Technology in the Classroom

With new technologies arriving on the scene constantly, it can be hard for teachers to keep up. Which devices will improve the learning environment in your classroom? Which will gather dust? Here are some basic guidelines to help you decide on the role of technology in your elementary classroom:

Use technology purposefully.

Just because a technology is available or in vogue doesn’t mean you have to use it. As with any resource, make sure the technology will enhance your efforts to strengthen the classroom community and make learning active, interactive, and child-centered.

Decide which tools students can use on their own.

Make sure anything students shouldn’t handle on their own is safely tucked away. Which tools those are will depend on the grade you teach, the maturity of your students, and the technology in question. Remember that children may be just capable enough with a technology to get themselves into trouble. (“Mr. A.! I know I did everything right, but now the camera won’t turn on!”)

Monitor technology use.

Supervise students’ use of technology, including the Internet. Know your school’s policy on what is considered appropriate use, teach it to your students, and stay vigilant. When you’re working with small groups or individuals in an area of the classroom away from the computers, consider restricting computer use to non-Internet activities.

Ask for help.

If you’re uncomfortable using technological resources, ask for help from a colleague or parent. Education World also has many articles about using technology in the classroom.

Practical, “use-it-tomorrow” tips drawn from our books in the What Every Teacher Needs to Know series!, What Every Second Grade Teacher Needs to Know, by Margaret Berry Wilson, and What Every Fourth Grade Teacher Needs to Know, by Mike Anderson.

Tags: Math, Science, Special Areas

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