Please welcome Charlene of Diamond Mom’s Treasury where she shares about ever changing technology in the classroom!
I am so excited to be guest blogging today for Rachel from Minds in Bloom. Thank you Rachel for this opportunity.
Don’t throw out old technology!
Technology changes so quickly that we sometimes think that we need to have whatever is new and updated in order to use it effectively. However, in most cases, schools don’t have the funds to stay on top of the latest and greatest technology.
This doesn’t mean that we need to stop using technology, it means we need to be more creative with what we have. Children are so tuned into technology nowadays that their attention is captured when technology is included in lessons.
Using a projector, computer, and a document camera will immediately engage many students. This can be as simple as putting items under the document camera during sharing time, reading books together, or demonstrating how to fill in a worksheet. More complex activities might include showing video clips or doing interactive activities on the whiteboard. Watching movies or animated books is another way to use a computer and projector.
These are pictures of some of the computers that I have in my classroom. A few years ago many of the elementary school computer labs were converted from Mac labs to Linux labs. I gathered several computers and set them up in my classroom. I started out with even older computers, but as the middle schools switched over their labs I was able to “upgrade” to iMacs.
They are stand alone computers loaded with many language and math games and activities. They also have an older version of Powerpoint and a word processing program. A few are internet capable, but they do run slowly.
Many people think that these computers should go to recycling because they are “old”. I disagree. If you don’t have lots of money to have laptops and handheld devices, you can still use this technology in your classroom.
My students use these computers to write special journal entries, do language and math games during centers, learn keyboarding skills, create powerpoints, and work on other research and writing projects. When they need to go online, we either book lab time or I set up one or two computers with the internet. For printing their work, I have a printer networked to the computers. If this isn’t possible, documents can be saved on flash drives and then printed from a different computer that is hooked up to a printer.
Even a small pod of computers could be useful for engaging students. I found that using computers, along with software that assists with writing, helps with my reluctant writers.
Smartboards are another popular piece of technology in school now. Unfortunately, they are expensive and not all schools can afford them. We have one in our school. I was able to try it for a few months and my students loved it. When I had to pass it on to another teacher, I discovered that it was possible to continue using the software on my whiteboard and still have the interactive features by using a mouse. I learned to adapt lessons so that I could still incorporate the activities into my lessons.
Below is an activity I created for the Smartboard that you can download for FREE from my store.
Sometimes you may want to write on the whiteboard. The one drawback to not having a Smartboard, is you cannot save what you write using the pens. The fix to that is to take a picture of the board and then project it later when needed. I often take pictures of notes made on my whiteboard as well.
Ipads, ipods, and smartphones are now very common and they can be a great asset in the classroom. They can be used for center activities, for group activities, and for individual activities. I often attach my ipad to the projector and do math activities with the class. I am also using handheld devices for QR codes activities now.
Also, don’t forget the listening center with the cassettes and CDs and the big headphones. They still have a valid place in our classrooms.I have colleagues who still prefer to use an overhead projector. If it works, then I say go for it. Each person needs to find the balance that works for them.
Last November I wrote a blog called Changing Technology. It talked about how far technology has come in the last few years. One year later, it has changed even more. What was new and innovative last year is “old hat” now. Does that mean we stop using it? Of course not. We adapt and change our lessons to accommodate new ideas while continuing to incorporate older ideas.
If we have some lessons that have worked for us successfully that don’t use technology, we don’t discard them. We use them when they fit the situation. The same holds for using our devices. After all, it isn’t for the sake of using the device that we create the lessons. At least, I hope it isn’t. The technology is there to add more engagement when needed, perhaps to enhance a lesson, and to explore ideas from a different perspective.
I still have many lessons and activities that don’t involve technology, but I do use technology when I feel it is useful.
Hopefully I have been able to show you that older technology can still have a place in learning today.
My name is Charlene, aka The Diamond Mom and I have been teaching for over 25 years. I began as an elementary music teacher and then moved into teaching primary classes. I enjoy creating materials and I especially like doing projects with my students. I love seeing the pride they show when presenting their projects to other classes and to their families and friends. You can check out some of these projects in my TpT store or read about them on my blog..