Professional development for teachers: Using Technology in the Classroom
Technology has literally taken over every industry in the world including education. Today, many schools are using technology in the classroom and it has been found to be the best learning tool for pupils or students. With classroom technology, teachers or educators can get more pupils or students engaged, increase collaboration and make the learning process fun.
Good schools now have wireless networks and are taking advantages of the many benefits technology in the classroom offers to students and their teachers. There several ways in which technology can be integrated or utilised in the classroom to unlock these numerous benefits. Discussed below are some of the greatest ways to use technology to enrich learning.
- Playing Educational Games
All children love playing games. One of the best ways to use technology is to use mobile devices such as tablets and iPads to keep the pupils engaged in all kinds of educational games for the subjects they learn. The pupils will learn to compete healthily with each other and track their progress to advanced levels.
- Use of social media
The use of social media such as Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and others in the classroom is a controversial topic. Some schools actually ban the use of social media in schools. However, most students are in social media and access it when they are away from school. Use Twitter or Facebook to post a topic of any subject for discussion.
Get all the students involved and interacting with each other. This is the perfect way to have them share resources and help each other out. In this manner, weak students can get help from their stronger counterparts without directly asking for it. This also gives the teachers easy time when teaching the students. Besides social media, you can also exchange emails. For example, a teacher can ask his or her students to send their projects via the email.
- Streaming of video
Another great way of using technology in the classroom is through video streaming. A video presentation of a topic will stick more in the memory of the students than just words and writings. Video streaming can create a clearer and complete picture for the students. Teachers can find video clips to complement their lessons. This makes learning fun for the students and they are able to pick more.
- Use of Podcasts
Another way of using technology in the classroom is the use of podcasts to promote learning. Teachers can create and post podcasts for their students who wish to review or were absent during the lesson. This provides an opportunity for all the students to learn and master the subject areas because they can re-review the podcasts until they get the concept.
Parents too can take advantage and look for podcasts relevant to the subjects his or her child is studying or just story books to help them widen the spectrum of their spoken and written language. Podcasts can also enhance the memory of the students making their learning process much easier and more productive.
Teachers can have students post their work in particular school blogs. This allows the students to post all their completed hard work and those in progress. Other students can help out by posting comments, as well as suggestions. Since the students know their works will be read by the public, they are more likely to post only quality work.
An educationist can just give a particular assignment in any subject area from math, science, social studies and others. The teacher should then ask the students to post their worked answers in the special classroom blog. This means the teacher must have the technological know-how to create a simple and student-friendly blog.
- Use Collaborative Exercises
Using technology in the classroom can help build the spirit of collaboration among students. Teachers can get together small groups of students to use a single mobile device such as a tablet, a notebook or iPad and give them some task to perform via collaboration. This will force the students to brainstorm and work together to carry out the task as instructed.
This is especially good choice in schools with limited number of mobile devices with many students. The teacher should then pick one group and ask it to show the screen of their device. It is an effective way to build teamwork among these students and even leadership skills. The task should be one that requires collaboration to work out.
- Video conferencing
Another way of using technology in the classroom is through video conferencing. The availability of the internet has made it possible for students in different environments or countries share their knowledge and learn from each other through video conferencing. This technology allows students to travel the world from their classroom.
It enables students to speak with virtual guest lecturers and make friends with peers from other countries and interact with them. This way, students can benefit from what other students in other countries and even lecturers have to offer. Video conferencing can enhance the learning experience for the students because they find it fun.
- Use of Webquest
Webquests usually guide the students on how they can search the internet for specific information especially those involving extra curriculum activities. For instance, the students can be asked to act as curators for a museum. They will then need to search the internet to find information on the right artefacts to include in the museum and even explain why they made such choices.
This helps to sharpen the students' research skills and the use if the internet. There are many ready-use Webquests on the internet that the students can use to enable them start integrating online searches into their educational curriculum. Teachers may also create their own WebQuests after mastering the process of creating one.
Discussed above are the major ways of using technology in the classroom to enrich the learning process for students. There are many more ways to do this, but the first thing is to set up a wireless network to support the devices the students will use. A variety of internet enabled devices should be provided to enable the students know exactly how to use all of them. The teachers must also have technological expertise to make the process possible.