Technology is everywhere, in all parts of life and in homes and communities. Many Schools and Colleges are either attempting to start or in the beginning stages of implementing technology into both teaching and learning. If technology is used the right way, it helps students acquire the life skills they need to survive in a technological based world.
Effectively using technology in the classroom
Integrating technology into classrooms is more than just teaching basic software programs and basic computer skills. Effectively integrating technology must support the ways that children learn, as based on research. The technology needs to enhance and deepen the process of learning. In order to effectively integrate technology into the classroom, the use of the technology also needs to support the curriculum. Technology should not replace teaching in an old-fashioned way, it should support this teaching in a visual, enlightening way that reinforces the main points.
Why incorporate projects with technology?
Allowing students to complete projects with the aid of technology is helpful. It allows students to encounter challenges, while giving them a realistic look at the world. Through technology based projects, students can acquire real world problem solving and analysis skills as they work to find, understand and put together the information they find online.
The amazing amount of resources found online provides the classroom with an abundance of learning materials. These materials are more current, diverse and interesting. Students are connected to the real world through technology, as it provides many opportunities through not only words, but sounds, images and text. As an internet source, YouTube is now commonly used in the classroom although it must be said that clips have to be checked before using them with a group!
Integrating technology into the classroom offers many positive aspects. It offers a way for teachers to meet the needs of different types of learners and assess students' comprehension through alternative means. It also allows students to take control of their own learning, making it more meaningful. Learning with technology makes school a lot more fun.
So, should my class use iPads?
In deciding whether an iPad is a good technological tool to integrate into your classroom teaching, I have attempted to summarise some of the positive and negative aspects of its use:
Positives about using the iPad in Education:
- It’s on quickly! It’s great to have a piece of technology that is usable instantly!!
- It’s very fast! Everything is so fluid and quick. (And BIG!) Better than any interaction with iPhone or iPod Touch.
- Reading books is outstanding! Many believe it is better than the Kindle?
- The battery life is incredible. You can you use it all day on a single charge.
- You don’t have to SAVE anything. If you simply hit the Home Button and come back later, it’s still there!
- There is nothing to learn. You just use it! You will find that most students 14+ can use it instantly and many younger still.
- The iPad’s inability to multi-task is a plus for students. They will learn to focus on the project at hand. Students can focus on the resources you have made - or downloaded from Help Me Teach!
- The sheer fact that it holds so much content and can do so much in such a small form. Amazing. Yes, even magical.
- Amazing Apps!
- You can teach with it! You can actually walk around teaching with the iPad in one arm while displaying notes, plans, grades, etc.
Negatives about using iPad in Education:
- The iPad can’t print. (Teachers need to print stuff.)
- The iPad Dock Connector means you cannot share a web page on the projector, or a book for that matter.
- More Educational Apps! (Build them and teachers will buy them). In an ideal world, apple would provide teachers with a template to build resources.
- No Textbooks Available on the iBooks Store.
- Teachers and students often need a camera. Student recognition, projects, capturing data, and more.
- The ability to work together with Interactive White Board (SmartBoards). Teachers love their SmartBoards.
- Easier ways to transfer documents. It is difficult to get documents onto and off of the iPad.
The use of technology in schools is going to increase over the coming years, so resistance is most probably futile. However, for now at least, you have a choice - do you want to embrace technology in the classroom or run away from it, screaming? Let us know in the comments, below.