Over the course of the past few weeks, as I have been introducing my students to the use of cell phones in class. I have come to some conclusions about the use of technology in the classroom. While I know that these conclusions are not new revelations in the educational technology they are points that I think as teachers we often forget when we introduce new technology into a classroom setting.
The number one thing that I feel is most important is to give kids time to PLAY with the technology. Often times we introduce a new technology and expect students to beginning using this technology for educational purposes without letting them have time to play and experiment with the technology. This leaves the students frustrated since they want to experiment with the the technology and see what it can do. It also leaves the teacher frustrated because they feel that all they do is monitor the students to make sure that they are using it correctly. If students are allowed time to play with the technology, when it comes time to use it they will not only have a better understanding of the technology they will have also satisfied their inquisitive nature. This will allow teachers to get the most out of the technology that they use.
Another important thing I have found is TEACH the kids how to use the technology. So many teachers introduce technology and just expect students to be able to us it. I hear teachers often say, “well these kids know more than I do about technology”. This false belief that students are fluent with technology can cause frustration for students and teachers. Conducting a web-search is a great example. Often time teachers take students to the lab and tell students to look up information on a given topic. After two minutes hands start to go up and students say ” I can not find anything on this topic”. Teachers respond by saying that is ridiculous there is a massive amount of information on this topic. Frustration has now set in for both the teacher and the students. It is at this point that motivation and focus have been lost and the activity often times is not going to be successful. Taking the time to show students how to conduct a proper web search is a critical skill that is often over looked by many teachers. Just googling it often will not net the results that will truly help a student.
Allowing students time to develop the necessary skills and giving them time to play are critical components of the use of technology in the classroom. If these two components are not developed with all new technology the use of that technology will not be successful and will often turn students away from technology.
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