor in Washington State University's College of Education, told the news source.


Glen Grove Elementary School in Illinois is one institution where students are currently enjoying the wonder of 3D printing, according to the Chicago Tribune. In the case of the 3D printer in place at the school, the objects the machine creates are plastic.

"To see it layer and build something from the ground is really neat," Markus Harnett, a Glen Grove teacher, told the news outlet.

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