When is the time right to use technology in your classroom or school?
I know, it is a difficult question to answer. This post does not contain the absolute answer to the question, but rather one teacher’s opinion.
Society is hungry for technology and conveniences. Recently, I saw a commercial for a television you can make hand gestures at to control it. Having that television might be the closest you get to having JEDI mind powers! This is not the channel I am looking for…
This hunger for tech is also impacting our schools. I believe that many teachers want to use technology, but sometimes get caught up in using technology for the sake of saying they use it or they consider showing a Powerpoint presentation using technology. I check numerous sites on a daily basis, like Edudemic and Teachthought, which have countless articles talking about the 800 Best Apps for _________. There is no shortage of technology to bring into the classroom but there is so much available that it can be overwhelming.
So, how can you use technology more appropriately? More effectively? With more focus on the students?
I believe that when using technology in the classroom it should be treated as another tool in your toolbox. Technology isn’t appropriate for each and every lesson we teach. Technology can enhance many lessons, activities, and assignments though. If you throw too much of anything at your students they can be turned off by it. In moderation it can make a huge difference and impact on your students’ learning.
When I want to use technology I consider the following:
- Can the lesson be taught, with the same value, minus technology?
What does the chosen technology add to the lesson?
- Does it promote the critical thinking of the lesson?
- Will I have to teach the technology in addition to teaching the lesson?
I believe that many lessons can be taught without technology, but if appropriate technology is available it should be added to the lesson or activity. The school of thought that is generally accepted is that teachers need to prepare students for the “21st Century” and that we are working with “21st Century” learners. We need to appeal to their interest in technology and encourage learning how to use it to prepare them for the what tomorrow will present them. This simple idea is my way of justifying the use of technology.
There are very few jobs available that do not use technology in some form. Today’s students need to know more than how to type in a word processing program or use a TI-89 calculator. Students need to be able to create documents, manipulate images, and communicate their ideas when they aren’t face to face with someone.
You can achieve this goal by having a purpose and a plan. It is not a good idea in the short or long-term to just use technology for the sake of using it. We should be instilling in our students to have purpose for everything they set out to do and we should hold our lesson design to the same standard.