You have read about Smartboards and iPads in the classroom in journals. You might have even talked with colleagues that are using technology in the classroom at every turn. You feel the pressure to add technology in your classroom but don’t quite know where to start. Does any of this sound like your own situation? If so, you’re not alone.
Teachers all over the country are trying to determine the right way to incorporate technology in their curriculums. There are several things to consider when you approach adding technology to your classroom, not the least of which is your own response to change. Budget concerns top the list alongside the very real conversation about over-stimulation and today’s youth. The monumental use of technology in the form of handheld devices and visual media is at an all-time high. Adding technology to another component of students’ lives is not something to be taken lightly. Here are some things that educators should consider before jumping on the technology bandwagon:
Resolve your thoughts about classroom tech. Knowing what you think about technology and its use in the classroom will help you to open up to new experiences. If you are against incorporating technology in your lessons but have not admitted that to yourself and/or your administration, your approach will be reluctant at best.
Consider your budget. The “all in” approach is not best for everyone. Budgetary constraints are real aspect of the way that academic needs are met. Districts may not be able to afford comprehensive technology-based programs. But that’s ok. There is nothing wrong with a piecemeal approach. Likewise, pacing the introduction of technology to students is a commendable approach, especially in areas where students and families don’t access to advanced media. Finally, training yourself on a lot of technology at one time can be overwhelming. Instead of diving in, test the water and get used to the temperature. Grow with your students.
Do your research. There are a lot of ways to incorporate technology in your classroom. These lesson augmentation tools and ideas add to your prepared curriculum in ways that haven’t been experienced before:
- PowerPoint – Great for reviews and classroom games
- Educational websites – Can be used during computer station time to reinforce skills
- Web quests – Think of this as modern day research conducted in a new and invigorating way
- Email – Assign pen pals and have students interact with each other outside of the classroom
- Online grading – Have students and parents check their grades online
- Reading central – Assign reading assignments as a companion to a physical books, encouraging students to read using different mediums
Encourage your students to utilize these tools inside and outside of class as they complete assignments. This will get them used to technology in a practical sense, which is a tool that everyone will need to know before they enter the workforce.
Interactive education is something that has always been incorporated in classrooms. Now, with the aid of technological advancements, it is easier than ever to engage students and pique their interests in a wide range of topics. Investigate your options and make the choice that’s right for your students, your budget, and your peace of mind.