Great news! My superintendent has given me ten minutes on the fall kickoff agenda to talk about the advantages of edtech in the classroom. This should be great – my job is to work with teachers to integrate technology and I’m finally given a soapbox on which to stand to justify using edtech.
The truth is, I don’t want to simply justify the use of edtech in the classroom. I want teachers to discover that edtech transforms the way you teach and the way that students learn. Here are just some of the ways you can transform your classroom:
- Students become active learners
Using SMART Boards and SMART Document Cameras, students can share their ideas easily. I was recently in a 3rd grade classroom in which the students were trying to solve a math problem involving perimeter, a new concept. Students brought their work up to the document camera, explained their thinking and had a meaningful discussion. Eventually, one of the girls stated, “I disagree with myself!” after her classmates helped her to see the flaw in her thinking.
- You can see what students are thinking
Technology can make formative assessment a seamless part of instruction. Tools such as Shout It Out, one of the SMART lab activities, allow all students to participate in brainstorming activities or quick checks for understanding. The ability to add a SMART response 2 question anywhere in your SMART Notebook lesson at any time gives you instant feedback throughout a lesson to clarify what concepts students know and when they need more help.
- Students can collaborate and be part of a global learning community
Students often learn best when they work collaboratively, each contributing something valuable and unique. Using tools such as SMART amp, your SMART Board can transform into a mosaic with pieces from learners in all parts of the world simultaneously adding thoughts, ideas and solutions and working together.
If I’ve done my job successfully, everyone will see the benefits of incorporating edtech into their classrooms, but now will have the usual concern – ”How do I get started?” Here are some suggestions:
- Start small and keep it simple
To start, choose one new tool to integrate into your teaching. For example, some of the teachers that I work with that are less comfortable with technology started with the SMART lab activities. They are very quick and intuitive to set up and the students are totally engaged when they are working on them.
- Let the students teach
Take advantage of students’ ability to grasp new technology very quickly. Try to keep your classroom a place where exploration is encouraged and sharing is celebrated. Several teachers I work with have the students create the SMART lab activities that the class then uses to practice important skills.
- Teach students how to collaborate
Like any skill, collaboration need to be taught and practiced. Your early collaborative projects might need to be more tightly structured with lots of feedback to create the environment that you want. SMART amp is a wonderful tool to facilitate collaboration. Once the students establish those skills, you will be amazed at what they can accomplish!
- Share with your colleagues
Collaboration is productive for teachers as well as students. We have to help each other and work together if we want to transform our teaching model. If you’ve created something that would be helpful to others, share it with them! That is the power of SMART Exchange – teachers willing to share what they have done to benefit others.
In my mind, at this point, everyone will be stampeding out the doors of the auditorium to get started using edtech in their classrooms. After all, the reason we’re teachers is because we want to impact students’ learning and give them the best opportunities possible. Using edtech in meaningful ways is a great way to accomplish that!
Want to take advantage of classroom edtech in the classroom? Try SMART Learning Suite today.