Teachers have enough policies to conform with and standards to meet without worrying about implementing technology in their classrooms too. However, it is becoming common knowledge that using technology as an educational tool is massively effective, and it is becoming common practice for teachers to use certain technological devices within their classrooms.
For those who are still wondering how they will make the best use of technology in the classroom, here are five basic tips to help those just getting started make the most of these new opportunities:
Research the best products for certain age groups; using a tool which is too advanced for a particular class will cause children to become distracted or confused, and using a device which is too basic might result in the class feeling like they have not learned anything.
Primary school children and younger pupils react well to touch-screen technology like iPads and other tablets, whilst older students have a better command of computers, online software, interactive whiteboards and electronic pens.
2. No Distractions
Don’t use technology to distract students, use it to help them to engage with learning materials more effectively. Rather than putting a video on an interactive whiteboard and expecting children to be engaged for the entire duration of the video, encourage them to actively participate by using technology in a more focused way. Stop, rewind, draw, add notes and note down dialogue as the video clip plays, requesting input and comments from students.
3. Learning Styles
Children learn in different ways; some of them pick up on visual cues, some learn better through listening, and some like to write down everything they hear so they can refer to it later. Technology allows children to learn the way they feel most comfortable; it can provide a mixture of different sensory experiences for them and enrich the learning experiences all round.
4. Monitor Effectiveness
Get feedback on the technology. Don’t just persevere with an iPad because the school has invested in it; if it isn’t working, revert to a different method. Use a smart pen, a whiteboard or give them an online task to complete and see how they respond to it.
5. Mix Old and New
Don’t revert entirely to technology; it is important to provide children with a mix of modern and traditional teaching methods. Technology was never intended to entirely take over the learning process, it is simply there to supplement it. Conduct the first half of a lesson in a traditional way, with children working in exercise books and looking at writing on a whiteboard, before setting them some more advanced work to carry out on the electronic devices available to them.