This year our school system adopted a new curriculum based on the national Common Core State Standards that changes the way kids are being taught in class and practicing developing skills through homework. An integrated approach to the curriculum is designed to provide a deeper understanding of all subjects and foster important critical thinking for a stronger educational foundation through creativity.
Applying my former perspective as a classroom teacher, I’m curious to see how the Common Core will affect my children and their learning. One of the biggest differences I’ve noticed so far is project based homework assignments. Nightly reading and math practice are combined with longer term creative projects, often spanning a month.
With the emphasis on empowering students through connected content and creativity, technology can assist students in their learning at all ages in the classroom and at home. But where to start and what to use?
Here are 5 tech savvy must-haves to foster creativity through learning for elementary ages all the way through college.
Access to the cloud. Housing your documents on your own computer is so early 2000. These days students create documents in Google Docs, Microsoft SkyDrive, and Evernote so they can access them from any digital device, whether at home, the public library, a friend’s house, or at school and university. Such services also allow today’s students the ability to update on the go and collaborate with peers wherever they may be.
A quality digital camera. While everyone may use their smartphone camera for photos and the quality is constantly improving, a good point and shoot, entry DSLR, or micro-fourths camera such as the Olympus PEN E-PL3 is better suited for image based school projects.
High definition video camera. Put down the Flip of yesteryear! These days video needs to be high definition so it always looks its best. Today’s students have their own YouTube channel and think about ways they can incorporate video into their assignments while shooting and editing from the action. Creative types will appreciate the Sony Bloggie for the ability to upload directly to YouTube.
Online backup. Even though so much of this great content is shared immediately, there’s still sometimes the need to upload photos and video and edit on a laptop. Using a backup system like Mozyor Carbonite (http://www.carbonite.com) allows users to backup their content online and synch it to multiple devices. Files will never have to be transferred and backup can be set to occur automatically. Set it, forget it, and rest assured that your creative content will always be there even when you see the Blue Screen of Death.
A highly functional laptop. Not only are there abundant choices on the market, but how do you know which machine is right for you based on the specs alone? Content creators need machines that will multitask in the age of Common Core Standards if they are to express themselves creatively and work as hard as they do. Older children will need to use their laptop to edit video, upload photos quickly, share via social networking, and use collaboration tools.
The Lenovo® IdeaPad U Series Ultrabook™ is a great choice thanks to its slim, light design that makes it highly portable. It features bells and whistles like in Dolby audio, integrated webcam, Bluetooth, as well as a multitouch keyboard and so much more.
Like today’s content creators, it’s ultra connected thanks to its ability to update email, instant message services, and social media accounts even in sleep mode. It’s also always on. Literally. The IdeaPad U wakes from sleep mode quickly and in just two seconds is at the ready to help create new content. The long battery life means that users can create all day without having to worry about plugging in. The Lenovo IdeaPad U Series Ultrabook U410 has up to 9 hours of battery life while the U310 can stay unplugged for seven hours.
And let’s be honest. High functioning laptops for today’s creative types need to be stylish. The Lenovo IdeaPad U Series Ultrabook comes in 5 colors: Graphite Gray, Cherry Blossom, Aqua Blue, Sapphire Blue, and Ruby Red, making it a sought after accessory that serves as an extension of the user’s personality.
See what you can do with the Book of Do, the IdeaPad® U Series Ultrabook™, at Lenovo.com.
This post was sponsored by Lenovo and Technorati but all opinions are my own. Amazon affiliate links are included in this post. Images courtesy of the aforementioned companies.