Choosing the Right Technology in the Classroom

Teaching Strategies

By Michael Hilkemeijer

Technology here and technology there – today, there are so many choices for teachers to choose from. However, it does not have to be this hard. Research tells us that when it comes to integrating technology in the classroom, it is a matter of exploiting our own sense of familiarity with technologies that is common among young people. It also highlights that this process is all about exploiting the here and now of the available technologies in the classroom and not be concerned with looking for the next big technological development to solve your problem of integrating technology in your teaching and learning. Integrating technology in the classroom is not a straightforward process. So let me explain this to you in a way that is practical and immediately actionable.

One of the most important notes to remember when deciding to use technology in the classroom is that just by exposing your students to technology will not enable them to completely develop their ICT capability. As a common misconception amongst many educators, this has had negative implications on the learning of students. Providing a laptop or iPad or desktop computer to students to use by themselves is therefore not an ideal environment for learning. They need structure, stimulation and scaffolding for effective learning in ICT capability and not ICT skills. As a teacher, you require effective teaching strategies in order for you to increase the chances of enhanced learning.

What ICT tools and resources should you use in the classroom?

A common question asked by many teachers, the choice of technology in the classroom varies on a teacher’s plans and purpose for it. For example, you first need to decide whether you just want the students to use it in order to support subject learning, to develop their ICT capability or both. In my opinion, the best option is both because this is entirely possible and it is the ultimate aim of using it in the classroom. To remain completely transparent in the background whilst supporting the subject. On the other hand, you may just wish to use it support to support subject learning such as literacy and numeracy, but I will discuss pros and cons of this later.

The reason why I believe teachers should choose the third option is to do with the following circumstances. ICT capability is amongst the seven 21st century skills or general capabilities in the Australian Curriculum. It also has a strong emphasis in the UK ICT Curriculum. However, my expertise only allows me to discuss that of the Australian Curriculum. As a general capability it is embedded throughout all Learning Areas especially Technologies (Digital Technology and D & T). In this instance, I mainly am speaking about other subject areas and the integration of technology throughout them. Choosing the right ICT tools and resources should then have a lot to do with your intentions as a teacher to meet the curriculum requirements.

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