By Teachers, For Teachers
If you’re looking to try something new this school year, then implementing any piece of technology in the classroom is the way to go. From building a classroom website to connecting to other educational professionals on Twitter, there is always something tech savvy for you to try. Here are 8 different technology in the classroom options for you to attempt at school this year. Try a few or try them all: Just as long as you try something that will help you keep connected in this wired world.
Classroom blogs serve many purposes for teachers. You can use them to easily communicate with parents. You can use them to help you stay organized with your lesson plans and activities. You can also use them to develop your students’ technological skills. A classroom blog is a great way to keep students and parents in the loop of what’s going on in the classroom. Edu Blogs and Kidblogs are two great platforms that you can start with. These sites make it easy for just about anyone with zero to know technological experience.
If a classroom blog doesn’t sound appealing to you, then maybe a classroom website might just be the thing for you to try. A classroom website is similar to a blog, but you can add videos, a calendar to post assignments, photographs and documents, and more. Long gone are the days that building a website was just for the technically sound. Today, it’s as easy as tying your shoe. Sites like Ezclasssites and Educatorpages make it easy for you to get started. They take all of the guesswork out of it and do everything for you.
Twitter can be used for much more than just sharing what you’re eating that day, or your family’s pictures with your old high school friends. It’s a place that you can connect to other educators from all over the world. Twitter chats are more popular than ever with teachers. They cover everything and anything about education. All you have to do is know the right hashtags to join in. #edchat and #teachchat are just two of the hashtags that you can use to connect with other teachers and find out what’s going on in other classrooms just like yours around the globe.
While Google is a great and probably the most popular search engine people use, there are other alternative ways to search for things on the web. Teach your students to go beyond Google by trying out new search engines. Challenge them to find other ways to search like Bing, Yahoo, or Ask.com. Teach them that you can search educational articles by putting “edu” in quotes before you type in your search word. Or, you can type in “org” into the search engine to find website that end in .org. They can learn more about “Internet search strategies” by just typing in that keyword into a search engine.
Teachers may not realize the benefits of using a Smartboard in the classroom. This huge, digital screen allows images from your computer to be displayed onto the board for your students to see. Tactical learners can touch the screen, play games on it, watch videos, play music, draw illustrations, copy notes, draw maps and graphs, or just about anything on it. It’s a great way to present new information to your whole classroom.
YouTube is more than just watching funny animal videos or the new up and coming artist of the week. You can learn valuable teaching strategies for your classroom, and your students can learn a thing or two. You can create your own YouTube channel for your classroom by recording class videos to share with other classrooms or even parents.
Traditionally, student portfolios have been placed in a three ring binder or a folder, but over the past decade, teachers have been compiling student work digitally. Digital portfolios are becoming increasingly more popular than the traditional paper portfolios, because digital portfolios can be easily accessed from just about anywhere. Documents can be stored on a hard drive, zip drive, or even within an app. The key benefit is there versatility. You can easily access them to update them and keep them current.
A great way to get your students to be aware of important global issues is to connect them with an expert in the field in which they are learning about via face-to-face. A video chat is the next best thing to meeting in person. Students can learn just about anything from experts across the globe with video chat conferencing. Try Backchannelchat.com to connect with experts today.
Try setting a goal of at least trying one new piece of technology per month. You can start with something easy like connecting with an expert via video chat or having your students use the Internet to find alternate ways to research. Once you think you have got it down, then you can try to tackle designing your own website or YouTube channel. Technology is the way of world, so it’s best you try and implement it into your classroom today.
What is your favorite piece of technology to use in your classroom? Do you have one thing that you like better than the other? Please share your ideas with us in the comment section below, we would love to hear your thoughts.
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 also the Elementary Education Expert for About.com, as well as a contributing writer to TeachHUB.com and TeachHUB Magazine. You can follow her at Twitter @Empoweringk6ed, or on Facebook at Empowering K6 Educators.