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Know WHEN to use Technology in the Classroom

Orianne is a Canadian teacher who is preparing to move to the UK with a classmate to teach through Protocol Education in Bristol. Today she talks about technology in the classroom - and when to use it effectively.

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Don't use Technology for The Sake of It

Coming out of University, I had an amazing profressfor who summed up how technology is best used.  His message:  Don’t use technology for technology’s sake (technolust); Use it when it enhances the educational experience of your students in your lesson.

Not all schools have a lot of technology available, but many are jumping onto the bandwagon of the newest techno trends. However, they are too often used simply for the sake of using them, and not to enhance students’ experience.  If all you’re going to do is show slides of triangles with marked angles, you might as well use the chalk board – it’s easier on students’ eyes.  So how do we make technology effective?  Here are some strategies that have worked for me:

Visuals – We teach about some things so far from student experience they may never see them, and here images and footage are invaluable!  When teaching a unit on trees, I made a SMART Board presentation on trees in other countries, where students could come up to the Board, press the image they found intriguing, and it would bring them to a “Fun Fact” page about that tree with all sorts of images.  The Baobab was a big hit!  But to explore local trees, we shut off the SMART Board and shut off the lights, and headed outside!  The interactive experience with real trees (not to mention fresh air and exercise) is an experience irreplaceable by technology.

Daily Physical Activity – Let’s face it, sometimes our kids get wired, and we can’t keep their attention for anything!  If you know you’re going to supply on a Friday, or if you are preparing your class for the first day back after a holiday, the SMART Board, or even a CD player, can be integrated seamlessly into your lesson to get kids burning off some steam while still learning.  Studying music?  Play a lively music track and have the students stand in a circle linking hands, and trying to step through a hula-hoop before the music stops. 

Make Old Stuff Engaging – Liven up a Shakespeare lesson by having students film a scene with a camera, snap some tableau shots, or use garage band to rap out the beat of the dialogue with some cool sound effects! 

Interactive Practice - Some things aren’t always easy to explore hands-on without a budget.  For this, there are hundreds of websites out there to help you!  One of my favourites is an activity that can be done in class or at home when studying pulleys and gears, either on a SMART Board with the students in teams, a computer for students individually, or an iPad.  All you need is Internet access!

Try it!

Another great website to use for music, art, or to kill time when you are desperate for ideas, is incredibox. Students can layer different harmonies to create fun and original songs.  Great to do in groups, and appropriate for all age levels!

More blogs about technology in the classroom:

Why Technology Is Your Friend, Not Your Foe

Harnessing the Power of Computer Games to Teach

Online Learning and Supply Teaching


Tags: Orianne, Canadian trained, Teaching jobs in Bristol, Teaching jobs in UK, Protocol Education, Primary teacher, Technology

Category: Australian Teachers

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