#1: Voice Assistants
Voice Assistants like Alexa and Siri definitely have a place in the classroom. As the market for voice assistants continues to grow, more and more applications will be built for voice to supplement the classroom experience. Even in their current state, voice assistants can provide immense value to classrooms. Take a simple use case, such as a teacher setting a reminder to discuss higher-level lesson points the following week. Often times, teachers may not find the time or even remember to review difficult material, so using voice assistants to set reminders in real-time can greatly enhance the classroom processes and therefore help students to learn more and continue to build their knowledge base.
To an even greater extent, resources like AskMyClass can transform a classroom into an interactive, futuristic educational experience. AskMyClass provides new lesson ideas, curated content, group and individual learning, listening skills and more. Additionally, it only costs $20 per year per teacher! More and more classroom voice applications will continue to arise over the next few years, and they are great ways to integrate IoT in the classroom.
Connected whiteboards are another great tool to make a classroom “smart.” Think of the evolution from chalkboards to whiteboards to projectors. When I was a student, these technological advancements seemed like magic. Now, anything a teacher writes up on the board can be recorded.
Think of the benefits this provides to students. For one, how many times did you forget to write down notes, assignments or exam dates that were written up on the board in the front of the class? I know it happened to me at least once per week. Now, all notes will be recorded and accessible by all students in the classroom. This can also lead to higher levels of collaboration among students, who can discuss smart board notes through the class’s online management system.
And, because connected smart boards have access to the internet, supplementary and related materials are automatically searchable and accessible via the board’s interface. For example, if a music teacher is discussing Beethoven’s 5th Symphony and writes it down on the board, the piece’s first movement can be played on the board while a brief snippet of Beethoven’s biography may appear on the left side of the board. How cool is that?
#3: Digital Textbooks
A third resource for the smart classroom is the digital textbook. Besides the obvious value behind these textbooks—easier to carry from class to class, less space, more cost-effective and environmentally friendly—digital textbooks are also interactive and thus can connect to a smart classroom.
Students can highlight information and collaborate on difficult sections in textbooks, an individual student’s textbook and notes can connect to a classroom’s smart board to be shared with the class, and students can also share notes through these textbooks. Additionally, many of these digital textbooks provide interactive practice and quiz materials to supplement classroom learning and studying, which provides significant value to students and teachers alike.