Teaching today has become centered around the use of technology. In fact, technology has taken the front seat in the classroom, at least while the Wi-Fi works properly. The majority of classrooms today have iPad technology or some other device that students use as a part of their daily education experience. The real question is:Are teachers using these devices with purpose and with the goal of enhancing student learning?
The simple answer to that question is: not always. However, through practice, failure, and professional development, teachers can bounce back and use iPads, iMacs (and anything else with an “i” in it) to turn their classroom learning environment into one that has significance and positive impact on student learning. Use these 4 guidelines when teaching in today’s technology centered classroom, or what I like to call the iClassroom.
Have a Goal in Mind When teachers use iPads and other devices in the classroom, it is critical to have a clear end goal in mind. Before implementing a new app or program ask yourself, “What do I want my students to accomplish and how can technology enhance this process?” Just using an iPad in the classroom because it is available does not always equate to an increase in student learning.
If you want your students to learn vocabulary words more efficiently and effectively, then incorporate one of the many flashcard apps into your daily routine. If you want your students to create a digital product, have students use a concept mapping tool to plan their work before jumping into a project with iMovie or Google Slides.
Set Clear Boundaries Students will test the limits with technology and the vast number of games, texting apps, and social media sites. Setting clear boundaries from the beginning will save you time and potential issues later on in the year. Students should know that any device in the classroom is for learning purposes and learning purposes only.
Use Devices to Enhance Not Teach Technology is designed to enhance your classroom learning environment, but not to teach your students content. We live in a “Google” society where information is not as valuable simply because many students feel like they can just “look it up” later. Students need to understand that it is not always the actual information that is important, but rather what they do with that information to create knowledge and make an impact. In today’s culture of having so much available at your fingertips, teachers can truly enhance the learning environment. My personal rule of thumb is this: If it takes longer for students to use an app or program in comparison to traditional strategies, then throw it out. Keep that clear goal in mind and enhance your teaching through the use of technology.
Learn from Failure We have all had issues with technology at one time or another, but it is important to persist and learn from those so called failures. The fear of failure is a powerful feeling that teachers have to face all the time. When technology fails or does not work out like we planned the easy route to take is to avoid using it altogether. I challenge everyone to learn from those failures and adjust to adverse situations. Experience is the best teacher.
Using these tips can greatly improve student learning and teacher effectiveness in today’s iClassroom culture. Take action and use purposeful technology!
About the Author
Corey Knight is a middle school teacher at New Haven Middle School in New Haven, Indiana. He has been working with iPad's in the classroom since 2012 and has found a real passion for creating meaningful uses of technology in the classroom. He continued his education and now holds a Master's degree in Educational Technology/Curriculum. After graduation, he wanted to create an online resource to be able to apply different strategies and apps in the classroom to positively impact student learning. You can find his website, Classroom Tech Made Simple, here.
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