Gone are the days when the teacher stood in the front of the classroom and lectured while students simply took notes. Today the classroom is an interactive world where the teacher as well as the student is engaged with technology. Because today's young people are hooked up and plugged in all of the time, whether it is with text messaging, iPods, social networking websites and more, it is important that teachers find a way to engage them on a technology level. Technology in the classroom is doing just that--keeping students stimulated by using the latest and greatest inventions in computers and digital media.
Projectors are a basic way to introduce technology to students in the classroom. The projector is hooked up to the teacher's laptop and projects the screen from the laptop to the white board in the front of the room. This enables students to see a larger version of what is on the laptop screen. A teacher can project a word document and show students' note-taking strategies. The teacher can also show PowerPoint presentations to students using the projector. Students can follow the teacher as he or she goes onto educational websites as well. A projector in the classroom is a remarkable tool in engaging the student with technology.
SMART Technologies are leading the way in classroom interaction between students and teachers using computers. SMARTboards are a fantastic way for students to stay engaged in lessons. A SMARTboard is an interactive white board that allows the teacher to project an image from a laptop to the front of the room. The amazing part is that the teacher can then digitally draw on that image. Graphs and tables are available templates in SMARTboards. SMARTboards can store lessons and digitally enhance plain templates into customized learning tools. Hundreds of applications are possible with this technology, and students are benefiting immensely from it.
Mimio boards are similar to SMARTboards. They are interactive white boards that allow the teacher to manipulate computer functions on the white board in the front of the room. Sensors are in place in the board that allow the teacher to use a special pen that acts like a mouse. Teachers maneuver through websites, graphs and other lessons using this technology. Students can even participate by using the board for PowerPoint presentations. This is a fantastic tool in interactive classroom lessons.
Some educators are lucky enough to have individual PCs for every student in the class. When every student has his or her own laptop, learning takes on a whole different dynamic. For example, a teacher can allow students to follow along during a writing lesson on Word programs. In addition, students can research and explore on their own. PCs can store a student's work more efficiently than folders. Bulky encyclopedias and dictionaries are unnecessary if every student can access the Internet on his or her own time using a personal computer. A paperless world in the classroom can be organized as well as environmentally friendly. Finally, students become empowered in their education by having their own personal tool to better their academic outcomes.
Technology Education for Teachers
Students have surpassed many teachers in technology use. Because of this, to effectively utilize technology in the classroom, teachers should be properly trained. In addition, it is more academically supported if all teachers use the technology together. It is insufficient for a student to receive an interactive education in only a few classes while in others he or she is receiving outdated instructional strategies. Explicit, interactive instruction is the most useful and engaging way to reach a student and enhance his or her learning potential. Technology can enhance that potential even more.
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