By Teachers, For Teachers
One of the biggest challenges most teachers face is when their school is underfunded and has limited access to technology in the classroom. While most school districts are keeping up with 21st century technology in the classroom, not all of them can, because it’s just not possible with the funds that they have. Luckily, there are ways that you can make do with the little technology that you have.
Here are a few ways to help you make the most of the technology available.
If your school has a computer lab, then utilize it. Talk to the computer teacher and find out when there is an opening and schedule your class for extra computer time. Take this opportunity to have students work on a classroom project in the lab. Students can use PowerPoint, Excel, Word or any other programs to complete their class projects. Not only will this give them extra practice with current technology, but if they come into any tech issues, the computer teacher will be there to help.
Instead of scouring the Internet for new tech lessons, use the lessons that you already have, but just find a way to integrate technology into them. Instead of having students use their best cursive for their final draft, have them type it instead. Instead of having students write a book report, have them create a book trailer (like a movie trailer) using the iMovie app. You can basically integrate technology into any old lesson.
While you may be privy to one classroom computer or one classroom tablet, are you using it? You may think “What can I do with only one?” What you can do is find a way to implement it into your daily curriculum. When students are doing centers, you can have students rotate to the computer or the tablet. If your class is learning about space, you can Skype with an astronaut that is actually in space. Instead of using up all of that paper (not to mention that it’s a waste and bad for the environment), you can use your tablet to connect with parents on classroom management with the Class Dojo app. Don’t let any technology sit in your classroom and collect dust: You can find ways to use it, even if your collection is limited.
When you have limited technology, it’s utterly important to keep extra special care of it. This means informing students on how to handle it properly. A great way to do this is to assign one person (someone who you know is responsible and that you can trust) the job of being the classroom tech monitor. This student’s job is to turn the tech on and off, keep it clean, and make sure it is being handled properly. Students need to know that it is a privilege to have such special pieces of equipment in the classroom, and that means that it needs to be handled with special care.
There are always ways that you can get free technology when you have limited funds. Go to Donorschoose.org and ask for anything from a class set of iPads to a new digital camera for your classroom. Members of the site will donate to your classroom for free! All you have to do is ask. There is always the option of having a fundraiser too. Students can sell items in turn for using the profits for new technology for the classroom.
When you have limited technology, it is essential that you know how to use it. Make sure that you ask the computer teacher or find an online mentor to help guide you. Hopefully this article will have inspired you to incorporate more technology into your classroom.
If you have any comments or ideas on how to make the most of your limited technology then please feel free to leave your comments in the section below. We would love to hear your ideas.
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.