With all the new and exciting choices that exist for school classrooms, it can be difficult to decide exactly what to purchase. The educational technology market is huge, encompassing everything from iPads to IWBs. And the technology can often feel complicated and overwhelming. After 19 years of working as an educational technology specialist, I completely understand why many find technology challenging. To help you evaluate technology and set your school up for success, follow these eight tips:
Technology can be a great tool for reinforcing and therefore promoting positive student behavior in the classroom. Students who can use technology to track their behavior in the classroom have shown increases in positive behaviors and decreases in negative behaviors and their consequences.
Why does tracking reinforce positive behavior?
There are a few reasons why these tracking and monitoring strategies are effective. First, the social skills of students are still developing, so they may not immediately recognize negative behaviors. Students may benefit from simply being made aware that unwanted behavior is occurring. Second, the evaluation portion of the process gives students concrete feedback about particular unwanted behaviors, which helps them learn to keep them in check. Instead of feeling unable to control or impact the behaviors, students develop a greater sense of control.
The Bulb Problem
As almost every teacher knows, nothing is more irritating than having a projector bulb blow right in the middle of a lesson. Before you can get back to teaching, you have to find someone to get a replacement bulb (and hope there is one in the storeroom), and perhaps unmount the projector in order to replace the bulb. At that point, it often becomes clear that the students don’t remember what you were teaching, let alone what they were supposed to learn.
Building a T4PD Community, Part 2
Last week’s blog, “Building a T4PD Community: Part 1,” described a new strategy for professional development that has helped one school transform into a 21st century learning center. Working one-on-one or in small groups, teachers come together to share their expertise in a supportive environment. This week, learn how you can institute the T4PD model in your school.
Getting Started with T4PD
Building a T4PD technology integration model in your school is easy – but it does take time. For two years our staff has been working to transform our classrooms with instructional technology, and we still have a ways to go to achieve full implementation.
Within the T4PD model, each member of the staff assumes one or more of the roles described below. While the process appears to result in a hierarchy, the foundation is based on a community of teachers assisting one another in a casual setting for the better implementation of instructional technology. Furthermore, teachers who take part in a T4PD model may actually fill several roles as the process continues and their ability to use technology in the classroom grows.
The classroom library is an important space for students – it’s a quiet and comfortable spot where they can read what they want. While there’s nothing wrong with a technology-free classroom library, there’s much to gain from bringing some of these interactive tools into the area, including:
- Student motivation
- Student accountability
- Better organization
All of these things benefit both you and your students: they’re more excited to read, and you know exactly what they’re reading. To make your classroom library more interactive, try the following three steps.
Interactive whiteboards and their software shouldn’t be classroom tools you forget
With all the new technology surrounding us, we tend to forget how many exciting ways we can use our interactive whiteboards with students. Most (if not all) interactive whiteboards come with software that offers a variety of tools for both teachers and students.
My History Classroom, “Redefined”
Throughout my teaching career in a semi-urban district outside of Cleveland, Ohio, I have tried to inspire my students to achieve more by bringing my knowledge and passion for Social Studies into my classroom. However, as many of you have probably noticed, history is a topic that simply does not grab 21st century learners. Today’s students are accustomed to working with mobile devices, glancing at quick headlines, doing Internet-only research for projects, watching short YouTube videos, and reading and composing social media buzz. When today’s tech-savvy students are presented with traditional textbooks, worksheets, and magazines that are older than they are, they quickly become disengaged learners. It’s for this reason that several years ago I began a personal quest to “redefine” my instructional strategies, methods, and materials for the 21st century. The end result is my highly successful paperless classroom!
Learn How a Few Simple Steps Can Encourage Collaboration in Your Classroom
We often forget how much the physical classroom and its tools can shape what we do and how we do it. We “fail to notice the ways in which space constrains or enhances what we intend to accomplish.”* While the word “makeover” may sound like a dramatic transformation, it only takes a few small changes to make our classroom spaces much more collaborative. Those small changes can be very impactful to learning. Here are just a few ways you can give your classroom a “collaborative makeover.”
Remember these key things when assessing and reassessing technology changes in your school
Before you spend precious budget dollars on new equipment, it’s important to take the time to answer some critical questions. You don’t want to see the equipment sitting in a corner unused because teachers aren’t comfortable using it, or aren’t able to use it effectively to engage students. There are many different facets to examine when choosing new or different classroom technologies. When we implemented a pilot program at Donald McKay School with Mimio, we started by asking ourselves the following key questions:
Topics: Classroom Technology
NEW MimioProjector Superhero Joins Forces with the League
Our team of Mimio interactive displays has super powers that can rescue a classroom from any educational archenemy! No matter what your foe may be – a budget that’s too small, bored students, or students who are reluctant to collaborate – the League of Interactivity will send the best superhero to the rescue. Now we are introducing our newest member!