Tuesday, January 21, 2020

4 Tech Tools for Back to School

Erin Ollila
August 16, 2019

3 minute read

It’s back to school time — for children and some adults. With this season comes a big schedule change. No longer are beach days marking the calendar, but early wake-ups and homework after school.

The change of routine means that families and teachers need all the help they can get. What’s the best tech to keep everyone organized, learning, and enjoying the school year? We take a look at a few modern tech tools for back to school season.

Video as social class participation

Sometimes, meeting students where they are means adopting social-media-like learning methods. With the rise of video in the past few years comes the opportunity to give students a new outlet to participate in lessons.

Take Flipgrid, an educational app, as an example. Students of all age ranges can respond to their teacher’s prompts via a video answer. In the beginning of the year, these prompts may simply exist as ice breakers to foster a sense of community, but as their learning progresses, homework will literally follow the “show, don’t tell” advice. Students can film work-in-progress science experiments, interviews with subject matter experts, or anything else pertinent to what they’re currently learning.

Better yet, teachers can link up their lesson planning with other teachers around the globe, so that students can share videos with peers in different areas of the world.

Saving paper with smart notebooks

Does back to school season make you envision new notebooks, paper, pencils, and other forms of school supplies? While clean-smelling backpacks and fresh sets of highlighters do signal the start of a new school year, there’s often a lot of waste that occurs when perfectly good notebooks (and other supplies) are tossed aside for brand-new-purchases.

Now there’s another option — a smart notebook, like the ones made by Rocketbook, which translates your handwritten notes from the page and into the cloud for safekeeping. Ready for something to blow your mind? To clear the contents of the Rockebook Wave (when used with the FriXion pens), all you have to do is zap in the microwave and the pages go back to being blank!

Tech tools that won’t let you forget

There’s a lot of paper that comes home throughout the school year. And, there’s a lot of activities, commitments, and due dates, too. Enough for someone to forget what needs to happen along the way. However, there are apps that keep teachers, students, and their parents in the know, so no one misses anything important.

One such app, Remind, offers not only a reminder system, but also a messaging tool to involve the key players in a student’s life. Now, parents who volunteer to help out in their children’s classrooms don’t have to worry about forgetting their commitments. Similarly, if a child can’t remember what page in their workbook to complete, they can check in with their teacher immediately.

Classroom communication that involves everyone

Who knows how it happens, but from the moment kindergarten begins, children all over the world seemingly know to answer, “Nothing!” when asked what they did in school that day. But we know better. So what’s the best way to stay connected with their school activity when it’s time to head back to school?

There are many classroom-centered apps that connect parents to their children’s activities. One of them, ClassDojo, shares stories with parents about what their children are doing in school, with pictures and videos! But more than that, this is where goal-setting can happen with all parties involved — the parents, teacher, and the child of course.

Erin Ollila
Erin Ollila believes in the power of words and how a message can inform – and even transform – its intended audience. After a 12+ year career in human resources, she's jumped headfirst into digital strategy. Erin is a geek for SEO and all things social media.
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