Saturday, February 2, 2013

Technology in the Classroom- Ways to Make it Your's

Due to the ever increasing world of technology teachers are able to incorporate many new teaching tools and learning devices in their classrooms.  Education has moved beyond simple computers and laptops to smart boards, Ipads, podcasts, and many other useful technologies to make learning more interactive and up and coming!  But before a teacher can implement these new tools, he or she must make administration and sometimes legislation aware of the usefulness and opportunities of them.

One method for choosing new technologies for use in a school or classroom is the ASSURE method, discussed in the text Instructional Technology and Media for Learning, written by Sharon Smaldino.  ASSURE is an acronym to help teachers decide on whether or not a technology is right for them or their classroom.  It stands for: Analyze learners; State standards and objectives; Select strategies, technology, media and materials; Utilize technology, media, and materials; Require learner participation; Evaluate and revise.  With these six steps, any teacher can make an educated decision about a certain piece of technology.

Also important to helping teachers choose technology is the higher levels of thinking in Bloom's Taxonomy.  For example, as teachers strive to get students to tap into their higher level thinking skills, such as analyzing, evaluating and creating, students can use technology to do so.  A great example from an online textbook discusses a teacher asking students to plan a trip to Italy and maintain a budget.  There are plenty of online resources, calculating devices, and budget tools that a student could utilize in the project, then later educate their class about.  The goal of every teacher should be moving ahead and higher up on Bloom's Taxonomy, and by utilizing technology to do a project, rather than just having students research technology and talk about what makes it useful, teachers are able to help students achieve those higher levels of thinking!

Finally, there are now technologies that can connect students globally, providing a way for students to learn about the rest of the world and share their ideas without barriers.  Such technologies include, but are by no means limited to, wikis, blogs and podcasts.  Students can complete entire projects by communicating with a student on the other side of the world simply by having access to the Internet.  Teachers should definitely consider ways to integrate subjects, and what better way than to provide links to social studies, technology, perhaps English, and many others through the resources the Internet provides in connecting people globally.  Choosing the right media for these types of projects can be left up to students, or can be decided upon by the teacher following the ASSURE method.

With all the new technology out there, I definitely will strive to provide my students with an experience they will never forget utilizing tools they hopefully will store and use again in the future.  I also hope to tap into higher thinking levels, not just play a game of memory every day.  I want my students learning, using tools that were developed to help them, and encourage them to explore on their own and teach me about new technology as well!

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