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Why Should We Use Technology in the Classrooms?
Whether you are a first-year teacher or veteran who is new to the idea of using technology in the classroom, remember … the future can be a part of your every day curriculum. This session will provide you with ideas you can use to assess where you are in the technology realm and begin to plan for the future.
Using technology simply means using computers to help the children adapt and transform in order to cognitively expand within and beyond the curriculum. Technology should not supplant what you teach, but enhance. It should become a tool -- just like a calculator, a pen, or a chalkboard -- that helps you teach and helps your students learn. It's that simple. And when you are not sure of something “Google” will help you find what you need and “Youtube” can show you how. There are also many free online classes you can take to “upgrade” your knowledge through your district and technology support. If your district doesn’t offer anything or you are too busy to go to a classroom, try
Student skills and our own attitudes: What can students already do with computers and what's their attitude toward technology? Do students have computers and Internet access at home? Chances are they love them and yes, they have Internet access at home. If not, then your computer station is here for the asking (snack, morning or afternoon) … just add headphones for privacy!
Investigate Teacher skills and attitudes: What can you do on a computer and how do you feel about using computers in the classroom? Take a moment to write your thoughts and share them … go ahead and talk with your friends and take a few notes.
How M uch : How much computer time can you and your students get each week? Do you have classroom computers or lab access only? Do you have both? How much lab time is available? How many computers? Go ahead, write it down. Then ask yourself, where does it work for myself and the children best?
P ossibilities: What is possible? What kinds of hardware, software, and training are available? Are your computers reliable? Do you have a backup plan? Is the available software education software such as math drills or productivity software like a word processing program? What types of free or paid training are available through the school or community? What types of free programs are there for you and the kids to use?
Ulster County Community College Continuing & Professional Education Online Instruction Center UCBOCES Moodle My Learning Plan moodle.com for everyone
Simp L e: Learn What’s on the Desktop? Take inventory of what you do have.
Now, look to see what applications are on the desktop for you to use or what is listed in your school’s program folder. What do you use and how do you use it? Let’s share what we already do and what we want to do.
Simpl E: E xperiment with Favorite Sites Online
Photo Story 3 - Microsoft Photo Story 3 for Windows: make show-n-tell cool again
Blabberize - Blabberize.com! - Got a picture? Blabberize it!
Picasa 2 - Picasa 2 - Google Search
Webkinz - Welcome to Webkinz® - a Ganz website
Legos LEGO.com Play : Downloads
LEGO Digital Designer : Download
Pbwiki - theflicksterflyer.pbwiki.com
Note: use this for absences
Math Sites - Cool math 4 kids - math games, math puzzles, math lessons - designed for kids and fun!
If you are implementing a unit on "Fish," for example, you might use the KID PIX program with very young children to construct a story through pictures and labels that can be narrated in the child's own voice by recording through the computer's microphone. The same can be done with Photo Story 3. These 2 programs provide an excellent medium for children to write and record an individual or a group report or story using stock photos or photos from school or home.
Take a moment to pencil in your thoughts on each of these SIMPLE points. The better you understand what you believe, what you have and how to use it, the better you'll know what you need to do to jump-start technology use in your class.
Don't let any negative or weak areas hold you back. Make an honest evaluation of what you have to work with. Even if you are a beginner with a single computer in your classroom, few training opportunities, and students with no home computers, you can integrate technology into your classroom.
Start small: Set an initial goal of including technology in one content area or unit a month. Have students write a letter with a word processing program, create a graph in a spreadsheet program, or practice math skills using content software/
Find Ideas: Internet4Classrooms - Helping Teachers Use the Internet Effectively
First and foremost it is important to teach safety side by side with the use of the computer and the Internet. I have used many sites but my favorite is http://ikeepsafe.org/ . I use it all year with my fourth graders. They have added http://www.woogiworld.com/ to help teach how to “chat” and play online with morals and values.
One Example: Why Integrate Technology in Writing
An Example Of Computer Use In Integrated Curricula
When exploration of a concept encourages students to write letters, stories, poems, or reports, while using a word processor it also allows children to compose, revise, add, and remove text without being distracted by the fine motor aspects and tedium of forming letters. Research demonstrates that children who write on word processors compose longer and more complex stories, are less worried about mistakes, and are more willing to revise (Clements & Nastasi, 1993; Feeley et al., 1987).
Psst … Now, ask me about our recent assignment for writing a persuasive paper … the experience was even better!
Examples of Using Technology within the Curriculum
Smartboard: http://education.smarttech.com/ste/en -us/ and http://www.rondout.k12.ny.us/cms/One.aspx?portalId=719450&pageId=3042878
First, a two minute training: http://smarttech.com/trainingcenter/tutorials.asp
The Senteo interactive response system is an assessment tool designed to enhance learning in any subject. The system provides a connection between students and teachers that allows teachers to quiz and poll students at any time about any given subject, and to receive their responses instantly. Programs can be used free from the Smarttech site, made by the teacher or purchased as site licenses.
Don’t worry, hand the kids the camera and they will know what to do. Here are a few examples from my classroom:
Or show a few “How To” videos:
For Older Children:
Or, you could start with just the basics:
Video or “Flip” Cameras: The ideas are endless when you bring the video camera into the classroom. They can be used to archive important lessons only to be reviewed for that important test to posting lessons missed by absent students on the class website. It helps working parents keep in touch and involved by recording presentations to burn onto a disk or post once again. Have the kids brainstorm on paper a “how to” project, write a script, revise/edit, then type a published copy only to turn around and make a recording. There are endless opportunities here for in-depth learning. Check out this page http://blogs.vusd.org/Flip/?p=61 or watch this Youtube video on how to use one at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AxAIAqM5TVk .
In my class, either the child brings their own or they use one assigned to their table. This zip drive stays as school and at the end of the year they can take it home having a copy of all their digital work.
This is the “hub” of my classroom where everything is stored for both the parents and students. It is interactive where parents visit and children create. Anyone can have as many “pbworks” as they want and you can choose whether it is a private site or a public one. So, Let’s explore:
Younger “surfing students” will misspell site addresses and become distracted by commercial sites. Focus class research by hand-picking relevant, age-appropriate Web sites. You can assign a monitor or set up the rules before you use the computer station. You can also place the links in student folders on the CPU unit. For help, check out 42eXplore or the Education World site reviews .
Learn how to use WebQuests, scavenger hunts, and other online learning tools -- and how to make your own -- at Ed Index . (Click Online Learning Basics on the drop-down menu.)
The children will have the world in their hands!
How about Taking Tests at the Computer Station?
Save instructional time and motivate your kids by creating, administering, and grading tests online. Check out the Education World article Motivate While You Integrate Technology: Online Assessment for more information. Again, have them go to take their test found on the computer. Place it right on the desktop! You can have them print it or save for you to look at them later. Think of the paper you’ll save.
Manage with technology: Use technology to manage your classes. Average grades with a spreadsheet, use mail merge to send parent letters, and surf the Internet for lesson plans. Focus on using technology yourself before introducing it to your students.
Remember These Important Tips and Ideas for Using the Computers
No matter what you know -- or don't know -- about technology, no matter how many computers you have, no matter how skilled your students are, you can integrate technology. Remain confident, flexible, and enthusiastic and you will succeed. Remember, we all have to start somewhere.