What Are Simple Ideas For Technology Integration In The Classroom?
contributed by Simon Blower
Declining attention span as a result of increasing use of smartphones and social media are just a few challenges teachers deal with in the modern classroom.
Children today deal with more stimuli around them than ever before. Mobile phones, tablets, and other technology have become so intertwined with our children’s daily lives that it’s hard to imagine keeping it out of the classroom. Even though some believe these can be distractions, embracing technology can make learning more fun and impactful.
Smartphones, iPads, and other devices have become so intuitive for kids, it only makes sense to harness these powerful learning tools to engage a classroom full of tech-savvy students. And the best part? You can use these ideas in one form or another for any student in any content area and grade level.
6 Technology Integration Ideas For Any Content Area & Grade Level
1. Create Online Polls & Quizzes
Technology can be a great platform to get pupils more engaged, even those who usually don’t take an active part in class. Even if a pupil knows the right answer to a teacher’s question, there is no guarantee they will raise their hand or stand up in class to answer.
Online quizzes and polls help reach out to the more timid and shy students who now have a chance to actively participate in class and express their thoughts. Instantaneous quiz results are also an advantage, since most pupils who receive immediate feedback perform better.
You can find tools to create online polls and quizzes here.
2. Interact via Video Conferencing
Zoom, Skype, Crikle, and others are great tools to help people around the world stay in touch, and in a world that emphasizes networking, you can start teaching pupils the value of cultivating relationships. Lessons can be replaced with video calls for a chance to listen and see other teachers and experts from the other side of the world.
You can also schedule a weekly conference call with other students from around the globe and essentially modernize the pen-pal letter exchange, allow students to practice their second-language skills with a native speaker, and hear real stories from anywhere in the world.
3. Create Multimedia Projects
There is more than one way to go about a class project; encourage pupils to use a variety of media to create comprehensive projects. Podcasts, slideshows, and short movies are just a few ways children can get a hands-on experience with class projects, not to mention the creativity these tools spark and the diverse range of projects your pupils will produce.
4. Use What’s In Their Pocket
Some schools have already started implementing the BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) system. As more pupils bring their smartphone or tablet to class, you (your school) should consider doing the same. If a child feels comfortable with the device, he or she will be able to use it to their advantage and make the most out of it.
BYOD in the classroom increases student participation, encourages collaboration, and offers an outlet for personalized instruction. Katy Independent School District, for example, implemented a BYOD program in order to increase student engagement in learning. The launch was incredibly successful, as their director of instructional innovations maintained, “our usage and number of devices that are connecting have surpassed what we thought it would.”
5. Watch & Create Video Content
According to studies conducted by The Visual Teaching Alliance, 70% of the population are visual learners. In fact, teachers who use video in the classroom say that their students retain more information, grasp concepts more quickly, and are more enthusiastic about the material.
There are dozens of use cases: YouTube is your source for these visual aids with an endless variety of How To videos. Choose visually engaging videos that offer a step-by-step breakdown so kids can catch on easily and refer back to the video if necessary. TeacherTube, SchoolTube and WatchKnowLearn are other great video-sharing websites for educators.
Also, video streaming and conferencing is nearly a standard in today’s classroom.
6. Let Them Play
Ultimately, children are children, and what child doesn’t like to play games–and learning through play is a powerful strategy. Use interactive learning games to pique students’ curiosity and attention, keep them interested throughout the learning process, track their improvement, and use just the right amount of competition to push them to improve. They will even assign themselves homework so they can beat the highest score.
There are many learning platforms available where gamification is built into the platform to encourage pupils to learn while experiencing the enjoyment of games. ClassDojo, Rezzly and Virtual Locker are just a few of the top game-based learning platforms — they transform ordinary classroom lessons into engaging games and quests by incentivizing through points, badges, and awards.
Using technology in the classroom is vital in the age of the tablet and the iPhone; teachers must employ as many relevant platforms as they can to draw kids’ attention and keep them interested. However, technology can also increase student participation and productivity while helping them acquire real-world experiences and skills. If our children turn to mobile phones and the internet, there’s no reason we shouldn’t utilize these tools to help them achieve more.
Using his 15 Years of Primary School experience which includes 5 years as a Deputy Headteacher, Simon Blower is now working as COO for Pobble, a site that he co-founded. Pobble is a platform that shares and celebrates children’s writing with the world.
6 Technology Integration Ideas For Any Content Area And Grade Level; adapted image attribution flickr user nasagoddardspaceflight