Responsive Classroom in High-Tech Classrooms: Common Questions Answered
Let’s face it—technology is changing the way students learn. With the increase of screen time in classrooms, it is imperative that we continue to teach to the whole child, bolstering their social skills and ensuring they are engaged with the academics they are being taught. Luckily for educators, Responsive Classroom practices are easily adaptable to technology-rich environments. In this article, we will answer some of the common questions we have received about using Responsive Classroom in tandem with technology.
How do I ensure my students use technology safely and appropriately?
Set up clear routines and procedures around technology, just as you would with any other resource in the classroom. Think about how you can use Interactive Modeling to promote safe and appropriate technology use. For example, consider how you want students to get their tools out: Will they go table by table to the computer cart? Will you pass around their iPads?
Use Interactive Modeling to introduce each website or app you offer to students, as well. Project your screen on the board and walk students through how to open the app, use the search feature, or log in to their account. Be explicit about what they should do when using any new technology, showing them step by step.
How can I use technology to boost student engagement?
Giving students a choice in their topic or manner of studying will increase their motivation to stay focused, so Academic Choice is a great way to boost engagement and keep students on target. Because technology can offer so many options for research, make sure to predetermine what resources will be available to students. Whether they use online encyclopedias or websites you trust, providing students curated opportunities to search for a topic of their interest naturally promotes engaged learning.
Along with providing options for what students learn, you can use Academic Choice to offer students a say in how they learn as well. For example, give students the option to either use a physical textbook or access information via a website associated with the topic. Creating these opportunities to let students make their own choices in their learning can also increase their sense of autonomy, which positively impacts their engagement.
Where can I embed opportunities for students to develop social skills when using technology?
Promote student interaction, even when using technology, and students’ social skills will continue to flourish in your classroom. Many student-friendly websites and apps include a chat, comment, or reply feature. Before you give students the green light to interact with one another electronically, brainstorm thoughtful questions or comments that promote kindness, empathy, and an academic mindset.
Technology can also provide a great opportunity for collaborative work among your students, further developing their social skills. Without necessarily being in the same space, students can add, edit, or revise their group projects on shared documents or presentations. Remember to thoughtfully plan small-group learning, and consider assigning roles to students to be sure every student has the chance to contribute.
The field of education will always expand and grow, and the increase of technology in the classroom is the latest major change. Being equipped with strong, flexible teaching practices like Academic Choice, Interactive Modeling, and student grouping will help you adapt and evolve along the way!
To learn more about these practices, check out The Joyful Classroom and Building an Academic Community.
Alyssa Brunner is a curriculum and instructional designer for Center for Responsive Schools. She has taught grades 1, 2, and 5 and is a certified Responsive Classroom educator.