The Future is Here! Emerging Technologies in the Classroom

Posted on October 24, 2007. Filed under: EdTech |

It is harder than ever to keep students engaged in the classroom. But while a majority of the people in the session believe that technology does help students learn, they also feel that only about a quarter of teachers in their district or school effectively integrate technology into their lessons.

While blogging may not be an emerging technology anymore, many schools and districts are just now realizing the power and impact it can have on education. Greenville County Schoolsrecommends two blogging sites – Edublogs and WordPress. Edublogs is best for classroom use, while WordPress works well at the district level.

How can you use blogging in the classroom? Have your students post journal entries as historical figures sharing their thoughts and feelings as they traversed oceans or continents. Students can record data from scientific experiments and post their observations. Or they can post summaries of the day’s lesson for students who may have been absent or did not understand the concepts fully. Blogs give educators the opportunity to open up their classroom to the world. Of course, safety considerations need to be accounted for – students should not post personal information or their full names. It is important to be aware of the Child Online Privacy Protection Act(COPPA) – if you aren’t aware already, make yourself familiar with this act and its recommended guidelines.

Vlogging is a video blog. We are using vlogs to share little snipets about emerging technologies. VlogIt! from Adobeis a great piece of software that produces high quality videos. It is inexpensive – $29, combine it with a simple webcam and you and your students can create video projects in the classroom.

Google Docs and Spreadsheetsis a powerful online collaborative tool. Google Docs has an online word processor, formula spreadsheet, and a presentation tool. They are not Microsoft, but have a similar graphical interface. All of these documents, spreadsheets, and presentations can be opened, edited, and saved – as well as printed and exported into other file formats.

Google Docs is free and allows educators to track the changes made to the document. Students can post their writing for the teacher and the teacher can make comments. Groups of students can collaborate online on a project versus driving to a common place or sending multiple emails. Only those who are invited can read or write to the files.

CrazyTalk4 and iClone from RealIllusionallows educators to create animations and bring classroom content to life. One of the projects that was created in Greenville County was a video summary of the The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe posted on TeacherTube. Contact RealIllusion for pricing, or download a 30-day trial from their site.

The Upstate Technology Conference is a great place to work with some of these tools mentioned here in a hands-on setting. The Call for Proposals and Participant Registrationhave just opened. Please plan on attending UTC this summer – it’s free and there are multiple opportunities to win great prizes.

What are you doing in your classroom that is different from what we shared at EdTech today? Are there any great tools that you would be willing to share? Post your comments now…

If you need handouts, please email Jeff McCoy ( or Tim Van Heule (

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One Response to “The Future is Here! Emerging Technologies in the Classroom”

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Great presentation this am! You guys rock.
I look forward to atteding the upstate
technology conference in June 2008.

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    The School District of Greenville County – Instructional Technology Department


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