Forget chalkboards, classrooms are going high-tech. Think 3-D printers in the art room, apps that track kids’ work habits, and much more. Teachers are also using everything from online translators to smartphone photos to keep parents looped in.

We asked educators to share how tech helps them achieve two age-old goals: producing great students and making parents a part of the process. Here are some amazing things teachers are doing with 21st-century tools:

1. Kicking Creativity Up a Notch

Hans Mundahl, a technology-integration education consultant, helped New Hampton School, a private, independent high school in New Hampton, N.H., create a "maker lab" where kids can use high-tech tools. Its centerpiece is a 3D printer, used to enhance a variety of classes. “The art department loves it, because kids can create beautiful 3D sculptures. The engineering department loves it because they can build bridges,” Mundahl says.

2. Giving Good Behavior a Boost

Annie Krut teaches at Newark TEAM Academy, a charter public middle school in Newark, N.J. She uses a website called ClassDojo to track her students’ habits. “I create individual log-ins for students and their parents, and then set goals for each student, like ‘helping out classmates’ and ‘handing in homework on time.’ Each time a child does or doesn’t do these things, I note it. Students and their parents can check in through the website or a free phone app to see the child’s percentage of positive and negative behaviors.” Krut also sets class goals. When they’re met, she’ll offer a reward, such as popcorn.

3. Letting Kids Catch Lectures on Their Own Time

One growing trend is "flipping" classrooms — using class time for projects, and letting kids take in their teachers’ lectures via videos they watch at home. “We do a number of our classes this way,” says Tim Childers, assistant principal at the L&N Stem Academy, a public magnet high school, in Knoxville, Tenn. In classes like chemistry, he explains, “it allows the students to spend more time getting hands-on learning.”

Another growing trend is the classroom without walls. Elise Harris is a middle-school teacher with Florida Virtual School, a public school that’s entirely online. Among its students are those who need a more customized pace, and athletes who must tailor their schooling to their training. “Our self-teach classes are available 24/7, and teachers are available from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.,” Harris says. “We help our students via Skype, e-mail, online chat boxes, texts and other means.” Students can chat through a social network called GROM, and there's a robust parent portal as well.

4. Connecting Internationally — and Year Round

Scheck Hillel Community School (PreK-12), in North Miami Beach, Fla., assigns its students of reading age some books to finish over the summer. These days, though, the kids don’t wait for fall to discuss the stories. Through Edmodo, an educational social network, students log on all summer to chat about the plots and characters. “Last year, kids jumped in from as far away as Israel and the Bahamas, where they were vacationing,” says Nancy Penchev, media and technology coordinator. “A student who was going to be new to our school in the fall logged on. One kid said he couldn’t wait to be his friend, and it really started his year off right.” When school is in session, kids also take some classes taught by teachers in Israel, Penchev adds: “The kids go into the computer lab and log on for classes in subjects including Hebrew and AP History.”

5. Showing Students New Ways To Learn The Score

Ben Coleman teaches at Talbot Innovation Middle School in Fall River, MA, a high-poverty, urban school. Most of his kids don't own PCs, but Coleman is still helping them get tech-savvy — and excited about homework. “I give my kids assignments with built-in bubble sheets,” he says. “The next day, they scan their homework on the class's computer, using a program called BubbleScore, and instantly see how they did.”

6. Helping Special-Needs Students Find Their Voice

Not long ago, if students had speaking impairments, they’d often sit in classrooms in silence. But technology “has totally opened up their world,” says Susan Berkowitz, a speech-language pathologist and assistive-technology specialist at schools in the San Diego area. One tool she relies on is the iPad. “Kids with autism sometimes have challenges grasping the building blocks of language, such as the difference between ‘who’ and ‘what,’” she explains. “I use an app called QuestionIt to teach them. It’ll ask the child a question, such as ‘Who ate spaghetti?’ and present images to choose from —should the child, say, pick the spaghetti or a boy?” And students who can’t speak at all can now use ‘dedicated augmentive communication devices’ — computers that say words when certain keyboard strokes are made. “The first time we hooked up the device to the wheelchair of a 16-year-old with cerebral palsy,” she remembers, “he typed ‘Thank you so much. Now I can talk like everybody else.’ ”

7. Making Lost Assignments a Problem of The Past

Lisa Ladouceur, a teacher at Monarch School (K-8) in Louisville, Colo., puts all of her assignments on her website. “My days of copying work for a student who is going on vacation or was absent, are over. It also saves parents a trip back to school if a student forgets their work,” she says.

8. Talking to Parents Who Don't Speak English

Nearly half the students at Mayfield Intermediate School in Manassas, Va., have non-English-speaking, Hispanic parents. But teacher Rodney Jordan has two high-tech ways to breach the language barrier: “I using the translator tab on Microsoft Word or the free Google translator,” he says. “It makes it so much easier to communicate.”

9. Sending Out Regular Reminders

Todd Nesloney, who was recently promoted from 5th-grade teacher to principal at Navasota Intermediate School in Navasota, Texas, loves Remind, a free app. “I can send texts to my entire class and their parents at once, so no one forgets an upcoming assignment, trip, or other important event,” he says. “I can even attach PDFs or photos.”

Has technology changed the way your children learn? Tell us about your experiences in the comments below.