Technology in the classroom is vital as it provides instant accessibility to information. Smart phones, tablets and computers are already a part of everyday life for students and teachers alike, and if they can be utilized in the classroom to create meaningful learning experiences, then everyone’s a winner!
Having an infinite flow of information and entertainment available at any given time could also be seen as a distraction, but if technology is used in the classroom with routines in place that are monitored or assessed, then the pros of using tech in the learning environment outweigh the cons. Let’s take a look at some of the ways that technology can be introduced to help learning…
PowerPoints and Games
PowerPoint presentations can be used to introduce a classroom concept while providing the opportunity for engagement. Video links can easily be embedded into the PowerPoint slides, and with interesting graphics and images, then this helps to engage the class.
There are education apps such as Kahoot which are great for reviewing information at the end of a class. Teachers are able to share Kahoots with each other, while students can create anonymous user-names to contribute. What does this do? It means that the whole class can participate, including those students who perhaps are reluctant to participate in class. Kahoots can be used on laptops and mobile and students can work independently or in teams.
Do you post homework assignments online? This is a good way to integrate technology into the classroom. There are learning platforms such as Brightspace and Moodle to help you do this if you don’t already have a school system in place.
Marking assignments and work online adds another dimension to communication, as it enables teachers, students, and parents to recognise a student’s strengths and areas where they can improve.
If your school already has tablets in the classroom, then you’ll know the benefits to be had. Technology can allow teachers to introduce different skill levels so that students can work at their own pace during assignments, and teachers also have the opportunity for one-on-one instruction.
Technology for Primary Schools
For younger students, technology is a great way for them to build fundamental skills to prepare them for future learning. There are hundreds – probably thousands of interactive games to help with and reinforce spelling, maths, reading skills and just about everything you can think of. There are sites such as ‘Spelling Training’ where students and teachers can upload their own lists so that pronunciation can be worked on and interactive games can be created. Parents can also access these sites to help their children outside of the classroom.
When you talk about fluency and expression it can be a hard concept for young people to grasp – but if you record them reading, and listen to the playback, it is much easier for them to understand what you mean. You can use an iPad to easily record them reading. If you record them more than once, students can become aware of the differences in their own voice and learn to recognise what it means to read with expression. Voice memos or other similar apps are ideal.
You can take the morning register using an interactive whiteboard! A template on the interactive whiteboard makes each student responsible for signing themselves in, in a morning. It’s a good idea to take a photo of every student on the first day and put these in a Notebook file and you can also add their lunch choices as well. Students can ‘drag’ their photos to show that they are present. This daily use of the whiteboard also helps students practice their tech and also learn how to be responsible for a task and accountable.
In middle school technology can be used to develop a selection of life skills. With different teachers for each subject, technology can be used for research on each subject. Using a variety of search engines, students can find the best resources for the subject they need. Websites such as Easy Bib are a brilliant resource for students.
Sixth Form and Beyond
In further education, students can discover ways to use technology that can be beneficial for college and career development. Microsoft Office and Google Drive teach students how to use spreadsheets and slide presentations and share documents so that the whole class can comment on their work. Students will find that when they gain employment, their having used Microsoft and Google regularly during their education will really benefit them!
Ebuyer stocks lots of tech which is perfect for the classroom. Browse here.