Exploring innovative methods to integrate technology into the classroom can streamline teaching tasks, it also enhances students’ enthusiasm and involvement in lessons.
From facilitating communication between teachers and students to fostering peer-to-peer interactions, technology serves as a versatile tool. It aids in structuring curriculum schedules, enriching presentations and lessons through multimedia elements, and fostering an immersive learning atmosphere. Here are few examples:
1. Digital Field Trips
An increasingly popular, useful, and cost-effective tool for teachers searching for new ways to use technology in the classroom is taking digital field trips. Applications like Google Street View enable virtual exploration of various sites, including parks, forests, and renowned national or international landmarks, right from the classroom setting. This immersive experience allows students to virtually stand atop the Statue of Liberty or traverse through the Grand Canyon, igniting their enthusiasm for learning about different locations or subjects while extending learning beyond traditional materials.
2. Integrate Social Media
Leveraging social media in the classroom is one of the most innovative approaches to technology integration. By incorporating social media, educators can seamlessly connect students with curriculum materials, classroom resources, etc. Establishing a dedicated Facebook group for the class facilitates group discussion. Introducing unique classroom Twitter hashtags encourages students to engage in lesson-related discussions or ask questions.
3. Gather Student Feedback
The true test of any classroom structure and/or curriculum is how well it helps students learn, and getting feedback from students is vital to assessing this, determining what is and isn’t working, and addressing problems and confusion as they arise. Use online surveys and polls to perform daily or weekly check-ins with students to get their opinions on lessons and address lingering questions or concerns. Expand on the usage of Twitter hashtags by having students tweet their feedback and questions with a classroom hashtag.
5. Creating Digital Content
Encouraging students to create digital content tied to their learning not only allows them to exhibit their unique creative abilities, but also serves as a platform for showcasing their learning. Similar to other projects, the content creation process is most fruitful when students can express themselves in manners that highlight their individual strengths and learning styles. Provide options for students to express themselves through blogs, videos, podcasts, eBooks, flyers, other digital art, or any other means they feel most comfortable. Honoring each student’s distinctiveness and preferences in creative expression fosters a supportive environment where they can thrive as learners.
6. Using a Classroom Calendar
Develop a shared online calendar for your classroom through Google Calendar or a similar program for posting important updates. Post assignment due dates and classroom events (such as field trips and guest speakers) in one easily-accessible location for both teachers and students. Go a step further and share the calendar with caregivers to keep them connected and engaged with their child’s learning.
7. Review and Critique Webpages
In today’s digital age, the vastness of online resources is accompanied by a need for discernment, as not all information found on the internet is reliable. As educators, they need to inform that Wikipedia is not a reliable source for research papers because it can be edited by anyone at anytime. Empowering students with digital literacy skills involves equipping them with the ability to critically analyze and discern between trustworthy and unreliable web sources. By collaboratively reviewing online content and establishing clear standards for evaluating sources, educators can foster a culture of informed decision-making and enhance students’ abilities to recognize of what makes a good source.
8. Video/Multimedia Lessons and Presentations
Bring presentations to life for students by incorporating visual effects, photos, videos, and music into them. Developing slideshows and digital presentations, playing music or a video for background and context while presenting, or inviting virtual guest speakers to engage with your class via programs designed for conference calls (such as Skype, Google Hangouts, and Facetime) are all fun and creative ways to boost engagement with lessons while teaching the benefits of technology and multimedia use.
9. Online Activities for Students
Set up learning stations to encourage and support students working at their own pace. If a student finishes an assignment early, rather than being stuck waiting for other students to catch up or class to end, students can extend and enhance their learning by visiting a learning station and watching videos, playing learning-based games, or exploring other online activities related to their studies.
Why students benefit from using technology in the classroom?
Incorporating technology into classrooms facilitates enhanced and more efficient communication channels between students and teachers. The integration of technology also fosters an environment where students have a voice in their learning. Students are empowered to take responsibility of their learning through giving feedback on lessons, participating in projects and learning activities that respect their individuality, and having opportunities and support to learn and understand how to use technology creatively, effectively, and safely.
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