Using Technology in Your Classroom
Using technology in your classroom is a big trend right now. It’s not hard to see why that is. It’s never been easier to engage your students with technology. If you are still on the fence about using technology in your classroom or you don’t think that this is something that you or your students need read on.
Reason 1 – Using Technology in Your Classroom will keep students engaged.
Students are using technology at a younger and younger age.
Students who are three and four years old are navigating smartphones and tablets with ease. They can figure out how to use their favorite apps without much assistance from adults.
Elementary students are learning how to connect with friends using the internet and creating videos about their daily lives on YouTube. Middle school and high school students are creating how to videos.
Children of all ages are creating their own companies and brands using technology.
However, many times, all of this creativity is being stifled when they get to school. Teachers should take the opportunity to use technology to engage their students. I’m not talking let’s watch a video or research on the internet. Give students the camera and let them create their own videos. Let students connect with classrooms across the world. Allow students the chance to have an authentic audience. Students are would love for the chance to use the internet the way the rest of the world does.
Reason 2- We are quickly becoming global citizens.
Technology gives us a way to break down classroom walls and interact with the world around us. Using tools such as Skype and Google Hangouts, students can meet students in other states and even other countries. Classes around the world can team up to work on assignments together and to solve real world problems. Students gain authentic audiences for their writing and their projects. Students learn about other cultures and countries in a meaningful manner.
Reason 3 – It can make your life easier!
Teachers sometimes think technology is an extra thing for them to do. This sentiment couldn’t be further from the truth. Technology in your classroom should enhance what you are doing now or make it easier. If it does not do this stop right now. Always start with your standards and learning targets. What are students expected to do? Is there an easier way to accomplish this with technology? Can technology change the activity or the learning?
Personalized learning is easier to do with students. Websites like ReadWorks and Tween Tribune offer news articles with varying reading levels. Math can be demonstrated with virtual manipulatives from The Math Learning Center. Khan Academy and BrainPOP can help students pursue their interests and focus on them with ease.
Teachers, there are benefits for you as well. Technology can automate many of the tasks you have to complete each day. Google Forms can be used to take attendance and grades, Formative and Kahoot allows for assessments that are automatically graded. Forget about a class news letter, you can use Remind or Bloomz to connect with parents and send quick updates. You might even want to try vlogging (video blogging) your class for a week to give parents a peek inside.
But what if it doesn’t work or it breaks?
What happens if the copier stops working? Or if your school runs out of paper? or a student’s pencil breaks? These are all common things that happen in classrooms all of the time and they typically don’t stop the flow of learning. We quickly come up with a Plan B. The same should happen when you are using technology in your classroom. Yes, something might go wrong just as anything else could. Nothing in life is foolproof. Do not let it deter you it will be fine. Options for a plan B could include, moving onto another activity until it gets resolved or downloading necessary files ahead of time. This article has some additional solutions for you.
3 Resources to Get You Started.
If you are just started out here are a few resources to get you going. I would incorporate one at a time. Learn them and see how they can best fit in your classroom.