Lauren M. Bronson, Elementary School Teacher, Hillsborough County, Florida
With a highly competitive job market that is likely to be the norm for years to come, students may well need a broad range of technology-based skills in order to be prepared for the workforce.
By honing those skills in K-12 settings, youngsters should be better equipped for college and beyond.
What does this mean for educators? Technology has the capability to improve how teachers run their classrooms. Tablets, SMART Boards and the Internet are all tools that can be used to improve the delivery of lessons and provide specific instructional plans based on individual student needs.
With educators being called upon to find beneficial ways to incorporate technology into the classroom, here are a few ideas based on different subject matters:
Create math groups by organizing students according to ability and sending them on an Internet scavenger hunt. Or have them participate in a “webquest” to find potential careers that utilize the math skills being taught.
Students can present their findings creatively via online and tech tools such as Wallwisher, PowerPoint, SMART Boards or a classroom blog. For example, assign students the task of using iMovie or Movie Maker to create a presentation about a project they completed.
Allow students to use their personal Nooks, Kindles or other e-readers to read approved literature during class time. The students then can create book reviews or reports using Blogger, Wordpress or other tech tools. Students can make their presentations to the entire class and also can create a step-by-step guide on how they used their chosen technology, which can be shared with classmates.
Teachers in grades K-12 can get free access to science resources that utilize technology via Discovery Education. The website is packed with ideas for grade-appropriate lesson planning and addresses topics such as weather, animals, DNA, robotics, human development and underwater forensics.
For lessons focusing on the environment, agencies such as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the National Resources Defense Council offer a wealth of free resources, including publications, videos and blogs.
Teachers who incorporate technology into their classroom likely will add variety to the learning experience, which could ultimately benefit educators and students alike by sparking curiosity and creativity.
In the long run, a tech-rich and challenging classroom environment could help students acquire valuable skills to better position them for success in college and the employment market.