Technology in classroom is an absolute must since we have fully entered the digital age. To better integrate it into the school experience, teachers have to be able to drive digital each aspect of the classroom daily life. Here are 7 ideas to do it in an easy, engaging way.
Why technology in classroom?
First of all, let’s remember one more time why it is so important to integrate technology into the learning experience. Today, principals and school boards are requiring teachers to improve their lesson plans with technology because:
- technology allows for differentiation. It is now clear that teachers don’t just teach a subject to a group of students: they transfer information to individuals with different learning skills, abilities and backgrounds. Differentiation is the technique to connect educational contents to the students taking into consideration their various needs;
- through technological devices, students can learn at their own pace, whenever they want and from wherever they are;
- students will need technology for college and career, so why not to start using it during their learning path at school?;
- students really like and enjoy technology!
Create a class webpage
The first step to introduce technology into the learning experience can be the creation of a virtual version of what happens into the classroom through a class webpage. It can be anything from a basic website where to post various announcements to a more elaborate page where to include class photos, downloadable materials and documents, a class blog or digital magazine.
Develop a student made monthly slideshow
A simple but great idea to engage students and create a useful document to share in the classroom. Every day, after the end of the lesson, one student summarizes the most important topics in just one sentence, also taking a picture or choosing a representative image, and add them to a slide. At the end of the month, the classroom will benefit from a student made, collaborative slideshow.
Use an online grading system
Schools are now shifting from paper gradebooks to their digital versions, but where this has not happened yet, it is possible to use apposite free websites to record attendance and seating charts, track grades, and compile reports on students’ progress and performances. Parents can also be informed on their children’s updated grades via email and students will never worry again about losing their gradebooks, accessing them from any computer or digital device connected to Internet.
Skype an expert in classroom
Today children and young students often ask for a direct learning experience: they need to look at what they’re studying very closely. Skype can help teachers to provide a “live version” of what they’re teaching: the classroom can get in touch with an expert in any field – a museum curator, a college professor, a scientist or a researcher – during the class, asking him questions and satisfying the curiosity in realtime. If we are talking about Literature lesson plans, Skype dedicates a website to connecting with authors: Skype an Author.
Manage a collaborative class blog
WordPress, Blogger, Kidblog, Edublogs: plenty of opportunities are out there to set up a blog for the class. Blogging is an all-purpose activity that help students to develop different skills while having fun: writing, reading, speaking, listening, problem-solving, critical thinking, working together, are just some examples.
Students can express their thoughts with words, but also with images, colors, videos, multimedia and so on. Teachers can introduce blogging to their students and then let them organize, plan and self-monitor the activity, supervising them and watching them growing.
Learning through videos
Video clips are a creative choice to break up the monotony of class while enriching the lesson with extra content from other non-conventional sources. BrainPOP, Youtube or TED are the most used online services to find interesting multimedia materials.
Mobile devices to optimize collaboration
An effective way to optimize collaboration is to let students use their mobile devices during group work. Students can get together working as a team where a “spokesperson”, selected by the teacher, is in charge of collecting ideas using a smartphone or a tablet, which can be then used to show the results to the classroom, connecting it to a larger screen display.