You’ve likely been reading about the importance of understanding and integrating technology into your classroom in an increasingly digital world, but trying to figure out how to integrate assistive technology in the classroom can be a daunting task. With so much new technology and so many constantly changing EdTech trends, it can be overwhelming trying to figure out where to start, especially for those who are less tech savvy. But do not fret! There are many benefits of technology in the classroom. And there just as many ways to integrate technology into your classroom with ease, such as:
A classroom page/group
Each of these are incredible, teacher-friendly (and budget-friendly) tools to begin the process of integrating technology into your classroom without losing your mind or breaking the bank!
1. Multimedia Presentations
One of the easiest ways of integrating technology in the classroom is through creating multimedia presentations. With so many different multimedia options, this is among the most teacher-friendly ways to boost student engagement without overwhelming yourself or your wallet! Get creative! Use PowerPoint to create and deliver engaging presentations, or have students use it to construct their own presentations to demonstrate their learning. Incorporate photos, music, video clips, and other attention-grabbing multimedia elements to make it a fun and exciting learning experience for students.
2. Digital Bulletin Board
You’re guaranteed to be juggling a mountainous amount of paperwork on any given day, with the paper cuts to prove it! Integrating technology into the classroom can be a great way to lessen that load and give your fingers time to heal. Create a digital bulletin board using a website like Padlet that can be shared with students, other staff members, and parents for sending up-to-date, paperless announcements. It’s a great way to keep all classroom information in one easily-accessible location, with no stacks of papers to keep track of.
*Alternatively, you can create a private group and/or page using social media to achieve the same results.
3. Email communication
With the popularity of smartphones today, most of us are now merely an email away. Even the least tech-savvy among us have a Gmail or iCloud email address that all of our phone contacts and other important information are synced to, making us more reachable than ever. Because email offers us the convenience of engaging with conversations on our own time and terms, it’s an ideal way for parents, students, and teachers who are juggling busy schedules to stay connected. Use email to send your syllabus and classroom expectations, classroom updates and announcements, as well as to check in with parents and students about student progress.
4. Blog/Wiki Posts
Creating blog and wiki posts can be another very effective way for teachers to integrate technology into your classroom. Wiki sites allow multiple users to edit pages, making them a great tool for group projects and peer collaboration. Start a classroom blog in which students can create individual blog pages around topics they are studying. Encourage teamwork and knowledge exchange by having them work together in pairs/groups to design Wiki pages to showcase their understanding of a topic!
If you are unfamiliar with webquests, they are inquiry-based learning activities centered around students researching answers to a provided inquiry. They can be a great way to encourage digital learning and also support differentiated instruction, as most of the information students use during a webquest is found through teacher-provided links, and students are allowed to work at their own pace individually or in pairs or groups to complete the webquest. You can create your own from scratch or find a template online and modify it to fit the themes or your lesson.
Benefits of Using Technology in the Classroom
When educators consider adding technology to their classroom, they typically weigh the benefits before doing so. Arguably the most important benefit is seeing increased engagement among students. The use of technology allows teachers to find unique and creative ways to instruct students in difficult subjects and keep them excited about their studies. Additionally, the integration of technology in the classroom has shown to also improve retention. For some students, the use of traditional teaching techniques doesn’t resonate with them. But when teachers apply a new approach through gamified learning or videos, students are more engaged and seem to recall more outside of the classroom.
Finally, teachers can certainly reap the benefits of technology in their classrooms as well. For most teachers, they find that they’re able to streamline grading and lesson planning by using smart tools online or apps. These tools are huge time savers for educators, and teachers who utilize them find they have more time to dedicate to their students and themselves.
Considerations After Integrating Technology to the Classroom
As with most things, when it comes to integrating technology into the classroom, the first step is the hardest. Be honest with yourself. Consider your interest level in introducing technology into your classroom, your technical knowledge and abilities, and your budget. Once you’ve decided how you want to start and what forms of technology you want to use in your classroom, you can begin the process of integrating them. Then continue researching EdTech, and create a professional development plan to keep building your knowledge of unique ways you can use technology in your classroom. Remember that choosing technology geared toward your classroom needs, as opposed to merely following trends, will make the process smoother and more rewarding for both you and your students!