By Teachers, For Teachers
You’re fresh out of college and ready to conquer the world. You just got your first teaching job and you’re ready for all its challenges. But are you ready to take on technology in the classroom? Technology in the classroom is now very much of a part of a student’s everyday life. It has greatly expanded how classroom teachers accomplish their everyday tasks, as well as the lessons that they teach. As a new teacher, you have to acclimate yourself with every piece of technology in the classroom, both new and old, in order to be effective in the 21st century. Here are some ed-tech options that you may or may not be familiar with. Equip yourself with these ideas and you will have a jumpstart on ed-tech before you even enter your new classroom.
Many classrooms are now equipped with an interactive whiteboard. This is an ed-tech tool that allows computer images to be displayed onto a board using a projector or a computer. These tech tools have revolutionized how teachers teach and students learn. However, if you have haven’t ever used one before, then there are a lot of technological aspects about the device that you will have to familiarize yourself with before you even try and use it with your students. Luckily, there are tools and websites out there that can help you learn how to navigate your way around the whiteboard fast. All you have to do is a quick search online or try You Tube for a video on how to use it.
One thing that almost all teachers do is use technology to help them find classroom resources like lessons and activities. While some teachers love to use Pinterest, others swear by sites like Teachers Pay Teachers or Share My Lesson. These types of sites help new teachers learn from experienced teachers as well as get advice, share ideas, and learn about new ed-tech all in one place.
E-portfolios are something many classroom teachers are now using. They aren’t anything new, but they are starting to become more popular. An e-portfolio is a web-based collection of a student’s work that is gathered over time. Since the pieces in the portfolio include a variety of media, presentations, essays, artwork and such, it’s best to start the portfolio in the beginning of the school year. As a new teacher, it’s best to familiarize yourself with how these portfolios work as soon as possible because they take a lot of planning.
The benefit to using digital portfolios is the accessibility of them. They can be accessed from just about anywhere and at any time.
Technology has made it quite easy for teachers to plan lessons, thanks to apps like Planbook and Planboard. These apps make managing your plans easier and more functional than a tangible pencil and paper. Planbook can be accessed on the web as well as the app and allows you to customize your lessons, create class schedules and templates, connect to standards, attach files and links, and share your plans with your colleagues. With Planboard, you can create your lessons online with the online editor. You also have the ability to build lesson templates, attach local curriculum sets, individual standards, and send and import lessons right from your smartphone.
Ed-tech makes it easier than ever before to manage your students’ behavior. If you haven’t heard of the app ClassDojo, then I suggest you familiarize yourself with it. ClassDojo is an online classroom management tool that tracks students’ behavior in real time. It is designed to help students’ behavior keep on track, while keeping parents in the loop. It’s also an effective tool for monitoring students’ growth. It also makes it easy to communicate with parents through the stories and messaging section of the app.
If you were worried about how you were going to assess your student work, don’t. Technology has made it a piece of cake. Apps like My Class Talk and Socrative Teacher allow you to get immediate feedback to check for understanding. If you are looking to assess students on classroom participation, with just a tap of your finger in the My Class Talk app you award points and rank students participation in real time. If you want to assess students on their content knowledge, then the Socrative Teacher app allows you to create a quiz where you will receive a report, and it’s even graded for you. These assessment apps are designed to make your everyday teacher tasks easier.
There are many ed-tech tools and apps that exist today, essentially it’s up to you to familiarize yourself with all of them. While exploring the many tools may be intimidating, just remember that in order for you to be ahead of the game and keep your students up to date with the latest in technology, you need to start learning how to use them now.
What technology in the classroom tools do you want to learn more about? Tell us in the comment section below, we would love to help you out.
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 @empoweringed, on Facebook at Empowering K12 Educators, or contact her at Janellecox78@yahoo.com.