Since the majority of modern students spend most of their time browsing through the various electronic portable devices, it is only natural that they expect teachers to embrace the technology in the classroom. Still, it is not always easy to take this leap, especially if you are not used to innovative technologies, interactive blackboards, and things like that. Considering the number of school tests and preparation, the teachers find it relatively difficult to handle it all without risks. Thankfully, there are easy ways that can improve the classroom experience and show that technology can benefit all, even technophobic educators among us.
Contrary to popular misconception, technology does not have to be complex to function right. Take an example of a simple iPad solution or a smartphone that you use to communicate. What would you say if it could be used as a way to communicate and send helpful links to students? The great thing is that you can expand your classroom resources right away and it won't cost too much, especially if you introduce the concept of the classroom iPads.
Before you do, however, it is crucial to consider the Internet access aspect in the classroom and discuss the safety policies with the students. Next, you must get approval in terms of allowing your students to use iPads or similar devices during the lessons. The safest bet is talking to a technology specialist on campus or the local IT specialist who knows more about the use of technology and can suggest the most efficient implementation.
1) The Benefits of PowerPoint Interaction
Starting with gaming experiences like Minecraft in their origin or the list of interesting surveys, even those teachers who are not tech-savvy can use PowerPoint by using various gaming templates. Think about the famous "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?" game with the tricky questions and the options. Adding an element of play will instantly keep students inspired and will help them appreciate a different environment. Just search for PowerPoint templates online by adding the word "game" to your search string.
2) Become a Blogger!
This simple trick is often neglected, yet it is a fast way to embrace technology at zero cost! For example, ask students to write an assignment from the perspective of a person from history or a representative of a certain profession. You can use free WordPress templates that are available online and let your students add their contributions and practice their writing and creative skills.
Alternatively, you can even use Twitter and ask students to summarize the lesson with a tweet. Of course, they’ll have a limited number of characters, yet it will help students think about the key aspects of the lesson.
3) Using Google As a Quest
The trick is to find specific information online and make a short summary of what you have discovered. For example ask your students to create an inmaginary museum that can contain a limited amound of any works of art they find online. Ask them to reason their choices.
Once your class starts searching through Google, they will learn to determine good and bad sources and explain particular choices in their summary. If you do not know where to start, you can look up already pre-made web quests that help to integrate Internet searching as a part of a learning course.
4) Write About Technology
As a rule, younger people know all the peculiarities of modern technology and learn to use it basically as soon as they learn how to talk. Therefore, asking them to write about what technology means in their lives is a great way to discover what can be done and what changes are necessary. Since most youngsters are great innovators at heart, ask them to write a "guide" for their parents or grandparents who do not know much about technology. The practical examples can be the instructions to send an email message, set up the phone book on a smartphone, or succeed in a video game. The older students may research the benefits of the latest technology in a certain field or make a fictional story for the English lesson.
5) Class Website
It is a great project that will definitely unite students! You can start with a basic website where you post the class news and progress reports for the parents to a more advanced page that includes class photos, personal blogs, and the list of educational materials. You can ask the IT specialist at school about domain name registration or use any of the free hosting services that can have both free and paid options.
6) Online Grading Option
Considering the distance learning and the Covid-19 times, most schools these days turn to web-based grading systems. If your school did not make this shift yet, you can check out interactive platforms like MyGradebook that provide numerous features for teachers. You have resources to track individual and group students' progress, attendance notes, and performance charts. It can be used as a way to contact parents and email students once there is an update. The best part about such a solution is that it can be accessed anytime, anywhere!
7) Email Exchange Game
While in the old times most of us had an advantage of corresponding with penpals from all over the world, modern kids can use the latest technology to exchange emails. It can be another school, city, state, or even a foreign country. It will make even more sense if students share the same curriculum at the time of an exchange and can discuss all the critical points. As an alternative, you can ask the experts to correspond with the school by answering their questions by email. Those students who may not really see why Math and Chemistry can be helpful in real life may start approaching things differently if they talk to a real scientist, a video game designer, a programmer, or an engineer who can tell an interesting story. It is also a good way for the parents and older siblings to participate if they know some topic well and are ready to volunteer.
8) Multimedia Presentations
You can make any boring lecture or a lesson more inspiring if you introduce various multimedia presentations yourself or ask students to participate. Youtube clips, photographs, diagrams, or any multimedia content fits here! You can ask students to come up with lesson reviews or feedback journals as a presentation with the slides.
9) Add Variety to Your Lessons
Things can easily get repetitive as one is teaching the same material over and over. Therefore, search the Internet and find additional study materials and unusual information to make things interesting. Before you start with a lesson, go online and look for something new. Since most museums offer online tours and show various objects free of charge, you can turn any History or Geography lesson into a wonderful multimedia experience.
10) Edit Wiki Pages
As a teacher, you can apply for editing the Wiki pages by adding certain materials or creating new pages. It can be a page of your school with the list of projects that you are involved in. It is not Wikipedia per se but a website that can create a Wiki page on a topic that you study. The students can collaborate and correct each other's mistakes if they encounter any. If it sounds too challenging for you, you can create a blog for a website where every student has his or her page. It is a great way to integrate technology equally and get every person involved.
11) Meet The Podcasts
You might be surprised to learn this fact, yet many teachers all over the world listen to the Podcasts and use them to learn as they get ready for teaching. Some college professors participate in scientific podcasts, which can be beneficial for older students. For more simple scenarios, you can find online interviews with the book authors that you study or let the students hear about how a famous movie has been filmed. Just download a list of podcasts on the topic and let your students analyze them after listening.
12) Unique School Projects
It might be the most important part of using technology in the classroom. Create short animation films, a school website, or a multimedia project that looks like a real thing! It does not matter what your skill level is, the most important is to motivate students to embrace technology in the classroom and let them have some fun, first of all.
Using such an approach, you will not only improve the professional and personal skills of your students but will see how you can learn along with the latest technology and understand the younger generation in a much better way!