Society today is inundated with technology. Our students relate to the world via tech and technological advancement that doesn’t seem to be slowing down. To keep up with these advancements and to best engage and equip our students for the world in which they will be contributing, technology is necessary. Here are some tips for properly utilizing technology within the classroom and some common pitfalls to avoid!
Tech does not automatically equal interesting.
If something is boring with pen and paper, it will
not magically become interesting just because it is on a screen. Utilizing the technology rather
than just using it to tick a box on your teaching strategy checklist is paramount for technological
success in the classroom. You can gamify your exam reviews using Kahoot!, incorporate videos
of the historical figures you are discussing using YouTube, or even use popular film clips to show
examples of literary terms.
Allow the students to teach themselves (and each other). Retention rates skyrocket when the students are the ones doing the teaching and tech is a great way to put students in the driver’s seat of their learning. Setting up things like a Web Quest, where different groups research different areas of a topic and put together a technological presentation (Prezi is a great resource), is a fantastic way for the students to teach their peers what they’ve learned. In this way, tech is a tool that is enhancing collaborative, presentation, and technological skills simultaneously.
Monitor student use. Perhaps the most simple tip, yet also the most ignored. Although the use of technology is likely to engage your students more than a basic lecture, it does not mean that they will automatically become perfect angels who stay on task. When the tech is out, be sure to walk around and monitor student use to make sure they are staying in line. If your classroom is conducive to it, you can even have all of the computers (or Ipads) facing your desk for easier monitoring. If they know you are watching them, students are less likely to get off task.
Remember that tech is a tool, not a teacher. We are a long way away from robotic educators and it is important not to rely on technology to do the heavy-lifting in instruction. The art of teaching is both about an exchange of information and a symbiotic relationship between the teacher and the learner. It is important that tech is a tool that you are using to supplement and enhance your lessons. Technology, in and of itself, does not provide meaningful learning and should never be used in place of live, substantial, and purposeful teaching. Only you are equipped to do that.
For more teaching tips and tricks, be sure to check back frequently at Social Studies MegaStore!