The rise of technology in the classroom is double-sided; new programs and devices can be exceedingly useful in helping students learn. However, phones and laptops can be huge timewasters and distractions for students. As a teacher, it is essential to know how and when to utilize new technology.
Phones are one of the biggest distractions for students in a classroom setting. It can be helpful to establish a zero-tolerance anti-phone policy in the classroom to minimize interruptions and maximize teaching. Keep the school’s policy on phones in mind when constructing your own rules. Some teachers encourage the use of smartphones as tools when doing classwork or double-checking facts. However, the nearly endless distractions that phones offer practically guarantee that even if they are used with the best of intentions, they will still be misused by at least a handful of students. It is generally a good idea to keep phone usage in the classroom down to a minimum. One way to encourage this policy among students is to model the behavior. Even small actions like checking the time can be temptati
ons for students. If students do not see a teacher on their phone during class, they will be more likely to also stay off their phones. mentioned, technology can be a helpful learning tool. However, it is not always a substitute for other teaching methods. Things, like writing notes by hand on a whiteboard or providing classroom handouts, can be great ways to help students learn in the classroom. Eng
aging students becomes more manageable when there are a variety of teaching strategies to choose from. Over-reliance on one method of teaching can produce boring and repetitive lesson plans; students can become used to the same teaching format every day, so it is helpful to use a variety of teaching tools.
Of course, technology can also be an enormous help in the classroom. The best way to figure out how to best utilize technology is to keep in mind the concept of relevance. For instance, can a particular topic be best communicated through a PowerPoint presentation, a handout,
or simply through a lecture? Keeping in mind the relevance of technology to a specific topic is a helpful way to maximize the use of technology in the classroom. Another thing to keep in mind is the personal proficiency level. If there is a program that you find particularly easy to use and helpful in the classroom, utilize it! Students will have a much easier time learning about topics if the information is clearly presented. Relevance and personal proficiency are important concepts to remember when thinking about when to use technology in the classroom.
As previously mentioned technology has rapidly become a part of the landscape of everyday life, so figuring out when to use it in the classroom can be a difficult topic. Instead of avoiding the question altogether, it is advantageous to evaluate how certain helpful aspects of technology can be in communicating and clarifying lessons. Ultimately, with some effort and analysis, technology is a useful classroom tool.