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For Teachers

How to Use Technology to Enhance a Lesson

By Room 241 Team April 23, 2011

Traditionally classes have always been taught with heavy textbooks, notebooks, pencils and chalkboards. Over the past years we have seen new teaching tools emerging such as whiteboards, projectors and educational computer games.

We know change is difficult to accept, especially in the classroom because the old methods are tried and true. They have produced test results and educated individuals for years, but it is time to move forward.

New technological advances can not only help your students learn better, but will also allow them to adapt to the fast paced technological environment they are growing up in.

Computers

Computers can be used for Internet, word processing, presentations, music development, educational games and more.

In a setting where every student has their own computer or they are sharing between 2 or 3 students, more students are actively engaged and thinking than in a lecture setting where they may be tuning the teacher out.

This has been proved to have a wider range of success than a traditional classroom setting.
The role of teachers changes in a computer setting so that the teacher is no longer the center of attention, but rather a facilitator asking individual students about their choices and engaging them in deeper conversation on the subject.

Students have also been proven to offer to help their peers and ask for help more often. This leads to more student interaction and more in depth learning. They feel a greater sense of self-esteem and confidence in mastering a necessary tool for success and doing it better than their parents.

Computers allow students to learn by doing rather than trying to absorb lines of information from a textbook. They are also given the opportunity to learn by trial and error, which allows them to see how things work rather than forcing them to trust what the teacher says.

Computer Games

  • Allow students to make decisions and see instant results to evaluate their progress.
  • Allow students to interact with material and learn without realizing they are learning.

Word Processing

  • Enstills a greater willingness to write and work because the computer feels less like work.
  • Allows for greater legibility than handwriting.
  • Changes how students think about a sentence. Using bold, italics and other emphasis tools they can creatively enhance a sentence and manipulate it for better understanding.

Teacher Websites

  • Message boards where students and teachers can have conversations and work out difficult topics.
  • Teachers can post material that either goes with the lesson or more in depth so that students who are interested can learn more about a particular subject.

Digital Textbooks

  • Interactive reading supplemented by games and quizzes get students actively involved in their reading.
  • Voice programs that read the material to the student can help them hear correct pronunciation of new and difficult words and practice them in the same way that foreign language software does.

Videos

  • Visual learners benefit from hearing and seeing the information at the same time.
  • Allow for things to be said directly with intent instead of a teacher trying to get a point over and over again.
  • Allow for detailed and organized explanation of topics with written outlines and step by step instruction.
  • Videos are a set time which allows for better time management in the classroom.

Music

  • Students can create music to interact with class topics and educate their classmates.
  • Difficult subjects can be presented in music format to make it seem less intimidating.

Video Conferencing

  • Allow students to practice and improve their public speaking and presentation skills.
  • Go on a virtual field trip to explore a museum, a zoo or bring an industry professional to the classroom.
  • Visit another country or state to learn what other students are doing and experiencing.

Podcasts

  • Students can create audio clips to work out difficult topics and help educate their peers.
  • Teachers can create unique podcasts to share with students on their personal website.
  • Premade podcasts can be downloaded and shared with students to further educate or tell them the same thing in a different way to maximize learning.

Wikis and Blogs

  • Allow students to publish their ideas and stories as well as share them with friends and family.
  • Encourage learning in an interactive way that feels less like traditional learning and more like fun.
  • Showcase student work and achievements.

Social Media

  • Twitter can help teach the rules and practice of probability.
  • Study current events in real time and share thoughts, comments and concerns.
  • Practice a new language with native speakers without the pressure of face to face conversation.
  • Practice language and increase vocabulary.
  • Shy students may feel more open to conversing online than in a classroom.
  • Students can conduct research and surveys to learn and conduct research projects.

Google Maps

  • Teaches geography, your place in the world.
  • Street views can help students understand the culture and compare and contrast their home with a foreign country.
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