By Teachers, For Teachers
Many teachers are finding it harder to ignore the technology in the classroom that is consuming their students. So instead of ignoring technology in the classroom, they are choosing to embrace it. For students, technology in the classroom is just another part of their daily lives. Social networking, using smartphones and the Internet is ingrained into their lives with no end in sight. A growing concern with teachers is that these devices are a distraction to their students. However, what some are viewing as a distraction, others are seeing as an opportunity that they can use to their advantage. Here are a few ways teachers can embrace technology and stay relevant in the lives of their digitalized students.
Since almost every school in America has some sort of technological device, many schools are now allowing students to bring them into the classroom. But with this comes many concerns; for example, teachers are afraid their students will be too engaged in their own devices. Many teachers think that students will be so enthralled with their smartphones that they won’t get any work done. However, if teachers train their students to use their devices appropriately, it can be an opportunity of a lifetime for students. Technology has the ability to reach students on a level where they will have access to materials that meet their own specific needs. So by training students to use their devices effectively and properly, as well as providing them with opportunity to use technology, teachers can create a situation where students are engaged in what they are learning.
Classroom teachers can provide students with opportunities to use technology as part of their daily activities. A great example of this comes from a 3rd-grade classroom. The teacher in this classroom has her students read articles online, then search Google for answers to questions while in their cooperative learning groups. She also has students create PowerPoint presentations and short videos using the iMovie app on an iPad. She takes full advantage of the technology that she has, and the students love it.
Social media sites have been discredited for keeping young children dehumanized in communicating with one another. However, many teachers think that instead of criticizing social media sites, they can show their students how they can be used effectively. For example, Twitter and Facebook can be used to develop students’ writing skills, as well as teach them how to communicate with other experts in their field. Skills such as these are ones that students need to develop anyways, so these teachers figure they should utilize what their students love to their advantage.
Teachers can harness the enthusiasm that students already have for technology and use it to their advantage. Since technology is already a part of our students’ daily lives, we can tap into what they already love by embracing it and using it as part of our curriculum. For example, apps on an iPad make it easy to show students what you are talking about in a different way. Also, instead of having students raise their hands, students can give feedback with a polling app. With the millions of apps that are available online, teachers can find a few that can help engage students and keep them interested in topics that they would have never been interested in before. Today’s technology allows teachers to have an advantage in keeping their students engaged like never before. When used properly, you will be able to see the amazing results in future.
There’s no denying the fact that technology is here to stay and that it will be a part of our students’ future. Therefore, teachers must steer away from the traditional model of teaching and move toward utilizing the technology that exists today. In order for our students to succeed in today’s classrooms, it’s essential that we prepare them with the skills and tools that they need to live in this digital age.
Embracing technology doesn’t mean that everything that you say and do in your classroom has to be related to technology. All it means is that you are taking measures to keep up with the ever-changing technological devices and new methods that are being offered, as well as utilizing them in some part of your classroom. I would be lying if I said that we shouldn’t have some concerns about the future of technology in the classroom. However, integrating technology and learning all that it has to offer can’t be a bad thing either.
Have you embraced technology in the classroom? Please share your thoughts and concerns in the comment section below. We would love to hear what you have to say on this topic.
Janelle Cox is an education writer who uses her experience and knowledge to provide creative and original writing in the field of education. Janelle holds Masters of Science in Education from the State University of New York College at Buffalo. She is a contributing writer to TeachHUB.com, TeachHUB Magazine, and Hey Teach. She was also the Elementary Education Expert for About.com for five years. You can follow her on Twitter @Empoweringk6ed, on Facebook at Empowering K6 Educators, or contact her at Janellecox78@yahoo.com.