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Technology in the Classroom: Strategies to Help Stay Current

Janelle Cox

Whether you like it or not, technology in the classroom is here to stay. From tablets to Twitter, technology in the classroom has implemented itself into classrooms around the world. Many teachers are excited about this new technology in the classroom, while others are not quite sure how they are going to adapt their materials to fit into their curriculum.

If you want to stay current and try new ways to deliver these different kinds of tools into your classroom, then you will want to try these strategies.

Technology in the Classroom: Follow the Latest Tech Tools

The first thing that you will want to do is follow people and/or websites that offer you the most current resources on educational technology. However, navigating through the endless amount of newly released digital tools can be quite a bother, so you should first try Edweek.org, Edudemic.com and Techlearning to find out the latest news. These sites will help you decipher what will suit your classroom needs, and what won’t.

Figure Out What You Need

Once you begin to start following a few websites, you will learn what tools are right for your classroom. Think about what your students’ needs are, and how any of these new pieces of technology can be helpful. The whole point of digital tools is to make teaching and learning easy for you and your students. So take the time to establish a few goals that you have, and figure out how these digital tools can be of help to you.

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Develop Ideas Using an Unconventional Approach

The “Flipped Classroom” has gotten a lot of attention because of its unconventional approach to learning. This is when teachers use class time for homework and after-class time for lecturing through digital media. As you are thinking about what educational tools that you want to use in your classroom, try and think outside of the box. It can be easy to use a new tech tool to maintain what you are currently doing in the classroom. However, it can be quite beneficial to students to use a new tech tool to come up with your own, original way to use it. Don’t limit yourself to the traditional methods: That is the easy way to do things. Try and be creative and implement something completely new and unique.

Use Social Media

Social media has become one of the top ways that people connect as well as learn information. While this platform may seem like an unlikely way for students to learn, it is actually being widely used among classrooms across the country. Teachers have used Twitter for writing exercises and Facebook to collaborate with other classrooms. Using social media can be a rewarding experience for all learners, as long as students follow some strict guidelines.

Continue Your Education

Teachers are lifelong learners -- that is part of the job. In order to enhance your skills with technological tools, as well as help improve your student outcome, you must become an expert in technology. Many school districts are offering professional development courses that specialize in technological skills. Oftentimes these classes can be completed online. Even if you have already completed your master’s degree, it is still essential that you take the time to continue your education and enhance your comfort with digital tools.

Integrating educational technology in the classroom takes a lot of planning, work, and patience. Given the tools available and the tools that will become available, an effective classroom where all students are learning at their highest level is within our reach. Your goal is to keep up with the times, and create objectives that work for you and your students. The tech tools that you use in your classroom today will only enhance your students learning for tomorrow. You are positioning your students to be able to live in a world of technology, and that will only help them be more of a success.

How do you stay current with all of the new digital tools that seem to arise each week? Do you have any strategies or suggestions for us? Please share your tips in the comment 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 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.