Classroom Technology Take Over
In today’s 21st century classrooms, technology seems to be taking over. Whether it is iPads, Chromebooks, or using a SMARTBoard, students very rarely put a pencil to paper in these paperless classrooms. Some may argue this is hurting our children due to lack of social skills. However, as a technology teacher, I can assure you that children are not being deprived of any social interaction due to the amazing advances technology has made in education! Technology cannot be described as a toy, it is not considered a tool. It can enhance learning through visual, kinesthetic, and auditory learning.
Teach Them Early
Keeping kids active and engaged in a lesson can be a tricky thing to do. There are a variety of technological tools to help teachers accomplish this goal. Introducing these tools to students at a young age helps to prepare them. You may have to provide accommodations for younger students who may have difficulty using a mouse or keyboard. Instead of placing a screen in front of them, students can use the Fisher Price Code-A-Pillar. This teaches students the basics of coding as well as how to communicate with one another to solve problems. Students can utilize ABCya! or Starfall to incorporate classroom subjects such as phonics or math.
Opportunity to Collaborate
As students get older, they become more independent with using technology. Instead of students working independently on projects or classwork, give the option to work in groups and create a visually interesting slideshow or game! Google Slides, Storyboard That, Animoto and so many other apps can be used for student engagement! The ability to collaborate saves the worry of children being disconnected from one another in school and at home. For whole group instruction, consider a Kahoot! A fun, interactive game to assess students on their content knowledge.
Moving up to middle school and high school levels, students can be focused on the use and impact of social media. Using Twitter as an educational tool is a great way to introduce students to important figures in society, past or present. Having students choose a historical or current figure and creating a Twitter account for that figure is a great way to introduce students to Twitter in the classroom. To incorporate collaboration, students could choose a partner or group and work on the Twitter account together throughout the school year! Students can also engage in discussion with teachers or each other through a tool called VoiceThread, allowing them to record their voices/faces for the rest of the group to hear. Overall, technology for students of any age can benefit them in and out of the classroom.
Using technology does not have to mean shutting down from the rest of the world with eyes on a screen. By teaching kids to collaborate, communicate, and understand the use of these powerful tools in our classrooms and everyday life, they will be successful during this digital lifetime. Technology can be the most powerful tool that a student uses!