5 Ways to Incorporate Technology into the Classroom
A guest post from Daniel Turner of Teach.com
With so many options in mobile learning devices, computers and even interactive white boards, deciding what technology to use and how to use it in the classroom can be a daunting task.
Students interact with technology regularly outside of school, so some teachers feel that their students are much more adept with technology than they themselves are. Still, technology has many excellent applications for the classroom and can help improve memorization, attention to detail, collaborative skills and motivation.
Here are five ways that technology can be incorporated in the classroom by the least to most technologically inclined teachers:
One: Active Learning Through Projects
The Department of Education states that technology encourages students to take a more active — rather than passive — role in education. This is especially true when technology is used for students to work on projects. Students can use computers and devices to research and collect information, communicate with teachers and peers, record information and create reports and presentations. The teacher acts more as a facilitator of learning, guiding students through their work and providing additional help to individuals and small groups of students. Embracing such projects, one urban class from the Open Charter School created a “city of the future” while Northbrook Middle School students formed a manufacturing company.
Two: Motivational Tools
Edutopia explains that younger students today are “born digital” and inherently find technology to be more motivating than traditional textbooks and other static learning tools. Technology gives more reserved students opportunities to communicate and even the least engaged students are drawn to it. Games can be used to review curriculum and they can also be used as an incentive. If students complete all of their work, give them extra time to play educational games. Students need reinforcers, and technology is an additional reward that can be used.
Three: Opportunities for Collaboration
The Department of Education praises technology for its ability to increase peer collaboration. Peer tutoring can occur inside and outside of the classroom, and students are able to work on collaborative projects whether they are together or apart. Students can engage in discussions on teacher-created wikis and blogs or contribute to a class website. Many classes are now using Google Docs where students can collaboratively create and edit projects and documents. No matter the format for collaboration, it is important to make conduct expectations very clear and have students sign technology use agreements.
Four: Enhance Learning with Multimedia Tools
Since students do not all learn the same way and have multiple learning styles and preferences, technology gives teachers the ability to create more engaging, multimodal lessons. The University of Washington has many ideas on how technology can be used to appeal to diverse groups of students. Besides being able to offer students learning materials through class websites, an interactive white board or computer with a projector can be used to add images, sound and video to instruction. Students can also participate in simulations with technology or go on virtual field trips during tight budgetary times.
Five: Individualize Education
Technology is a flexible tool, and the Baltimore Sun believes that many teachers do not capitalize enough on its capabilities to individualize learning. The Internet offers information on virtually every subject and technology can be used to assess, remediate and enhance learning for individual students.
Teachers can use tech tools to track students’ progress, remediating struggling students through special software and games while allowing advanced students to pursue special interests and projects. Some schools have even allowed students to take Advanced Placement or college level courses online, which have saved those students credits and money later on.
Students deserve the best that schools have to offer, and technology can make teaching and learning better.
Author Bio: Daniel Turner currently works in community outreach for Teach.com, which serves prospective teachers, as well as current teachers looking to learn more, with a wide variety of motivational and informational resources that range from STEM Education to how to become a teacher anywhere in the U.S. Outside of work, Daniel enjoys movies, sports and all things Philly.
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