This week we will take a look at some programs I suggest you use in your classroom.
Before you decide on which programs to use you need to consider the following questions:
1. Why are you using technology in school?
2. How does this technology enhance your teaching skills?
3. How does this technology enhance the student’s learning?
4. Is there proper tech support for the technology that you have in the classroom?
5. Will the technology steer the class so that it is still student centred learning?
6. Does the technology help your students achieve the learning goal and outcome that you have set for your students?
The reason you are using technology in school needs to be your first consideration. You can’t just assume that by using technology your students will engage in their learning or results will improve. There is simply no conclusive evidence that suggests that this will be the case. In fact there is evidence that the opposite might occur! This article outlines one school districts findings after spending 33 million dollars on technology.
Whatever you decide, choose a program that has the following three features (two are necessary the other one is a great option for group work):
1. Provides immediate feedback.
Immediate feedback is one of the major factors in increasing intrinsic motivation. All good game designers build this into their games, that is why they are so addictive. The programs you use should make it easy to preview your work as well as easily edit your work. Many programs have clunky user interfaces that are too cumbersome to work with and the students loose interest
2. Encourage creativity.
I am a big fan of encouraging creativity in the classroom. Creativity is a skill set that will benefit anybody regardless of their occupation. When I’m talking about creativity I’m not talking about art (I couldn’t draw to save me life!). What I am talking about is the ability to think outside the box, solve problems or present information in a unique way.
3. Real time collaboration. If you can find a program that incorporates the previous 2 features and as well as allowing for real time collaboration you are onto a real winner. If you can have your students working together on the same project at the same time from their own computers you will find you will have less classroom management problems because you don’t have some students working while others are idle and more prone to get up to mischief.
Once you have found some potential programs stick to them. There is nothing worse that introducing a lot of new technology into your lessons and then not allowing the students to use the program to its full capacity.
All the programs that I will introduce you to this week will be easy to use and appropriate for just about any age group.