By Teachers, For Teachers
According to research, 74 percent of teachers support the use of technology in the classroom. While most educators understand how important technology in the classroom is to their students’ learning, there are still those few who are not utilizing technology enough. It can be challenging to try and keep up with all the latest that ed-tech has to offer, especially if you’re a veteran teacher who is set in their ways and still learning about the latest gadgets. If you’re worried that you’re not in touch with some of today’s new technology in the classroom, then you need to be on the lookout for some of these warning signs.
We are living in a world where basically everything is on social media. So if you’re not on it, then you’re missing out on learning some valuable information that can help not only the way that you teach, but the way that your students learn. Twitter is a teacher favorite because this social platform has a lot of valuable educational content. You can follow educational experts, teacher advocates, publishers, you name it and you can learn from them. All you have to do is type in a hashtag like #educhat #mathchat #edtech or #teach and it’ll direct you to a variety of learning options on education, math, technology, teaching strategies, and ideas for the classroom. Other social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn are also useful ways to gain knowledge and connect with others, each in a unique way.
In this day and age of technology, if you’re still using paper and pencil to track attendance, grade students, contact parents, or even have students take tests, then you’re not utilizing technology enough. Whether your school has a school learning system or not, there are many apps on the market that can help you do these things digitally. Apps like Gradebook make it easy for teachers to track attendance, assign grades, and manage behavior all from one app. While Class Dojo and the Remind app lets you contact with parents via text or over the app. So put down that paper and pencil and start downloading some applications.
If the only piece of technology that you use is the overhead projector that’s been in the room since the 1950s, then you are not utilizing technology enough. Yes, the overhead projector is a piece of technology, but there are so many new educational technologies that can serve you and your students so much better. Even if your school isn’t fortunate enough to have an iPad or Smartboard because of budget cuts, there are ways that you can utilize technology in your classroom. For example, if you have a personal smartphone or an iPad, you can stream apps onto your projector or through the television. You can also ask for donations at Donorschoose.org to get the technology that you want and need for your classroom, free of charge.
As you know, parent-teacher communication is essential for a student’s success. However, with today’s new tech tools, there’s no reason to still communicate with parents through a note home when you can contact them immediately via text, email, or through an app. Just think of all the paper you’re saving by utilizing today’s technology. Not to mention, by communicating with parents through technology, you’re able to get an immediate response versus waiting on snail mail.
You are not utilizing technology enough if you don’t have a classroom website. Anyone can create a site, and many are free. If you haven’t jumped on the bandwagon just yet, then you’ll want to after hearing all of the reasons why you should have a classroom website. For starters, it’s getting so easy to have one that it will actually will save you time. With a little work in the beginning, getting the site the way that you want it will be smooth sailing. Not only will you never have to deal with your students asking you what they’ve missed, but long gone is the abundance of paperwork that you’ve had to hand out. Classroom websites are great for posting the syllabus, announcements, events, homework, and volunteer options. Students will no longer have the excuse that they lost the information because it will always be on the classroom website.
Staying up to date on the latest tech tools isn’t as hard as you think. All you have to do is follow a few hashtags on social media, or subscribe to an ed-tech newsletter that gets delivered to your inbox. Do what you can with the resources that you have in your classroom. If all else fails, ask for help.
How do you utilize educational technology in the classroom? Please share with us in the comment section below. We’d love to hear from you.
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.