Over the past couple of years I have been wondering how I can best create a physical environment within my classroom that is technology friendly.  I want my students to use the tools not only as vessels in which they can obtain data but are able to use them create and contribute.  It’s a difficult goal to reach but one that I am striving towards.  For this blog post I am going to explore different ways that I allow my students to use technology on a daily basis:

Weekly Talks:
            Each student in my class is given three minutes each week to talk about a specified topic.  As part of this routine they are to use visual aides to help the other students understand their talk.  Most students usually choose to include a PowerPoint.  While this may seem like a small and simple way to include technology, it has allowed me to give them honest feedback about their presentation style and use of the tool.

Field Trips:
            When we go on field trips I encourage my students to bring a camera or device that will allow them to record what they see.  This allows them to create interesting displays and helps them reflect on the activities that they participated in.

Computers:
            In my classroom I currently have 4 computers that are available to the students to use at any time.  This allows me to create differentiated classroom experiences for the students.  When I book out one of the laptop trolleys it means that I have one computer for every student in my classroom.  This is incredibly helpful when introducing the students to a new resource.

Google Apps:
            Currently my students are undergoing a Google Apps training seminar and learning how to use these applications to increase their productivity and improve collaboration.   In order to demonstrate that they know how to use the tools, the students will be working together to research and produce their own digital citizenship code of ethics.

SmartBoard:
            Usually when I introduce a new concept or idea I turn to the SmartBoard that I have in my classroom.  The students love participating in SmartBoard lessons and coming up to the board and working on the examples that are provided.

BrainPop:
            We recently got a subscription to BrainPop.  The students enjoy the videos and participating in the activities afterwards.  As a class we usually watch the video once without commenting.  On our second viewing I have a student at the computer and anytime there is an important point and have a class discussion.

My use of technology and the continual integration of it into my everyday practice is one that I know cannot happen overnight and requires patience.  I have experienced both success and failures.  I have had to modify what I thought were fantastic ideas.  However, I preserve to find new ways for my students to use technology because I with the changes that I’ve already made, I can see the benefits in their engagement and learning.  It has been a rollercoaster so far and one that I am enjoying immensely.

Credits

Google Apps for Education Overview by John R. Sowaah, found on YouTube 
11/4/2012 11:28:25 pm

Cool! I think the "smallest" innovations are actually the most meaningful, the ones that change your daily routine and allow students to experience new ways of learning on a regular basis always end up having more impact than a big "one-off" project. Great to see tons of new ideas in action in your classroom :)

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    Brendan is an international school teacher.  He currently teaches grade 4 at Busan International Foreign School.

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