Today’s students need to learn to interact with technology appropriately. As teachers, that means we have to embrace technology in schools, and stay up to date with it ourselves.
Your students will benefit from your efforts. Technology makes differentiation and inclusion easy. The visual and audible cues are engaging, and many struggling learners find success when using technology.
Thankfully, with all the options available today, integrating technology into lessons just takes a bit of planning. Let’s look at three common forms of technology, and discuss several ways to use each of them.
SMART Boards are expensive, but many schools have purchased these versatile white boards for all of their classrooms. SMART Boards provide a collaborative workspace in your classroom. By connecting your computer to the SMART Board, it acts like a projector so all students can see the lesson. The SMART Board also has a touchscreen and can be written on like a traditional white board. Your students will love it!
If you have one in your classroom, it’s ideal for group lessons. For example, you can develop game show style quiz games to review for a test. Or, you can put up a map of the world for exploring geography or the habitats of different animals. The possibilities are endless!
Because of the interconnectivity of SMART Boards, there are numerous activities already available online if you need some ideas. Check out SMART lesson plans here.
iPads or Other Tablets
As you may already be aware, you can find apps for everything and anything! This also applies to education. The small size of tablets make them perfect for small group or individual learning via apps or other programs. Like SMART Boards, many schools have iPads or other common tablets available to classrooms, albeit often in small quantities.
Even if you only have a single tablet for your classroom, you can get a lot of use out of it. The tablet can be a center option in the classroom, or you can schedule time for each student to use it during the week.
Apps aren’t the only benefit of iPads. You can also use them to stream educational videos, engage students with instruction for blended learning, and document science experiments with the camera.
Tablet textbooks are also available. These interactive books are growing in popularity, and some schools have completed traded in textbooks for tablets.
If you’re overwhelmed by all the options available in the app store, don’t worry. Many educators have curated the best and most effective apps to make technological integration easy. Check out this list of 52 apps for your classroom to get a better idea of what’s available.
Computers might be the most obvious use of technology in the classroom, but they’re often greatly underutilized. Here are technology classroom ideas for the computer:
Writing for the web is completely different from writing for an English class. Do your students a favor, and teach them the difference. Read blogs as a class, and discuss the differences. For instance, blogs have shorter sentences and paragraphs. Talk about the call to action that many bloggers use at the end, and how they encourage reader participation.
You could also talk to your principal about setting up a classroom blog. It’s a great way to engage students and show them that their voice matters.
Coding is becoming an essential skill. Sites like Khan Academy make it easy for you to introduce your students to computer programming. You can also use Scratch in your classroom to make and play educational games. You’ll likely be amazed at what your students will be able to create!
Email can be used to communicate with parents. If you send out a weekly newsletter or similar updates, consider emailing an electronic version instead. Not only will it save paper, but it’s also more likely to actually be seen by the parents.
WebQuests send students on a virtual learning journey. These inquiry-oriented lessons are perfect for drawing students into the material. You can create your own, or check out the ones already prepared by teachers around the world at QuestGarden.
Technology Classroom Management
Just like any other procedure in your classroom, technology requires some management. You have to teach your students what you expect from them while using technology. Most schools have a policy for internet use that must be signed by parents—make sure your students have returned them before they get online.
In addition, teaching internet safety is important. Review of the basics, like not sharing your full name and location should be covered annually at a minimum. Remind students that everything they post online is visible for the whole world to see.
Once you’re set to begin, you can find a whole host of free technology lesson plans available from Discovery Education, and other sites.