In the not so distant past, use of technology in the classroom generally consisted of overhead projectors, perhaps a VCR to view a video presentation, and maybe calculators to reinforce math skills or on the high school level, to perform scientific equations. In the last few years integrating technology in the classroom has reached new levels with virtually all schools with computers having internet connection. In addition, our students’ personal knowledge and use of technology has made it imperative for teachers to develop creative ways of using technology in the classroom.
Teachers are finding creative ways to engage their students in genuine learning experiences by using technology in the classroom. Creating a class website can offer opportunities for all your students to shine. Since a good web site involves writing as well as design, students can be involved in the development through their strongest modality. In addition, once the web site is created, students and teachers may benefit by using it to post schedules for classroom assignments, detailed instructions for projects, a forum for feedback on instruction and class activities and links to play games that reinforce concepts taught in the classroom.
Another innovative use of technology in the classroom is to have students create their own blogs. Blogs can be used in lieu of journals, to post information researched on a given topic, or even to record and share thoughts about literature chosen for individualized reading. Some free sites for helping you to create classroom blogs are: Gaggle, 21 Classes, Class Blogmeister and Edublogs.
How about helping your students to create a pod cast? Pod casts can be scripted and dramatized. They can be a format for debates, poetry reading, literary circles, or even just as a less threatening alternative to oral reports. Video cameras can also be used in a similar vein or even as a way to share with others a larger production such as a class written and produced play.
For exciting literature opportunities, many teachers are making use of a site called storybird.com. This user friendly site allows students and teachers to read and collaboratively create stories including illustrations. Creating stories in this manner allows students to use their imagination and promotes literacy. Some feel that by providing a comfortable outlet for use of language, students may actually score higher on tests of verbal reasoning.
As more and more adults are discovering the advantages of virtual encounters, the use of Skype for long distance learning has become a tool for teachers. Through the use of Skype, teachers are able to work with students unable to attend classes physically and provide the same visual information and demonstration that they provide in the classroom to the other students. In addition, classrooms in different parts of the country can work cooperatively on projects and presentations.
Effective use of technology in the classroom allows for cooperation and collaboration among students. Integrating technology in the classroom allows a creative teacher to capitalize on the enthusiasm his/her students have for technology to enable students to utilize their expertise and talents and provide a safe format in which to display their knowledge.