Exploiting technology in the classroom
07 Jun, 2016
Life in the 21st century has placed many pressures on the people that live in this era. Teachers, in particularly, are under a lot of pressure as the rapid pace of technological development in society burdens them with the task of being able to not only keep track of the new developments but also to learn about them and use them effectively in their teaching and learning. However, integrating technology in itself is not about waiting for the next big technological development to come around somehow solve the problem of technology integration. It is about the here and now of the available technology in your own classroom and school (Sutherland et al., 2009). Today, there is so much new educational technology available for teachers to choose from. Yet, if there is one thing that all teachers have in common – it is lack of time. If you are to look at the box this is what you will need. Time to search for them, time to learn about them, time to practice them, time to reflect and evaluate them. So where do you start?
What many teachers aren’t aware of is that they already possess the tools to effectively begin integrating technology in the classroom. Throughout the research that I do into the vast range of ICT pedagogical strategies that exists, I came across what I belief to be a fantastic way for any teacher to exploit their available technology. It is called the subject design initiative and started simply with a few teachers getting together and discovering powerful new ways of using the technology available in their classrooms. Here is what they did.
Step 1. Decide on a focused area of the curriculum that students usually find difficult to learn and choose ICT that could potentially enhance learning in this area;
Step 2. Think about the area to be taught, consider the relevant research, and develop the activities and experiment with the chosen ICTs. All this done while keeping in mind how students would engage with these activities from the point of view of the intended learning;
Step 3. Prepare the activities while at the same time using what the students bring to the lesson as a form of contingent teaching;
Step 4. Reflect on and analyse the whole process and experiment.
If there is one thing this process taught me is that teachers can become change agents today or tomorrow if they desired. To integrate technology means to even choose one particular software that might know or use a lot yourself, spend time playing and experimenting with it and discover what features of it can help students in your classroom overcome learning difficulties. In the end, it will help you as a teacher become aware of the potential of particular ICTs with respect to learning outcomes. So start integrating technology tomorrow!
Director/Professional development for teachers presenter