There are many types of technology that can be used in the K-12 classroom today. Our future classroom has become the present. Many items you might have heard about or seen, but not used. Maybe others are new and you haven’t even heard of them yet. We will review a few great technology options that can be utilized to create a whole new learning environment for our 21st century learners!
o Electronic whiteboards are becoming more commonplace in many classrooms around the country. These interactive whiteboards basically consist of a board that usually mounted on a wall over your existing chalkboard or whiteboard. This board is connected to a computer, which is also connected to a projector that will display a screen onto the board. You are now able to pull-up websites, teach interactive lessons and games with lessons created for the device, and it will still be available to use as a traditional whiteboard, with the additional capability to save your work, so you don’t have to rewrite the day before’s material again – just pull it up! There are so many features to the electronic whiteboard, it is nearly impossible to keep up as the technology increases.
o Accessories to the electronic whiteboard could include wireless interactive response systems or a wireless slate or keyboard. The interactive response systems are great for gathering data about what your students know before a lesson (preassessment) and after you have taught it (postassessment). They are basically a small remote control that will tell the class anonymously what they have learned, but is also able to print out a detailed report of each child’s knowledge after class is over. This could be extremely beneficial in tracking each individual student’s progress.
o MP3 players are everywhere now. Most students of any grade have one or more. They are pretty much considered mainstream and if you have never used one in your classroom, it is time to come into the now. Find a simple to use mp3 player, a speaker system to hook it up, and add classroom appropriate music to it. I have math rap songs for instructional means, fun upbeat songs for celebration, and slow rhythmic music for testing or quiet sessions. Not only will students think you are cool, but the auditory learners will start to perk up with the addition of song into the curriculum on a daily basis.
These are just a few types of technology used for the classroom, with many more to be discussed in subsequent articles. For now, get those technology brain cells working and realize we must address the needs of tomorrow’s learners because tomorrow is already here today.