Transparent Technology

Posted on October 1, 2008. Filed under: Uncategorized |

By Fran Mauney

As an experienced early childhood teacher and, most recently as an instructional technology facilitator, I’m often asked by teachers, “How do I integrate technology in my classroom and where do I begin?” I would like to share a few tried and true tips about ways to teach using technology in the content areas. Many teachers aren’t sure how a technology enriched classroom looks and are overwhelmed with the thought of adding “another thing” to their already full plate of requirements.  Here’s the great news about technology integration.  It doesn’t have to be an additional requirement, it will be the medium through which your lessons are taught.  For example, I suggest you begin your day using your interactive white board with an agenda or schedule posted for students to view as they enter the room. This creates calmness in the classroom and communicates to your students that there is a plan for learning in place for the entire day.  Next, use your interactive white board to create lessons that will be used for each subject, saved and brought up again in the future.  I saved handwriting paper to use for penmanship, for writing word wall words, doing on the back activities, and for creating rhyming words. Record the steps of your scientific experiment,  list the many ways there are to add and subtract and the strategies your students use to solve problems, save them and bring them back up the next day as a review.  Add on to the list each day.  I also saved templates, graphic organizers, and flipcharts which I downloaded from http://www.smarttech.com or http://www.prometheanlearning.com and revised them to fit my students’ needs.

Here’s another idea, have the “Student of the Day” choose the background color for your board and be in charge of your Calendar activities.  The student can lead an activity on the interactive board with his or her learning team and students can interview the student of the week while the teacher records his/her answers on the interactive board.  Students can choose clip art from the resources located within the software to place on his story.  This will enhance the story by making it attractive and meaningful to the student.  Brain research states that students will remember what they read if pictures are attached to it.  Finally, you can print the story and make it into a book for the student.  The classmates can write about him and these pages will also go into his book.   It is a book he will cherish for years to come.

There is a wealth of resources located within the Promethean and SMARTboard software programs that will bring your lessons to life:  clocks and timers for timing lessons/activities,  math manipulatives for place value, counting money, hundreds charts, interactive games, science and social studies clipart, etc….  Spend some time looking through your resources or gallery to capture the students’ attention during the lesson.

Most classrooms I visit have computer stations which are void of students.  Teachers have told me they don’t know how to use the stations to enhance learning ; therefore they don’t have any activities/lessons designed for the computer stations.  Teachers are concerned about students working on the computers during instructional time.  Here are a few suggestions:  Designate a day of the week for students to go to learning centers.  Friday afternoons work well, especially if students have been testing all day.  Divide your class into four teams and design a center for each table.  Set the timer on your interactive board for 15 minutes and allow students to go to centers. You could have an Art Center that correlates to Science or Social Studies standards for the week, a math center, an interactive board center, and a computer station center.  Two students at a time could work on the computers if you only have two computers in your classroom.  Bookmark websites that correlate to your standards for the week.  I have a list of great websites on my teacher website if you are interested.  This allows the teacher to facilitate and interact with each group during the center rotation.  You could also have a team a day go to the Computer Station for the last 20 minutes of the day or first thing in the morning instead of doing “morning work”.  For example, on Monday, the Monday table will go to the computer station, on Tuesday, the Tuesday table will go to the computer station.

These are a few ideas to help you get started in creating an effective, technology integrated classroom.  A teacher once told me that the goal of integrating technology in the classroom, is not to teach a technology lesson, but to make technology transparent in your lessons.  It is simply the way you teach and the methods you use to make learning meaningful for your students.

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3 Responses to “Transparent Technology”

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I like the idea of transparent technology. Too often, we get caught up in trying to make kids using technology a big lesson with bells, whistles and alot of fanfare when really, it can be a simple tool that can help you teach smarter; not harder.

In response to your comments of sharing computers in the classroom, I’d like to suggest you look at the “Inspired Classroom” model. My students love it, and they are constantly engaged in the lessons.
The basic idea is that the computers move to the kids. I have 20 desks set up around 4 computers, so each computer has a group of 5 students. These cooperative learning groups work together to respond to blogs, create documents and presentations, or work individually on self-selected/assigned activities while the others are at reading groups or other activities in the room.
There is a great wiki which explains the set up, and it is well-worth considering.

Children learn so much better when ideas are presented in alternate ways. Technology is the perfect medium to reach out to all the different ways children learn.


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