Technology is ubiquitous in our lives. It affects the way we acquire new information, work, play and especially learn. In classroom settings, it is becoming an essential part of the education of the citizens of tomorrow. Children and adolescents are already engaged and interested in technology. Its use in education makes it possible to connect the universe in which they evolve daily with their experience in the classroom.
When technology integration is thoughtful and collaborative, it strengthens student engagement, encouraging them to take ownership of their learning and to develop their own interests. Thus, the dynamics of teaching become more child-centered rather than group-oriented.
Interactive Classroom Benefits
The benefits of integrating technology into your classroom are numerous. It allows in particular:
1. Prepare students for the job market;
2. Integrate various educational approaches adapted to all learning styles;
3. Stimulate collaboration and communication between teachers and students;
4. Encourage exploration, experimentation and autonomy of students;
5. Multiply learning opportunities and areas.
Choosing the right technology for your class
Although there is a general consensus on the benefits of interactive classrooms, access to technology is not evenly distributed among different education levels, regions and programs.
Indeed, teachers and administrators do not have access to an unlimited number of digital and interactive resources within their school setting.
Here are some ideas for integrating technology into your teaching, regardless of your specific technology investment decisions.
Tablets and mobile devices
There are many educational opportunities for mobile devices, no matter how many devices you have access to. Some applications may allow children to:
• Record their voice as they read aloud;
• Download and access course content;
• Do research as part of a school project;
• Learn how to create videos;
• Use applications aimed at developing specific skills, such as spelling, verb conjugation, mathematics, etc.
If each of your students has a computer, you can plan for projects with longer duration :
• Start a collaborative blog to which all children contribute content;
• Facilitate website creation workshops;
• Post exercises and content seen in class on a website that everyone has access to;
• Create multimedia presentations;
• Explore digital note-taking.
Several basic cloud applications, such as Microsoft Exchange and Microsoft SharePoint, have versions specifically designed for schools and students. These are easy-to-use platforms that help improve classroom management. You will be able to:
• Prepare a database with the contact information and grades for each student;
• Create a homework assignment submission web page;
• Exchange e-mails and promote discussion between parents and students.
Instead of the traditional chalk board, more and more schools are equipping classrooms with interactive whiteboards. Easy to use, the Interactive whiteboards combines with a laptop and a projector, to offer you countless possibilities, including:
• Using interactive educational websites;
• Watching videos related to lessons;
• Exploring different subjects through digital presentations and online exercises.
Technology will never replace the teacher. However, using technology in the classroom creates a multi-faceted learning environment that fosters innovation, collaboration and, most importantly, engagement. It's a whole new world for students, but also to teachers, who are discovering a much more dynamic way of sharing knowledge.