In today’s world, it’s almost criminal not to take advantage of all that technology and the internet have to offer teachers and students. When you use technology to teach, you’re speaking a language your students inherently understand. Many students will be more apt to participate in lessons by the sheer fact that it takes place in the online sphere and/or on a device that they’re used to using for fun and leisure. Here are some ways to give your lessons some extra power through technology.
Bring the world to your class
Technology, specifically the internet, has shrunk the world. It’s now easier than ever to travel to faraway lands and interact with people of different cultures without ever leaving the classroom. One option teachers have is to take their students on virtual field trips. Your class may only be able to go on one or two physical field trips per year, but with the internet kids can experience dozens of places from their desks. There are many sources that you can use to let kids explore museums, natural landmarks, historic sites, and even the wonders of outer space. All you need is an internet connection and a projector.
Various video chat and teleconference services also allow kids to talk to people from all walks of life. You can use video chat to set up class-to-class meetings with kids in other countries or schedule guest speakers from whatever fields of study you’re currently teaching.
iPads in the classroom
Tablets are one of the best ways to bring technology into your classroom. With iPads, students can play educational games, study with interactive textbooks, and watch informative videos on YouTube. If iPads for your classroom are part of your school budget, then you’re lucky. But even one or two iPads per class can be beneficial.
Use blogging and social media as a lesson enhancer
Sure, social media may be seen as a distraction to learning, but you can actually use it to your advantage.
“Ever have your students write a diary from the perspective of a character or famous person? Why not have them create a blog instead? Take a look at various blog sites and create a template for your students to fill in. Want students to summarize information? Ask them to tweet the lesson – that is, have them write summaries of 140 characters or less, as if they were writing on Twitter,” suggests TeachHub.com.
One great way to teach a lesson is to frame it around social media. What Facebook status updates would X book character be posting? Who would “like” those posts and what comments would other characters make? It may sound hokey at times, but it’s something that today’s youth can really relate to.
The continuing lesson
When it comes to continuing your students’ education when they’re at home, you should get creative and use the internet to your advantage. There are various sites that allow teachers to build homework into an online framework, allowing teachers to have at-home access to students’ progress and provide real-time or at least quicker responses to any questions they may have.
Educators should never see technology as a fad or distraction in the educational world. The opportunities provided by tech and the internet cannot be ignored. Students now have access to more information, on-demand, than ever before, and it can help them learn how to apply it to real-life scenarios. You must find creative ways to bring them that available info in ways they can relate to. This is why you must embrace things like social media, YouTube, and podcasts, and become comfortable with the fact that just because your student is buried in a screen, it doesn’t mean they’re not learning.
Lawrence Mager believes exercising the brain is just as important as exercising the body. He enjoys writing about mental fitness games, puzzles, and other resources. He created ReadyBrain.net to help give people the mental workout they need to have a healthy brain.
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