Educational Technology Tools for Teachers

Educational technology tools offer teachers a powerful way to engage students, help them find and connect with information, as well as demonstrate their learning. Today’s learners have been raised on technology, and the question today is not “if” they are using technology, but “how” and “why.”

Are students using educational technology tools for passive screen watching, or are they creating original content? Using the right tool to respond to student needs is critical. One key to using technology successfully is identifying the tools that are developmentally appropriate for one’s students.

It’s Elementary

Incorporating technology seamlessly and meaningfully into your elementary program is important for helping students who may not have regular access to technology. Consider the ordinary ways adults use technology to check the time, weather, directions, and messages. These are excellent places to start integrating technology in the classroom.

  • Interactive white board or tablet computer: With a SmartBoard, students can physically manipulate technology, which promotes engagement. No SmartBoard? No problem! Just use a tablet computer (such as an iPad) stationed by your Student Information Gatherer (SIG) a student responsible for telling the class about the time, the weather, and a fun fact for the day. And, if you use the Responsive Classroom Approach, this is a fun way to engage students in the daily, morning meeting.
  • Workstations: Another fun way to integrate technology in elementary grades is to use educational technology tools as stations. Instead of completing worksheets, send students on a technology scavenger hunt to information they need. Then, reward successful students with electronic
    badges like those found here.

In the Middle

By middle school, students have used technology in many ways and will likely feel comfortable creating original content with the technology they already use to watch videos and play games. A couple of ways to use technology with middle schoolers are:

  • Audio recordings: With a MacBook or a PC laptop, students can accesstechnology for writing nonfiction scripts by recording them in software like GarageBand or Audacity. They can then upload these recordings to make their own podcasts to share with an authentic audience.
  • Classroom management: Software like Google Classroom and Class Dojo are made to help you manage your classroom, and you can use videos or other interactive software to create a flipped classroom scenario, problem, or question where students come to class prepared to engage in discussions.

High School Engagement

Once students are in high school, they are likely fluent in the language of technology. At this point, you can share tools to transform how they use their devices and apps. When students are invited to bring in their own device (BYOD) so they can participate in classroom learning, participation grows. By using Google Cardboard and its accompanying apps, students are invited to learn in a whole new way, where they can use their mobile device to enter a virtual reality world. Or you can use programs like Socrative or Mentimeter to engage with even the most introverted students.

Teachers who practice flexibility in allowing and incorporating devices in the classroom can find that it strengthens relationships with students and prepares them for staying organized and aware of the integration of technology as they move into the adult world.

The George Washington University offers an online Master’s in Educational Technology Leadership program and graduate certificates designed to equip graduates with the knowledge to make a difference in the classroom. To learn more, request information or call 844-386-7323.

References:

http://www.digitaltrends.com/how-to/how-to-make-a-podcast/2/
http://www.nea.org/tools/56274.htm
https://teach.com/what/teachers-teach/the-responsive-classroom-approach/