Technology has become a staple in our lives. Regardless of how you feel about it, living a life technology-free is nearly impossible. Below are some easy-to-use ways to embrace technology while improving your students’ learning.
Technological Tools in the Classroom: Audience Response System
When most people hear this phrase, they think of “Who Wants to be a Millionaire” when they ask the audience for help on a question. The audience will use their electronic voting keypads to enter their answer and the system will tell the contestant which answer was the most popular. Although no one in the classroom is going to win any money. Using the audience response system can be quite useful in gauging the knowledge of your students. I once had a teacher who asked poll questions to determine how many students completed the required reading. The electronic voting keypads are easy to use and are wireless. Companies like Meridia Interactive Solutions have reliable products that they can match to your budget.
Technological Tools in the Classroom: Online Gaming
It seems like every person in the world is a gamer to some extent. Smartphones make games easily accessible and are handy when you are not going anywhere for a while, such as when you are stuck in traffic, waiting to be called into the doctor’s office, or waiting in line at the grocery store.
The logical choice for our technologically savvy students (regardless of age) is to find a game they can use to reinforce the skills they are learning in class. For example, my daughter was dreading math class, but the teacher used an online math game to help them learn their multiplication tables. At the end of the week, any child who had used the program more than three times that week was considered a superstar and was allowed to get a piece of candy. I can remember more than one week of tears because she had not fulfilled her time on the program.
Technological Tools in the Classroom: Video Conferencing
Society is becoming more global in every way. Politicians are talking about immigration. Businesses are trying to increase trade with China. The world has become smaller because of the advances in transportation. Yet, we know so little about other cultures unless we are exposed to it. Often, there are students in a school halfway around the world who are just as curious about our culture as we are about theirs. Schools often have sister schools elsewhere in the world in order to expose students to life in other countries. There are so many programs that allow the call to be free. Thus, it seems a waste to not use the technology.
Technological Tools in the Classroom: Online Grading System (and other uses)
The online grading system was begun in order to prevent children from lying to their parents about homework. Teachers would post assignments online in order to allow parents a look into the workload of their child. Since this was met with positive views, teachers began to use online systems to send emails to parents, keep track of grades, and manage absences. Online systems are usually able to be accessed anywhere. It reduces the amount of time you have to spend in the classroom entering grades, etc.
Technological Tools in the Classroom: Presentations and Word Processing
I remember when I first went to college and had to type a paper. It was excruciating! I was so slow with my one-finger typing that I wished I had learned how to type earlier in my life. The first time I had to prepare a presentation was terrifying. I had never used the program before. I had watched other students create all of these really awesome projects, and here was mine; bland as can be. Nowadays, computers in the classroom or having a weekly computer lab session have become commonplace. Since paperwork is a part of nearly every job, it is great for teachers to prepare students for this next phase of their life by incorporating word processing or similar programs into the curriculum. It is also eco-friendly and can break the normal monotony of reading from a paper for a presentation.
Ultimately, the decision regarding what type of technology you want to use is yours. Many tools exist to make your life easier, improve the students’ learning experience, and teach them valuable skills they will use for the rest of their lives. Give it a shot and see how it goes!