5 Tips for Integrating Tech into K-12 Classrooms
Incorporating technology into the classroom will help you save time and work more efficiently.
As the new school year nears, are you seeking ways to integrate technology into your K-12 classroom? Perhaps you’re feeling overwhelmed and don’t know where to start. Teachers are always inundated with ‘new’ programs, mandates, and meeting standards, and while integrating technology is important for both teachers and students, sometimes getting started can seem like a chore. Here are five simple ways you can infuse technology into your K-12 classroom and get started on the path to blended learning!
Ditch the paper
Whether you are an early elementary teacher or teach seniors in high school, ditching paper is a simple way to integrate technology. Young children with access to tablets can practice writing skills on engaging apps like iWriteWords or A Novel Idea. Older students can create comic strips to narrate a story at ToonDoo, allowing them to explore creative design instead of the usual graphic organizer or storyboarding. All grade levels can experiment with blogs. One idea could be to have them create and manage a blog instead of a traditional written essay or journal entry.
Take steps toward the flipped classroom
If you have a learning management system (LMS) at your school, they often include video integrations that let you create quick video messages that you can include in emails or use to provide more dynamic feedback on assignments. An LMS, will also often allow you to record and upload video lessons that students can view outside the classroom. Without an LMS, sites like TeacherTube allow you to create videos that can be safely uploaded for use in emails, classroom viewing, or a variety of ways to reach students. Who knows, you may enjoy creating the videos so much that you decide to try the Flipped Classroom approach. Getting started is the first step.
It’s not always easy to get a speaker into the classroom physically, but, thanks to tools like Skype and other video conferencing tools, bringing an author, expert, or guest speaker into the classroom digitally is very easy. Sites, such as epals, provide students the opportunity to make global connections. Google Earth lets students see actual places they are studying as well—a social studies class can come to life when students are able to connect with students in the regions they are studying.
Model with video
Classroom management is important to the success of any classroom. Engage your students in modeling good behavior. Record videos of students modeling the behaviors you want to encourage using your smartphone or tablet. Hook up your device to a projector and show students what you expect. Students can also model strategies and skills for other students to view. Create a library of resources that allow students to watch their peers when they need assistance. Students creating the videos will have a sense of pride and ownership in the process while those viewing have the benefit of a peer model to assist them.
Remediate and enrich
There are many wonderful resources for students available to assist you with their remediation and enrichment needs. TEDEd, Khan Academy, and edX are all great examples of lessons, test prep, and activities that can supplement/support your classroom. Differentiation is vital to student success, and with limited time, harnessing technology to assist you benefits everyone. These resources can be used as part of classroom instruction but have the added advantage of being accessed from home giving your students support beyond the school day.
Technology integration helps prepare your students for college and careers. The earlier they get started, the better off they will be in their own technology journey. Incorporating technology doesn’t have to be an added duty. Once you are comfortable with using a few tools, you might actually find that they give you more time and help you work more efficiently. Finally, don’t feel like you need to try everything, and don’t be afraid to fail. Sometimes, we learn the most through trial and error, so there is no need to beat yourself up for a lesson that might not go as planned. Students will see that you are trying and they will appreciate your effort. Regardless of what technology you choose to start with, the most important thing is to get started!