Classrooms are changing rapidly in schools across America. More educators are teaching with technology every day.
Many districts are beginning to replace text books with technology. These changes are also occurring in a lot of our universities and colleges as well. Classrooms are constantly becoming more and more virtual. I know many people have written about using tech in classrooms and I also know there still exists a divide within classrooms on the use of technology in the classrooms.
In all fairness, both sides have their valid arguments. The fact of the matter is, we are teachers and we want to teach. We want to teach so our students can learn. After all, that is why we all became teachers in the first place. But, as we continue to make technological advances and improvements, and as technology becomes more common place in classrooms, we, the content experts, have to begin to accept that we are no longer the smartest in the room.
Yes, it’s true: I DO NOT know more about history than the internet. Trust me, that was no easy “Pride Pill” to swallow. But it’s true. I simply cannot consume, recall, and deliver the same amount of content that the internet can these days. So how do we begin to shift our mindset and understand this, so we can use the technology as extensions of ourselves as teachers?
I would like to offer some practical advice to my amazing peers out there who teach hard everyday to impact the lives of students. Let’s look at 3 thoughts that I believe can help not only change your view of integrating technology into your instruction, but allow you to impact more students and teach better at a time.
1. The use of technology allows students to work at their own pace because they can receive content when they are ready to learn it.
When you combine the power of The Grid Method with the power of technology used in instruction, you create an incredible opportunity to reach more students. Technology integrated in regular instruction allows students to continue to learn, while you help the students who need some extra time and help. Students can view a video with the content, read an article, do an assignment for practice, design a project, the list is unlimited.
The key piece that I want you to see is when you utilize tech in conjunction with the ideas of a mastery learning system, your students don’t have to stop learning. Technology allows you to keep teaching and students to continue to learning at their own pace, at the same time.
2. Use your voice or yourself to present the info to your students to access.
As I mentioned earlier, we are teachers and we love to teach, but technology allows us to let students continue learning without stopping the whole class to “teach.” Recording your voice over a set of notes, or doing an educational video, allows you to still control and present the content to your students, without stopping the entire class constantly. It’s really the best of both worlds!
3. Instant data and feedback, and assessment practice.
The use of technology is not only a key life skill in today’s world, but also in the assessment world for students and teachers. I teach in Ohio and we have fully online State assessments. Building online assessments using tools like Edcite, allows your students to be exposed to various types of questions and formats they will see on state tests, within their regular classroom assessments. A great thing that happens when you use online assessment tools is that you (and your students) have instant data on how they performed. This provides you with real-time feedback to adjust instruction.
Classrooms will change, students will change, tests will change, and laws will change. And we as teachers are the ones that need to deal with all these changes. I hope that you can see the use of technology as a positive part of teaching.
The last thing I want you to remember is this: While technology is an incredibly effective way to enhance your instruction, it should not replace you. A computer can never replace your passion for making students successful, and a tablet will never help your students feel loved and empowered to do something great. Only you can provide this piece of the equation.