Integrating Technology in the Classroom:
Without a doubt technology and computers play a major role in the everyday lives of Americans. Studies have shown that people spend more time on their computers than the do communicating with each other. Any businessperson would justify that communication skills are crucial for surviving in a professional career. Since people are so wrapped up in technology, it has been said that technology is destroying jobs; consequently, causing Americans to lose job offers to other people overseas. Clearly technology seems to be an issue, but how do we solve this distraction? We incorporate it into the classroom of course!
Educational Apps for Both Class and Home Use
- Elmo Loves 123s (Ages 5 and under)- Helps children learn numbers 1 through 20 as well as complete simple addition and subtraction problems and tracing numbers.
- The Magic School Bus: Oceans by Scholastic (Ages 6-8)- An interactive storybook that teaches children science through pictures, game and videos. This one has won several notable awards and received a 4 star rating from USA Today.
- Stack the States (Ages 9-11)- Helps students learn geography (the state capitals, shapes and abbreviations) by attempting to stack the cartoon states on top of one another to reach the finish line. For only $1.99 this app is packed with fun, including 4 mini games.
- The Everything Machine (Middle School-High School)- With the push to get students thinking and connecting concepts, this app is a game changer. Students have digital carte blanche to invent, build and create any machine they can imagine. It even gives a warm and fuzzy intro to circuitry!
- MyHomework (Middle School-High School)- School discounts are available for this revolutionary app that eliminates all homework excuses. Keep teacher-student communication flowing with automatic school announcements, date reminders, file posting and tracking of assignments, projects and tests.
- Word Monster (Ages 5-8)- Helps students with their alphabet and phonics through the use of rhyming, word families and puzzles. It’s the perfect app for short bits of time that can be filled with a quick word challenge.
- A+ Spelling Test Free (Ages 6-8)- Students can create customized spelling tests in preparation for their actual test. There is also a word scramble, auditory, and tactile skills to work with the words.
- Duolingo (Ages 6+)- A series of flash lessons that make it easy for anyone to learn a second language. This app offers a great variety for practicing different skills with pictures, multiple choice and listening.
- NASA App HD (Ages 7+)- The official NASA app that allows people to view over 150,000 videos and images of outer space while learning about their favorite planets. This app will teach students about NASA missions while fostering an interest in astronomy.
- Mathmateer Free (Ages 9-11)- Allows kids to practice their math skills by completing missions that deal with numbers, telling time, U.S. money and 3D shapes. The game is very user friendly and has been known to bring smiles to students that a usually allergic to math.
Benefits of Using Technology in the Classroom:
- We Live in a Digital World - Everyday jobs are being updated with new technological advances. If children grow up with technology in the classroom, they will learn how to use technology on a daily basis and it will become second nature to them.
- Technology = Communication- School can be a hectic and busy time where assignments can fall through the cracks, lessons missed and overall confusion of juggling so many different tasks. With the convenience of technology teachers and parents are able to communicate via email, so that no one’s personal time is being interrupted. Remember the days of phone trees where the room parent would call a couple people and then those parents would call a couple more people. Now that ridiculous hassle is eliminated when the entire class receives a simultaneous text. Inside the classroom, coworkers can communicate via mobile devises instead of running around the building and interrupting entire classes. School-wide communications make it clear as to who has been told what and who is the point person.
- Technology Provides Instant Access to Information- It is impossible for anyone to know everything about a subject regardless of how many years they researched that subject. Technology, the Internet in particular, can provide a useful tool for teachers. Suppose a student asks a question the teacher is unsure of, he or she can easily look up the question and receive an answer in a matter of seconds. The key isn’t knowing everything, it’s being able to find the answers you need.
- Technology Speeds Up Tedious Tasks- As technology becomes more efficient, teachers lives become a little easier respectively. Blackboards are vastly becoming extinct to the superior Smart Board. When teaching a lesson, teachers no longer have to manually handwrite each lesson on the board. Being that most people type faster than they write, teachers can type their lesson prior to the class and pull it up on the Smart Board in a fraction of the time.
- Cheaper than Textbooks- A number one issue people have with conventional learning is the price of textbooks. Schools have a strict budget they must abide by and cannot always afford new textbooks each year. The world is always changing. With the incorporation of technology teachers can forward copies of textbook and even teach without a textbook if they choose to do so.
- Technology is Portable- When I was growing up, the only time technology was in use while learning was when we had our weekly computer class. Now with the popularity of portable handheld devices, technology can be easily incorporated into every classroom and accessed on the go.
Tech Accessories for the Classroom:
If you are fortunate enough to live or work in a school district that has funding for iPads, Chromebooks and other tech hardware, there are some accessories that are especially helpful in the classroom.
- Stylus Pens - If you use touch screen devices in the classroom, the sensitive stylus tip will help students struggling with navigation accuracy. It is also a bonus for keep screens clean, and germy fingers off the device.
- Ear Buds with a Case – when students are listening to apps or educational digital media it’s most sanitary that they have their own ear buds or headsets. To protect ear buds from damage and tangling, keep them in a protective case. The case can also be used for storing flash drives and spare cords.
- Cord Clamps – Self-adhesive cord clips are the perfect way to organize cords and plugs in the classroom.