New technology has a way of drawing students into learning in a way that's both efficient and effective—but it also can be a disruption from the norm in a classroom. One of the biggest fears of many teachers is that as they integrate technology into their lessons—especially hands-on technology like Tablet PCs or cell phones—the technology will become a distraction for students and teachers. But it doesn’t have to be that way! Here are five simple ways to keep your students on-task and your lessons on time as you integrate more and more technology into your lessons.
- Set some ground rules. Just like every other aspect of teaching, by giving your students clear expectations on technology use, you'll avoid distraction and keep your students on-task.
- Create a "Screens Down" Cue. Come up with a cue—whether it's a certain word or you ringing a bell—that means all students need to immediately stop what they're doing and put their screens facing down on their desks.
- Give students specific end goals. It's easy to wander with technology—so by giving your students specific, tangible goals or tasks—instead of just allowing them to fiddle with a particular program or app, you'll give them the tools they need to learn with that technology.
- Focus on teamwork. By structuring your lessons so that your students can work in teams to learn the content, they'll be able to coach each other through learning the technology and will be more likely to stay on task.
- Use technology that's easy to set up. The last thing you want to do is spend 30 minutes getting your technology booted while a classroom of students waits. So, look for technology that takes less than 5 minutes to boot up so you can get teaching fast. (Want ideas? An HP Pocket Whiteboard will allow you to make any surface interactive in seconds, and the HP Companion Projector is so small and portable (smaller than a coffee cup) that you can bring it anywhere and set it up in minutes.)
(Pssst! Educators, students and parents can get deep discounts on HP technology through HP Academy! Click here to learn how much you can save on the technology listed in this article and more.)
Question for you: How do you use technology to keep pace with the speed of learning in your classroom?