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Bringing 21st Century Technology Into the Classroom

From podcasts to YouTube, technology is part of life.

That's why teachers are going back to school to learn how to teach, how students want to learn.

It can be as simple as a cell phone. Technology once banned from the classroom now encouraged, and enabling a new level of interactivity in education.

"By 2019, 50% of all high school classes will be taken online," says Jeff Borden, an Education Consultant at a 21st Century Technology Seminar at Northwest Iowa Community College in Sheldon, Iowa on Monday.

Nearly 300 teachers were going back to school, bringing classrooms up to speed with the 21st century.

"We used to think we had to keep technology out of the classroom, like put away your cell phones and stuff, and now it's how can we use those cell phones to make the kids interact," says Susan Schmidt with Northwest Iowa Community College.

From smart boards to cell phones, tools traditionally seen as distractions are emerging in education.

"What we've been doing for decades isn't working," says Borden, "You can see that with test scores and all sorts of things. Technology, I believe, is a major vehicle to change what is happening in education."

That's where the Internet comes in, using web 2.0 and 3.0 resources that personalize the learning experience to individual students.

"I like that idea, that you can use technology so that kids can learn where they're at, and learn in the style they need to learn in," says Greta Eckhardt-Swier, a teacher at West Sioux Community Schools in Hawarden, Iowa who was attending the conference.

It's also technology that increases a teachers resources at the same time.

"Instead of just collaborating with the people you work with in your school, you're able to collaborate with educational experts from all over the world in a matter of seconds," says Don Ortman, Elementary Principal at Rock Valley Community Schools who was attending Monday's conference.

Learning to leave no student behind as technology becomes more essential.

According to Borden technology isn't just creeping into high school classrooms, by 2019 nearly 80% of college courses will be taken online.

If you're a teacher and you missed out on Monday's conference, here are a few of the online resources mentioned.

http://www.allmyfaves.com/ is a web site helpful in finding new Web 2.0 resources to use in the classroom, just check out the "weekly faves" each week.

http://www.historypin.com/ is a web site combining history with photographs.

http://pollcode.com/ is a web site allowing you to quickly and easily create free poll questions which can be answered by your students.

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