Remember that first day you rolled your classroom iPad cart (or the lone Kindle Fire you checked out from the library) to the front of the class and all the students oohed and ahhed? And then they raced forward to claim their screens and happily followed your instructions to a T, grateful for the opportunity to utilize technology as a learning tool?
Of course, as the newness wears off, the excitement dulls a bit, and you find yourself spending more time making sure the kids stay focused on the task at hand instead of, say, going into the settings and changing the background art to a neon-colored rainbow. And before you know it, technology is becoming more of a hindrance than a help.
And no one wants that.
To keep this from happening in your classroom, we’ve put together this list of simple tricks that will take you back to the basics with technology, revitalizing its usefulness as a tool that fuels learning and drives results. Here are our ideas:
- Have a technology routine. Most teachers have systems and routines in place when it comes to class time, but often when technology goes out, the novelty of new apps or programs overtakes the routine and things get a bit disjointed. Instead, come up with a routine that keeps your kids focused on a specific digital tool on a regular basis (e.g., a specific reading tool every Monday at 11) so they are able to work consistently on a certain skill set using dedicated technology.
- Use technology to keep kids on-track. Choose digital tools that have the capability to track your students’ progress long-term so they are able to meet their goals. For example, SRA Reading Lab is a digital reading tool that will allow you to monitor, track and hone your reading lessons to fit each child’s capabilities.
- Remind kids of your expectations. Have a mini–refresher course on proper use of technology at least once a week so your kids always know your expectations. (Tip: Print out some fun posters, like these, and hang them on your bulletin board as a constant reminder.)
- Mix up your media. It’s easy to get into a rut with technology, but one of the best ways to keep kids on-track is to use a variety of media. For example, watch a video tutorial one day, use a standards-based digital tool the next and on the third, download an app and let the kids work independently.
- Stay up-to-date on digital tools. It’s so hard to know what’s out there and available for classroom use. We suggest following a few of your favorite publishers or ed tech bloggers on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest (try starting with McGraw-Hill Education, Purely Paperless and Fun Educational Apps), and you’ll always be in-the-know when new technology emerges.
This blog series is sponsored by McGraw-Hill Education. Visit blog.mheonline.com for educational ideas, information and free resources to inspire learning every day!