There might be some benefits to technology in classrooms. But the truth is, not all students will see them. Schools are not equal, and students can actually be hindered by too much technology. Discovery and learning valuable concepts can take a back seat. Many schools are implementing new technologies in classrooms. From interactive white boards, to laptops and power point. But how are teachers going to use this technology? Many teachers don't have a clue as to where to start.
Chances are, if you get a new piece of equipment, you are going to be ask to implement it. Unfortunately, there is not much individual training on how teachers should use new technology. Some schools will offer some type of short workshop on the new equipment. Maybe teachers even get a few minutes of hands on instruction. Then they are pretty much on their own.
With a teacher's busy day, and already getting hit on all fronts, some teachers may just ignore the technology or seldom use it for real instruction.
In fact, there is not a great deal of training for teachers. School districts seem to put the cart before the horse.
There is no place to try and get how best to use some technology in the classroom. Teachers have been left pretty much on their own to use it or not. If this describes you, then you probably need some help in utilizing it if you are going to use it at all.
Since the beginning of teaching, fellow teachers have been the best resource for teachers in need. New technology is no different. The most easiest way to get help is with other teachers. Probably on your campus is someone who has used all types of new technology in their classroom. Some schools even appoint a tech leader. This would be the first place to look.
But they will probably help you most with set up and use, rather than specifics on instruction. This is where you will really need to use the internet.
The internet is a great place to share, interact, and learn from other teachers. Many teachers have websites and blogs devoted to lesson plans implementing new technologies. They also have other ideas for making your teaching life easier.
There is no reason to let any new tech equipment sit or use it sparingly if it will enhance the learning and teaching experience.Google for Educators is a great site for teachers.
You really need to know when and where to use the new technology, and also its limits. When you first get a new piece of equipment in your classroom, you need to not shrug your shoulders and think what am I going to use it for. Instead, you should regard the equipment as something you WILL use. Ask yourself how not why. Think about what you do in your classroom on a daily or weekly basis.
How can I use this technology to help me? Think of things that can enhance learning in a new way.
Power point and projectors allow you to do a lot of planning ahead. Less writing on your part while teaching. You can rapidly present new material. You can save items for next term.
But remember, a regular white board or chalkboard is still needed in certain instances. Especially when you need to leave something up for a long time, or have students correct something.
Math is still better taught using the old fashioned way, but technology can be used for enrichment and to make your class planning more efficient.
Email can be more efficient than phoning. But sometimes talking live to a person is best.
Gradebooks can do automatic adding and calculating grades. Many schools allow students to check their progress online. Teachers can set up schedules and due dates. Entire classrooms can be integrated with email or text, and the teacher can send out reminders or even instruction.Sometimes videos are great. Sometimes a photo is better. If students need to be shown a process, a video can do that. If a student needs to concentrate on something specific, then a still picture is better.
Remember that good teaching is still good teaching. Don't use technology just to use it. Use it effectively.
Don't mistake students paying attention better during new technologies as a sign of learning. Sometimes they are just being entertained and no desire to learn still. But, using technology to grab their attention is certainly a starting point. Your goal is still for the student to be interested in learning and having a desire to be engaged.
Computer companies have made it easy to integrate technology into your classroom and enhance your students' learning. New devices and technologies become available faster than ever. So, what are you waiting for? Take your classroom into the twenty first century!
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