Using technology in the classroom used to entail putting a filmstrip on or using the overhead projector to enhance the daily lesson. Today, there are a wide variety of ways to involve students and increase retention. Not only do students love the interaction, but teachers and parents are also intrigued by how much more there is to a typical classroom today than there was even ten years ago.
In place of the overhead projector, a document camera can magnify books or papers for all the students to see. This neat device is basically a mounted camera, which is run through a computer, that will project the chosen assignment on a front board. Student work can be used on the spur of the moment. Expensive and one-use transparencies are a thing of the past, as nothing is prohibited from using under the doc cam. Even the typical read-aloud book can be shown under the camera so that all students can see clearly.
Another piece of equipment that is becoming more mainstream is the interactive whiteboard. This “magic board” hooks to a computer and a projection machine. The entire board projects your computer screen, and is completely touch interactive. Lessons can be made using various moveable objects, sound, and effects. You can even play a “jeopardy-style” game in your class complete with the music and buzzing!
Amplification systems can be a tremendous positive experience for all those involved in the classroom. A portable lapel microphone clips on a shirt, while the speaker is wall or ceiling mounted. Something so small really makes a difference in the enclosed area. Research backs the notion that hard of hearing, as well as attention-deficit children can make larger learner gains when they can hear clearly and without the background noises found in a typical student-filled classroom setting.
While there are many interactive games and materials for students, using technology in today’s classrooms is imperative. Low attention-span children are good candidates for novelty and interesting types of technology!