Tech image resized 600It’s no secret that students like learning in more technological ways. Traditional classroom teaching and lectures are going out the door to make room for things like computer courses and educational video games. Even studying can be done on smartphones now.

With all the changes happening in education technology, you need to know what’s the most important trends for 2014 if you want your and your students’ year to be successful. Check out these 5 ways you might be able to make your classroom tech-savvy: 

1. 3D Printing

Now that the cost isn’t out of reach of the average consumer, 3D printing has exploded onto the tech scene in the last few years. But it’s starting to make an impact in education, too. 

3D printing provides real-life, practical benefits to students, like being able to print out models for science projects or props for theater classes.

2. Personalized Options

Part of the reason students today love tech is that they understand it and anything taught to them on it far easier than traditional methods. It’s also why personalization through tech is vital in the classroom. 

Tech allows you to provide a variety of learning formats for your students, so take advantage of that opportunity. Provide options like digital textbooks, YouTube videos, or even expert interviews via Skype chat to talk with your students. 

3. MOOCs

Massively open online courses are one of the best things to happen in education in the last several years. Allowing thousands of students to hop online and learn, these courses are sometimes free, and others, though paid, can give you a discount if you enroll a certain amount of students. 

These courses are beneficial for you teachers who might not otherwise have the time or resources to create one yourself. Students can take the courses under your guidance and receive a certificate of completion and sometimes even college credit.

4. Gamification

Only in recent years have educators started to recognize the value of bringing in game theory to the classroom. Using gamification helps students engage material in a way that’s to be expected of digital natives who probably go home to their Xboxes and Playstations, anyway. 

Putting more play into your classroom will convince even the most stubborn of students that learning can actually be fun. Consider playing games in the classroom based off the material you’re learning (something like Jeopardy style), or integrating online games into the homework you assign.

5. Social Sharing

Plenty of students are on Instagram, Tumblr, and Twitter, sharing all their selfies and status updates. But teachers usually stay away from social sites, despite the fact that they really need these connections.

Teaching is a solitary profession; you might be the only history teacher in your district, for example. In these cases, online sharing sites like Share My Lesson will allow you to connect with other teachers nationwide so you can share advice, class notes, lessons, and support. Use these kinds of tech to develop yourself, and bring the benefits back to your classroom.

There are many other education tech trends happening in the coming years, but these are several that are popular right now. Which ones are you looking forward to implementing the most?