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Making Technology in the Classroom Effective

Janelle Cox

Technology in the classroom makes teaching and learning better. Educators are pressured to utilize technology the classroom because it will not only make their teaching more effective, but it will also have a more valuable impact on student learning.  These pressures that educators are feeling mostly come from the competition that our country is feeling globally. We must keep up with our economic competitors in all aspects of education, including technology in the classroom, in order to stay on top.

According to educational reform, legislation policies, and research, in order to advance student achievement, we as teachers must provide our students with the very best educational technologies. Many teachers are utilizing many different forms of technology in their classrooms. However, these teachers are using technology to enhance their lessons, not transform them. Today’s educators are looking to combine the right tech tool, with what suits the subject they are teaching. In addition to that, educators are looking for ways to keep their students engaged and motivated in their lessons. While technology is known for keeping students more engaged in the lesson, if you really want to make your classroom technology more effective, then it also has to be an interactive experience as well.

Here are a few ways to make the technology that you are already using in the classroom a more effective and enriching experience.

Technology in the Classroom if You Have a Computer

There are so many ways to use a computer in your classroom. You most likely are already using it to have students write their essays or look up information. But there are so many other ways that can really amp up your students’ learning experiences. Here are a few suggestions.

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  • Blogging – Students can use the classroom computer to showcase their work. Create a classroom blog and allow students to take turns writing and sharing their work with the online community. The added benefit of integrating this type of technology is that, since the blog is posted publically, you will notice that you will get more out of your students’ work.
  • Video Conferencing – Skype is a wonderful tool that allows educators to connect to other educators from across the globe. Without ever leaving their seats, students can travel the world and connect to people from all over the world via a video conference.
  • Social Media – Before you rule out social media in the classroom, you should know this. Most students are already connected to it in some way or the other, either through their parents or with their friends, so why not use that to your advantage? Create a classroom Twitter account to post a poll or discuss an educational topic with people from all over the globe. Your students will be engrossed in it because it’s something that already know all about.

If You Have a Tablet

Whether you have one class tablet or a whole class set, they are a wonder tech tool to help advance student learning. Here are a few ideas on how to make this piece of technology more effective.

  • PodcastStudents can either listen to a podcast or create their own. You can even create your own podcast for students to listen to. This is especially helpful for students who are absent from school because they are easily able to get their homework.
  • Play Games – The wonderful thing about apps on a tablet is that there is an app for everyone. Each student learns in her own unique way, and with the thousands of apps that are on the market, you are sure to find a few that will correlate with each one of your students’ needs. Once you find one that suits your students’ needs, then students can work to advance to the next level of the game, all while learning. It’s not only fun and engaging, but it’s interactive as well.
  • Take a Virtual Tour- Google Maps and Google Earth allow students to be able to take a virtual tour of the world. If you are learning about Africa, then students can see it through the app in real time. If you are learning about a special landmark or planet, then the app can take you there too.

If You Have a Smartboard

Smartboards (or whiteboards) are today’s tech version of an interactive chalkboard. From playing games to interactive worksheets, to watching a movie or video conferencing with another class, there is always a fun and interactive way to use one. Here are a few more suggestions.

  • Go Noodle – Go Noodle is an interactive app that turns movement into a game. It’s easy and active, and students have a blast doing it. Students can practice mindfulness, meditation, do yoga, or even jump around and dance all in a controlled classroom environment.
  • Electric Activities – These electric worksheets have students interacting and reviewing concepts by clicking and dragging. Students can work in pairs, work alone, or in a whole group. They are a great alternative to the boring paper worksheet or activity page traditional classroom use.
  • Flip the Classroom – Your Smartboard has the ability for you to flip your classroom. Have students watch the lesson at home and come to the classroom to work out their problems as a class.

Effectively utilizing technology in the classroom is a great way to engage and bring your classroom to life. No matter what tech tools you have access to, there are always ways to engage the learning for all students.

Do you have any technology in the classroom tips or suggestions on this topic that you would like to share with us? Please leave your comments in the section below, we would love to hear what you have to say.

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 a Master's of Science in Education from the State University of New York College at Buffalo. She is a contributing writer to TeachHUB.com and TeachHUB Magazine. 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.