Decades ago, a stack of books, chalk, ruler, and a blackboard were some of the tools a teacher used. Now, teachers are armed with laptops, smartphones, or tablet PCs while conducting their respective classes. In an age where technology and connectivity reign supreme, educators must be keeping up with the times, and especially with their students. They can access information any time and from anywhere, thanks to technology.
Although students are privileged with these innovative conveniences, teachers are still regarded as mentors, knowledge-keepers, and guides in a fast-changing world. With these responsibilities weighing on their shoulders, they are expected to adapt, invent, and find solutions for their students.
For all the tech-savvy or techie teachers out there, here are five ideas to help you integrate technology into your class:
Technology is your tool
It’s a fact that technology is always at the forefront of teaching. In the old days, schools and educators used “ed-tech” tools like overhead projectors, dry-erase boards, cassette recorders, and even Tamagochi virtual pets during lessons. These proved to be invaluable tools for learning during that time. Today, we have smart devices, learning apps, and mobile broadband technology at our disposal. Use tablets, smartphones, or netbooks to engage students while in class. Several schools are working with companies like O2 Learn and Microsoft to bring 21st century technology into their schools. These education projects are meant to support teachers and inspire students. Technology, when used properly can leave a positive impact on students.
Be a leader and a follower
Since teachers are preparing their students for a more advanced Digital Age, they need to be technological pioneers. Basically, before anyone can be a leader, he or she should be a follower first. Educators, even the most tech-savvy ones, need to be constantly updated, trained with the latest apps, and devices being released in the market. Using these new found technologies can be tricky and teaching it is another thing. It may prove difficult but to be a leader, one must be creative, decisive, and understanding. Each student has a different learning curve and motivations; the challenge is how to find it. Using technology and incorporating it into a lesson makes is easier for both teacher and student—the teacher gets the lesson across while the student learns from the lesson.
Connect, engage, and socialize
The workforce of the future needs to be creative, adaptive, and innovative individuals. To achieve this goal, teachers need to go back-to-basics: learning how to learn. Now, the first step is establishing a connection with your students and your mobile devices are the keys. Use them to access digital tools or apps like email, Skype, or social media sites. Once the students are aware that you’re digitally connected, they will start to communicate and engage. Create digital avenues for them to engage in your lessons. It could be websites, pages, or forums that will spark communication and collaboration. This will result in socialization and creating a network of learners who learn together.
Always keep an open mind and door
Students nowadays are practically exposed to the latest in technology. However, their parents and even some teachers are not, and this could be a challenge. Not everyone is sold on the idea of technology simply because it is overwhelming. Another reason is that they want tried and tested ideas, never leaving their comfort zone. The best thing to do is to show them how to adapt to technology. Introduce tablet PCs or mobile devices slowly, and show them the benefits of apps in teaching. Let parents know that as an educator, you are teaching their children how to be responsible “netizens”. Encourage parents to consult you about their child’s lessons and if needed, teach them also about technology. Having a good amount of patience and understanding makes teaching life much easier.
Keep calm and take your mind off things
When apps or devices crash, it’s best to stand up and walk away, literally. Go sit on a park bench and have a cup of coffee. Take a walk and watch the world go by for a change. Things happen and most of the time it’s beyond your control. Go back to the problem later and take your mind off things. Take a deep breath, paint a smile on your face, and enjoy life.
Have you successfully integrated technology in your class? Share your experiences with us.
About the Author
Reese Jones, a freelance writer based in London. She loves to try educational and gaming apps such that she can share and enjoy them with her many nephews and nieces. When not busy playing with the little ones, Reese can also be found writing about the latest gadgets and tech news. She also regularly contributes to TechieDoodlers. You can also follow her on Twitter.