30.06.2015

Even in the summer EdTech doesn’t take a vacation

Image |  Texas A&M University

Summer is here for schools in the northern hemisphere. Schools in this part of the world are closing their doors — but learning does not end with the heat. At home, teachers and students can continue with classes in a very particular way. Today we present various technological tools that can provide hours of fun for students. They will learn without even realizing it.

Thanks to the internet, we can prevent our brains from stagnating during the summertime. For example, using various tools the web can provide continuous evaluations in the same way that the most demanding teacher might. And so your students don’t forget the knowledge they’ve learned, you can try Kahoot!, which creates competitions where kids must respond correctly — and quickly.

Teachers can also create their own tests or use those of other users. They can even encourage their students to create questionnaires to get them more involved. Questions can incorporate pictures or videos from YouTube and can have more than one correct answer. Teachers can also create virtual discussion forums to discuss issues that have arisen so that students can raise questions about the tests.

If a teacher prefers to engage students with videos, EDpuzzle may be the ideal tool for them. It lets you take a video, edit it down to include only the parts you want and do voice-overs. During the recording you can leave questions for the students to answer, and later you can monitor whether the students have watched the video or interacted with it. Students also have the opportunity to develop their own creations to share with their peers.

Continuing with videos, let’s now look at tool to develop public speaking and rhetorical skills, something that is usually outside of the curriculum. With Flipgrid students are filmed in debates with peers giving their arguments and reasoning about a subject and then they share them on social networks or websites. The best speeches can receive an ‘Like’, a good barometer for their self-esteem.

If you’re looking for visually stimulating games, BrainRush is the website for you. You can opt for cards (can you guess the Greek gods by their descriptions?) or even math problems. You have to register to access the games.

If we want something attractive to engage children in mathematics, especially if they are averse to it, you have to try Operation Math (available for iOS and Android). In Operation Math, you are a spy who must complete over 100 missions around the world solving addition, subtraction, multiplication and division problems. As the description says, it is “a fun alternative to homework and worksheets”.

There is still skepticism among teachers about what students might do if given a tablet. What if they get distracted? However the examples we have mentioned show that this is not the case, we just need to invite them to participate. The prevalence of mobile devices allows students to access educational content more quickly and cheaply than with notebooks to solve problems and they can use them at anytime and at any place during the summer holidays.

Summer camps are also using EdTech

Activity books, meeting new friends and being active in nature are some classic components of the typical summer camp. However they’re now starting to incorporate more technologies into the experience. In Spain there are various programs, such as farm schools for young (and not so young) entrepreneurs, the Etopia Colonia de Zaragoza or our very own camps organized by our educational team mSchools TechCamps. On the other hand in the United States and Canada there is the Digital Media Academy, which offers courses as varied and exciting as game development apps and 3D animation. Also, in California, there is Camp EdTech, which has a very similar training offer.

With so many options available, it can be tough to choose. Do we want to debate classic questions of life or pretend like we’re James Bond? Should we send kids to camp? The important thing, in any case, is to take advantage of this time for learning.