Why Integrate Technology in Your Classroom?
Picture the modern office. What would you expect to see in there, technology wise? You’d expect a computer per workstation – with internet access for each one – plus a proliferation of laptops, Palm Pilots, Blackberries and all the rest. So why do you see most schools – where the next generation to enter the work force is being trained – using methods of teaching that haven’t progressed many steps on since the use of the slate? Primarily, this is the main reason why you should try to integrate technology in your classroom.
And that’s not the only reason why you should integrate technology in your classroom. When an organization you belong to wants to contact you (and thirty other people) about an upcoming event, how do you get notified? Via email, usually. So why do teachers still use “Pupil Post” and send messages home on slips of paper to parents (a notoriously unreliable method of communication)?
Even if you’re the sports coach/physical education teacher, you can integrate technology in your classroom. Don’t all the top sports coaches use slow-motion replay to show the athletes they work with how to improve their technique? While you may not be able to provide this sort of coaching to every student, you may be able to use a video to show how the muscles in a runner’s leg work together, to give one example.
The possibilities are almost endless. Here are some suggestions to try if you want to integrate technology in your classroom:
Use video. This is imperative for any film study, media studies or Shakespeare study, but this most common form of technology has wider, cross-curricular uses. Similar technology types include DVDs and online video clips. Don’t just play them – use them creatively as part of your lesson.
Use computers for research. Most of your students probably already know how to use search engines to find what they need or want to know. As a teacher who wants to integrate technology in your classroom, your task is to teach them how to use these (if they don’t already know), how to sort good and useful information sources from unreliable ones (e.g. someone’s blog is probably not likely to be the best source of scientific information… unless it’s the blog of a leading scientist), and how to cite internet-based sources correctly in a bibliography.
Use computers to present information to your class. While you shouldn’t rely on this method of presentation exclusively, using PowerPoint or a similar application can help you present text, diagrams, sound and animations smoothly and easily – no more dropped or mis-ordered acetates for the overhead projector.
Use a webcam to record your most important lessons and upload this to a website. This way, students can catch up on lessons they missed out on (or didn’t pay attention in).
However, you can’t expect to succeed if you think that the best way to integrate technology in your classroom is to simply switch the computer on. Like all teaching tools, technology has to be used correctly. Video is one area where teachers frequently make mistakes, namely “The 7 Biggest Mistakes Teachers Make Using Video in the Classroom”. If you want to avoid these, then download a free copy of “7 Biggest Mistakes” right now.