5 Popular Edtech Products for the Classroom
There are hundreds of different technology products available for the primary classroom at the moment. Navigating through this choice can be daunting for teachers and so I’ve put together a list of the most popular edtech products (according to demand on Rocket Fund – a crowd funding platform for schools).
1. Virtual Reality (VR)
Without a doubt, VR is the most popular edtech product for the classroom at the moment. According to Samsung and a survey conducted in the US, more than two thirds (68%) of teachers would like to use virtual reality alongside their topics to enrich learning and give ‘real world’ experiences. At present, schools have the option to purchase a VR kit from various companies, build their own or hire a VR company such as PrimeVR to come and deliver workshops. If a primary school invested in their own VR kit, would they use it everyday? From my experience, they wouldn’t. If you’re interested in VR for your school, check out Google Expeditions – a free VR app specifically designed for the classroom.
Sphero is another really popular product for the classroom. With various robots to choose from (Sphero Sprk+ and Sphero Mini are the most popular), pupils can use code (from beginner through to advanced) to navigate and command their robot. This product is particularly popular in primary schools and gives children the opportunity to see the impact of their code and learn in a more playful and practical way rather than simply staring at a screen.
3. Raspberry Pi
A Raspberry Pi is a small, credit card sized computer that is designed to help pupils learn how to program. Pupils all over the world are using the Raspberry Pi to learn coding, and teachers are experimenting and finding innovative ways to use them. For example, it can be used to build games and robots as well as create music and run experiments in science.
Drones are becoming more and popular in education but what can schools actually use them for? Well, the most obvious application of using a drone is to film footage from an aerial perspective. How might this be helpful? You could use this footage for the school website, sharing school trip experiences and if you have own your VR kit, you could create your own content. Producing exciting videos is a great way to learn practically and it puts the onus onto the students. Your class can take responsibility with writing a script, planning different scenes and presenting their final piece of work to an audience. In addition to creating some amazing footage, let’s not forget that drones can also be used for coding. Similar to Sphero, allowing students to see a physical action as a result of their code helps them to see the impact of their programming. Parrot Education is a great example of this and they have created various apps that students can use to help fly the drone.
Another popular tool for teaching young children to program is the Bee-Bot. Aimed at KS1 level, the Bee-Bot is a great way of introducing control and directional language. Children can use different mats to navigate the Bot and it can move in steps of 15cm, turn in 90° turns and remember up to 40 different commands.
Based on my research and experience within primary schools, these five edtech products are the most popular for the classroom. However, there are hundreds of other products that schools are interested in implementing such as Lego WeDo kits, Kubo and Makey Makey to name just a few. What do all of these products have in common? In my opinion, schools won’t use them everyday! EdTech Hub is a new online platform that aims to make sharing technology easier between schools. To learn more about it, visit www.edtechhub.co.uk.
Stuart is a Teach First ambassador, former Google Expeditions associate and founder of PrimeVR and EdTech Hub. He is currently on a mission to provide schools with an alternative option for accessing technology in the classroom. EdTech Hub is a new online platform for schools to rent and share technology and is born out of the frustrations experienced by teachers when trying to find ways for their students to access the latest technology.