Smarter classrooms raise student engagement

Many smart classrooms include computers, tablets and smartboards, which are linked together through a classroom management solution.

With the emergence of classroom computers, smart boards and tables and other mobile devices, the smart classroom has been born. When these devices are tied together with a unified classroom management system, students and teachers can work together to create more engaging lessons and enhance classroom-wide knowledge.

Smart classroom trends
Recently, an increasing amount of teachers are ditching the blackboard and chalk in favor of a touchscreen enabled smart board, which both educators and students can utilize together. Furthermore, students are leaving spiral notebooks and pens in the classroom as more schools provide classroom computers, tablets and other devices for student use.

Many institutions are reaping the benefits of interactive whiteboards, which allow students and teachers to work collaboratively on the same platform. Students can make changes to a document via the whiteboard, and teachers have the ability to edit work on the smartboard at the same time.

"We're all about increasing student engagement and achievement," SMART technologies director Neil Currie said. "It's about student achievement at the core. We have research that shows that interactive whiteboards increase student engagement, and the more engaged they are, the better results you're going to get."

Smart classrooms are also utilizing other touchscreen technology, including touch capabilities of classroom computers and tablets as well as smart tables.

Currie said many students benefit from being able to touch and collaborate with other children as well as with their educators.

Furthermore, when all of these devices are linked together via a classroom software or classroom management strategies, teachers maintain visibility and control in student-driven, highly collaborative learning environments.

Classroom software in action
Golden Oak Community School in California makes regular use of classroom software via several devices in their smart classrooms.

One assignment asked the students to create a number of questions pertaining to the day's lesson on their iPads. The questions were then presented to the rest of the class as part of a pop quiz via the classroom's smartboard. Students utilized handheld devices to answer each question, and the teacher could track the answers in real time.

"They all have to make sure they're contributing to the final product, so it's been really awesome to watch them learn and grown with that," educator Amanda Jones said of the smart classroom's impact on her students.

Suzannah Hastings

Suzannah is interested in all things digital, from software security to the latest technological advances. She writes about ways in which the increasingly internet-driven landscape changes our lives, and what we can expect in the future.