Guest Contributor: Professor Corinne Hoisington, Central Virginia Community College. 

Which technologies will have an impact on your teaching life in 2013 and beyond? Staying on the cutting edge is crucial in our classrooms and these four trends and products will shape the future of technology and teaching as we know it. All are worthy replacements for your legacy and sometimes forgotten technology, and they’ll give you some new productive, inspirational tools to boot.

Favorite New Teaching Tool

Need a technology that you can’t teach without? Think back to the last time you assigned homework that was even boring for you to grade; however, a new hot technology called allows you to assess students on any topic in a new way. With Dipity, you can create an interactive, visually engaging timeline in minutes. Use dynamic visualization tools to display photos, videos, news and blogs in chronological order. Ask each student in your class to create a Dipity timeline on one term in their textbooks on any subject tomorrow!

Windows 8

Windows 8 is rolling into a classroom near you (yes sooner or later). With the twelve-year-old operating system Windows XP set to have its support expire next year, businesses will begin to migrate to a totally new powerful OS. If you are sitting down to learn Windows 8 touch screen, swiping in from the edges should become second nature, to get you back to the start screen, to search, to change settings, and more. If you are not using a touch screen, remember Windows logo key + C, to open the Charms bar to get started. Windows 8 brings so many technologies together – seamless SkyDrive cloud computing, new lightweight form factors, picture passwords, refresh your PC tools, and many new apps that will change how you use a computer.

Office 2013 & Office 365

Newly released, Office 2013 is the name of the perpetual software package that includes individual desktop programs that can be installed on a single computer. Instead of purchasing a copy of Office 2013 for one computer, you can purchase an Office 365 subscription, which comes with a license to install the software on multiple PCs or Macs at the same time, giving you more flexibility to use your Office products in your home, school, workplace, or mobile device. The Office 365 University subscription plan is designed for higher education full-time and part-time students, faculty, and staff. By submitting proper credentials such as a university email address, students and faculty can purchase Office 365 University including Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Access, Outlook, Publisher, and OneNote. The pricing is a one-time payment of $79.99 for a four-year subscription. In addition, Office 365 University provides users with an additional 20 GB of SkyDrive cloud storage compared to the free 7 GB provides by a Microsoft account and 60 Skype world minutes per month for video conferencing. Students have the option of renewing for another four years for a total of eight years. The Office 365 University edition is limited to two computers (PC or Mac). What a great deal for our students to finally have the same Office product that we are using in the classroom!

The New Form Factor

Say goodbye to your desktop computers in your classroom. Everyone wants to be mobile with devices that weigh less than a couple pounds, include a touch screen, and connect to their information anytime from anywhere. Be sure to head to YouTube to see the dual screens of the new Asus Tai Chi, the convertible screen of the Dell XPS 12, and the flexibility of the Lenovo Yoga. There is a new size and shape of our computer devices. Instead of a 4:3 aspect ratio on computer monitors, check out the new 16:9 wide screens.

Wow, it’s going to be a great year; in fact I can hear Tony Bennett singing “The Best is Yet To Come” and Taylor Swift singing “Everything Just Changed.”

Corinne Hoisington, PhD, is a full-time Professor of Information Systems Technology at Central Virginia Community College in Lynchburg, VA with over 25 years of teaching experience. Corinne travels over 200,000 miles a year speaking to college & university professors and K-12 venues (in over 60 cities this past year), and is the recipient of the Microsoft Most Valuable Professional in Computer Programming. Corinne presently has authored over a dozen books with Cengage Learning and is an expert on today’s hottest technologies.

Which new or updated technologies do you believe will have the biggest impact on your teaching… and on your everyday life? Post a comment below.