Students of all ages now have access to a variety of technologies, but schools and educational settings have been slow to adapt to changes in technology and incorporate them into classrooms, aside from the ubiquitous PowerPoint. Integrating technology into education is a great way to engage students in learning that is fun and engages students with different learning styles and preferences. Using technology in classrooms also encourages students to take a more active role in learning, instead of always having the educator disseminate knowledge. Depending on the technology used, these activities can also encourage creativity and critical thinking using technology and media that is already familiar to students.
Laptops and Computers
Computers can be used for a wide range of activities in the classroom, allowing students to do activities that cover all areas of Bloom’s Digital Taxonomy. Educators can use Twitter in the classroom to discuss sexuality in the media or to gather data for projects. Students and teachers can use sites such as WikiSpaces to collaborate on projects, such as videos that are posted to YouTube or blogs about their work.
iPads and Tablets
iPads and tablets are intuitive and easy to use for most students, regardless of their age and abilities. A wide variety of apps are available for students, as well as teachers to use in the classroom, in all subjects. For example, anatomy apps such as Visual Anatomy (also available for Android) can be used to help students better visualize reproductive anatomy during biology, health, or sex ed classes.
Other apps, such as Birdees, are specifically geared towards sexuality education. Birdees, available in the Apple app store, is geared towards children ages 2-8 and their parents, and helps children learn age and developmentally appropriate information about body parts, boundaries, and other aspects of sexual health. Information geared for ages 9-15 is supposed to be available soon.
Many students carry smart phones, and instead of thinking of phones as problematic, educators can utilize phones to their advantage. For example, programs such as Poll Everywhere can be used in the classroom to assess student learning. Poll Everywhere allows students to use their cellphones as clickers – even if they aren’t smart phones. Teachers pose a question to the class and students respond via text message, Twitter, or web browser, and results are tallied and displayed on the screen. For more information, see this blog post.
Most apps that are available for iPads and other tablets are also available for smart phones and could provide students with resources or access to information both at home or in the classroom. Sexuality educators may recommend apps such as SexPositive (available through both Android and Apple), a shame-free and comprehensive resource that provides information about STI risks, safer sex practices, and communication for a wide variety of sexual behaviors.
Multi-Platform Apps and Programs
Many apps and programs are available on a variety of devices. Socrative is similar to Poll Everywhere in that it allows educators to gather student responses to questions electronically. It is available via apps through the Android and Apple stores, and is also available to any device with an internet connection. It provides more flexibility than Poll Everywhere regarding question types, allows student names to be attached to responses (for administering quizzes), and is free regardless of the number of students in the classroom. For more information, see this blog post.