Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Using Technology with Purpose

Using Technology with Purpose

        There's a right way, and a wrong way to utilize technology in the classroom.  When technology is used with purpose, the growth and learning that takes place is astounding.  Here is an info-graphic created by AJ Juliani that lists 7 ways you can use technology in your classroom purposefully:

7 Ways Teachers Can Use Technology With Purpose Infographic

 1.  To Collaborate in Real Time
        Having students collaborate is a great 21st century skill that enhances learning.  Utilizing technology enhances this skill greatly because it breaks the barriers of the classroom walls.  Technology can allow students to collaborate not only with their classmates, but with other classes, schools and professionals across the world.  Google Drive and Skype are just two ways to do this effectively.

2.  To Reflect and Share
     Students learn by doing, constructing, building, talking, and writing, but they also learn by thinking about events, activities and experiences. This meeting of experiences (action) and thought (reflection) combines to create
new knowledge. When we use technology to create and house these reflections, for example through blogging, it allows the reflection to be accessible from anywhere and to be shared with a broader audience, which in turn would provide greater feedback for the learner.  

3.  Better Research
     The Internet is estimated to hold about 5 million terabytes of data...that's a lot!  Students have access to answers with a few clicks of a keyboard.  Technology makes it a lot simpler and more efficient to research--we just need to teach students how to do that effectively.  

4.  Write & Re-write
      Technology makes the writing process much more efficient.  Using tools like Google Docs, kids can draft and share their writing with teachers or peer editors for real-time advice and guidance.  It also keeps track of feedback (comments), which makes it easy for teachers to see what they have recommended, and what was adhered to.  Throw in Google Classroom with the Turn In over.  Life is great!

5.  Make Something (that matters)
     Voice and choice.  This is a freedom we need to provide our students with.  Letting them choose how to best demonstrate their learning...and maybe even making a difference in the world.  Technology greatly fosters creativity.  Students can create songs, videos, presentations, blogs, etc...and these can all be shared with an authentic audience if they so choose.  

6.  Keep a Digital Record
   Keeping a digital or e-portfolio is a great way to utilize technology.  It is a very easy way to show how much a student has grown--either through the year or even years!  Many learning management systems have their own built in e-portfolio, but students can easily make one of their own by using Google Drive or creating a Google Site!  

7.  Mastery Assessments
   Mastery or formative assessments can really help the teacher guide their instruction.  When done digitally, the teacher can get IMMEDIATE feedback so they can shift their instruction, reteach, pull a small group or move-on right then!  There are many free web-based tools, such as Socrative, that teachers can use quickly and effectively in their classroom.  

While there are many ways technology can be used to simply "pass the time", when it is used purposefully in the classroom, student learning can skyrocket!