Over the past few weeks I have read numerous articles about the impact of technology on teaching and learning. All of these articles advocate that technology can have a transformative impact on teaching and learning. However, these articles also recognise that technology is often used to replace traditional forms of teaching and learning rather than to transform teaching and learning. I believe many teachers are failing to use technology in transformative ways because they do not know how to use technology to transform teaching and learning. When I first commenced this course, I understood the importance of using technology to transform teaching and learning, but I did not know how to do this in practice. Thus I repeatedly asked “but HOW do we transform teaching and learning with technology? What does this actually look like in practice?” These questions have been answered as I have engaged with this course and as I have conducted my own research into technology use in the classroom. Today I would like to highlight some great ways to utilise technology in the classroom to enhance and hopefully transform teaching and learning.
1. Video Streaming
They say a picture says a thousand words, so imagine how many words a video says! Video streaming in the classroom can really help to create a clearer and more complete picture for students. YouTube is a great tool for this and chances are you can find a video clip to compliment any lesson! Explaining and describing things in words isn’t always a very easy or effective method of teaching students. But using YouTube video clips while explaining and suddenly you will begin to see the light bulbs go off! In the end you will have an educated and entertained class.
Whenever I am explaining things to my class, particularly abstract concepts that are difficult to explain, I often use YouTube video clips to support my explanation. I only have to tell the class that they are going to watch a video and they are immediately engaged! In particular, I have found that the YouTube video clips made by ‘Harry Kindergarten Music’ are a fantastic resource! These video clips contain excellent explanations of abstract concepts and they have catchy music, which the children love!
2. Playing Games
What kid (or adult for that matter) doesn’t love playing games? Using mobile devices like iPads and tablets can keep students engaged with all sorts of educational games for just about any subject. Forget the days when you were told that “playing videos games are bad and will rot your brain”; because studies now show that playing video games can actually improve learning! There are tons of educational games out there that allow students to apply and test what they have learned. Using educational games is one of the best ways to use technology in the classroom to make students enthusiastic for learning.
I often use educational games to support my teaching and to get students to apply and test their learning. I have found that students are particularly engaged when the game involves some sort of challenge or competition. On my last professional experience I used the ‘Magic “e” Adventures’ interactive reading game to teach students about ‘bossy e’ when reading and writing words. The children had some much fun laughing at the characters in the game and cheering on their peers as they played the game, that they didn’t even realise they were learning!
Image source: https://www.technobezz.com/top-best-ios-apps-kids/
3. Utilising Social Media
Don’t ban social media, embrace it! Students are already engrossed with social media outside of the classroom, so bringing it into the classroom is sure to instantly grab their attention. Many teachers have learned to embrace social media and use Facebook, Twitter, and other types of social media to generate discussions outside of the classroom. You can use Facebook or Twitter to post a topic for discussion and get all students involved and interacting with one another. For example, you might post a topic such as ‘is society too dependent on technology’. The students could then research the topic and write a short post on it using social media. Students could then comment on each other’s posts, sparking a conversation or debate that everyone participates in.
Although I have not tried using social media in my classroom before, I think it would be a great way to engage students and to enhance teaching and learning. I would really like to try using social media to facilitate discussions amongst students when teaching a persuasive writing unit of work. Social media is an easy way for students to connect with others and to share ideas and resources.
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Technology in the classroom is the best teaching and learning tool! Using technology in the classroom can get more students engaged, improve collaboration, and most importantly make learning fun! Utilising technology in the classroom is a great way to bring your class to life. Although this list of ways to engage students with technology in the classroom is not extensive, I hope it has given you some ideas for incorporating technology in your own practice.
Image source: https://au.pinterest.com/pin/109564203410652769/