21st Century Digital Teacher: 3 Tools You Need To Have A Totally Tech-Friendly Classroom

Posted on: 29 September 2015

Between social media and the ubiquity of handheld devices, technology has changed the way many kids learn and grasp concepts.  Because students experience technology in so many different ways, it's important to make sure different types of technology are fully integrated into your lessons and classroom procedures.  There are three key types of electronic equipment you need in your tool chest to make your classroom completely tech-friendly for the benefit of your students.  

Tool #1: An HDMI Converter

Whether you have an interactive whiteboard, a projector, a rolling television cart, or all of the above, an HDMI converter will allow both you and your students to display what's on your computer for the whole room to see.  Before picking up an HDMI converter, consider what you'll actually be using it for so you know what features you'll need.  

  • Who will use it?  If you're the only one who will be using the HDMI converter, you only need to worry about getting one that supports your specific type of computer.  However, if students will also use it for presentations from their own computers, consider getting one that works for PCs and other types of operating systems. 
  • What will be displayed?  Are you only interested in showing presentations without sound, or will you also use the converter to stream movies online?  If you're planning on streaming movies, consider getting a higher rated converter and cord to make sure the projector can keep up with the frame rate of the movie you're showing. 
  • How much space do you need? Depending on the size of your classroom and the arrangement of desks, you'll need a cord long enough to plug into any device necessary.  You might consider purchasing a converter and a few different cords in various lengths to ensure you have ample length without a messy cord getting in the way.

Tool #2: A Presentation Remote

When you're giving presentations from your computer, you might find your classroom management suffers if you're tied to the computer to click through slides.  Instead, invest in a wireless presentation remote that connects to your computer via USB.  

Depending on your subject area and the amount of interaction from your students during presentations, a few different features might be important to you when choosing a presentation remote. 

  • The ability to use a laser pointer when showing pictures or working through complicated topics
  • A mouse on the remote to access different slides or programs on the computer without having to return to the computer
  • Audio-visual controls, including play, rewind, fast forward, and volume controls if your presentation includes video or sound clips

Tool #3: A Wireless Hotspot

Imagine, your lesson plans for the day include streaming a video online, but the school's internet is down.  Or perhaps the cinder block walls of your classroom are creating a slow connection and making your video spotty.  You can either scramble and change your plans, limiting student learning or you can have a back-up tucked away in your desk.  A wireless hotspot will allow you to project a wireless signal throughout the classroom without being dependent on your school's internet system.  

Most smartphones come with the option to turn the phone into a hotspot, but the range is often limited.  This could be useful if only you or a handful of students need the wireless signal.  Internet service providers and wireless companies also offer MiFi devices, which are portable wireless hotspots that come with a variety of ranges depending on the size of your classroom and how many devices will be connected at a time.

Modern educators need immediate and efficient access to technology to help keep students engaged and prepared for the real world.  To help keep your lesson plans strong, you'll need a few essential tools when it comes to technology.  An HDMI converter, wireless presentation remote, and wireless hotspot are all essential when it comes to incorporating technology into your teaching seamlessly.