How tech is revolutionising the STEM classrooms of today

STEM – an acronym used to refer to science, technology, engineering and maths – is more important in education than ever

With industries in these fields growing faster than ever, but with graduate numbers often falling short of requirements, STEM is one of the best and most fascinating career paths students can get onto.

But how do teachers get their students excited about STEM? While the answer to any question like this is always “by being a great teacher”, there is no doubt that some cutting edge technology can certainly help. After all, it makes perfect sense that fast-moving fields built around technology should also benefit from that same revolution.

 

The power of visual learning

Don’t think that introducing tech into the classroom is some kind of gimmick, though. There is plenty of evidence to show that visual aids are essential when it comes to enhancing the learning process. Research into the use of visual aids – such as pictures, projectors and videos – highlights just how important these tools are in the education system. One study concluded visual aids are “the best tool for making teaching effective.” Researchers found that, while 10% of people remember what they read, an impressive 50% remember what they hear and see. The study also noted that 83% of what is learned comes from sight.

Fortunately, we live in an age in which there are more ways than ever for teachers and other educators to liven up the classroom environment with visual displays and demonstrations. While this isn’t exclusively applicable to the STEM world, it can certainly help in a field that often focuses on practical work.

 

Cutting edge tech in action

For example, lessons in computer coding can be brought to life (figuratively, at least) by letting students try programming a robot to perform actions. Similarly, chemistry lessons can be made more memorable through the use of practical demonstrations and experiments.

Meanwhile, augmented and virtual reality have almost unlimited scope when it comes to making visual learning possible. Want to shrink down in size and walk around inside a cell for your biology class? Want to learn how a jet engine functions for an engineering class? No problem: AR and VR can help with both.

Then there’s 3D scanning and additive manufacturing (aka 3D printing), which opens up new possibilities inside the classroom.

Used appropriately, these tools can help lead to a project-based, problem-based, inquiry based approach to STEM learning that is far more likely to actively engage students. In short, it makes STEM fun.

 

Here comes Elmo

But these aren’t the only tools that can make the classroom of tomorrow a possibility today. In some cases, teachers or selected students will need to carry out demonstrations in front of the class. If a teacher is trying to talk through a demonstration involving an organism under different levels of magnification, or to show tadpoles in a fish tank, this can be difficult to do if that teacher has to address a large number of students. That’s where the Elmo R2 interactive flat panel board comes into play.

A state-of-the-art lesson support system, the Elmo Board is a standalone touchscreen display that can run as its own computer. Think of it more like a giant tablet – complete with camera – rather than the kind of external display or overhead projector normally found in classrooms. Boasting its own dedicated apps, the Elmo Board and its associated Visualiser tool, a versatile connected camera, can be utilised by teachers to add a new dimension to classroom learning.

For instance, a lesson based around the various stages in the lifecycle of a frog can use the Visualiser to look into a tank containing tadpoles, zooming in to see how they are developing. It even features an unobtrusively integrated LED light for optimal illumination with low reflection. The teacher can then compare the tadpoles’ current state to an earlier video to talk students through the topic in question.

Elmo is a great example of the kind of technology that’s helping to bring the classroom into the 2020s. Thanks to tech such as this, teaching students in an engaging way is more possible than ever.

 

Product specification

Elmo Europe are proud to announce the launch of their brand new R2 interactive flat panel range of products.

There are four sizes in the range: 55-, 65-, 75- and 86-inch. The panels are feature-rich and boast a very high specification including 20-point touch, 4K resolution, palm recognition and IR Dryfit technology which significantly improves the sensitivity of the touch. The new look includes a brushed steel magnetic bezel for attaching the included pens and erasers. For ease of use there are various buttons and inputs on the front of bezel and two forward-facing 15w speakers producing exceptional sound.

The panels have very flexible content options including various inputs including HDMI and Display Port for connecting any laptop, OPS slot for an OPS PC and integrated Android, including a wide range of applications including Zoom, web browser and white board. For a truly immersive learning experience Elmo have developed Elmo classroom software – wireless bi-directional file sharing and annotation software which enables teachers and students to share content from any device to maximise student engagement.

Elmo will be showcasing the entire R2 range of products at the BETT and ISE trade shows early next year.

For more information, or to arrange a demonstration of the products, please contact Toby Jackson on toby.jackson@elmoeurope.com or join the live panel discussion on 7th December to watch our live demo – click here.

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