Frequently, I hear teachers say, “How can I integrate technology? I only have one computer.” While it would be ideal to have a device for every student, or even a device for every 3 students, that just isn’t the current reality for most of us. Let’s take a look at the many ways you can begin to meaningfully integrate technology into your instruction, even if you only have one computer in your room. Remember, if you are interested in trying any of these suggestions but need some help, just give me a call or drop me an e-mail.
Possibly the easiest way to integrate tech is to regularly display your computer screen, use correct vocabulary as you navigate, and demonstrate digital literacy. Modeling and thinking aloud are two instructional strategies we use widely; students will benefit from observing our computer use. An idea for transitioning students from observers to users would be to assign “drivers” (the person actually sitting at and controlling the computer) for different parts or your class period or day. Ultimately we want each of our students to be physically engaged with and creating on their own device; until that happens, we can use the one computer we do have to improve students’ understanding of content and concepts, and we can provide opportunities to develop their understanding of how computers work.
Here are some ways you can use your computer in front of students:
- Teach Visual Literacy the link to an Edutopia article includes many good resources for VL, including how it’s reflected in the Common Core State Standards
- Use visual aids – display images or play videos to support visual learners, English Language Learners, and others who would benefit from such supports.
- To avoid commercials and other YouTube distractions, paste your YouTube link into http://safeshare.tv or download a YouTube video to your computer with the site http://keepvid.com (There is a lot of advertising on this site; nothing inappropriate, but you need to pay close attention to where you are clicking, or you will end up on a different site instead of downloading a video.)
- TED Talks http://www.ted.com or http://ed.ted.com can be a great way tosupplement your instruction of content or a method you can use to encourage and teach critical thinking, respectful debate, and problem solving.
- Incorporate Primary Source Documents into your instruction through the Library of Congress http://www.loc.gov/teachers/. Find out more on teaching with primary sources with this LiveBinder.
- Supplement your math instruction with videos from LearnZillion or Khan Academy(Khan also has video supports in many other subjects and is developing videos inlanguages other than English.)
- Use Skype, Google Hangout, or Facetime to flatten your classroom walls andconnect with other students, with authors or scientists. Go on virtual field trips to the Moon, to museums, or CERN. Other ways educators are using Skype can be found here.
- Teach the basics of computer programming with NO COMPUTER at all using these unplugged lessons from Code.org.
- Use the free website Vocaroo to make digital recordings or podcasts of student writing. Share the links with families via e-mail.
- Posting student work or art in the hall? Make a digital recording of the student reflecting on their work or sharing about their piece of art. Generate a QR code linked to the recording and put it up next to the work on the bulletin board. Unfamiliar with QR codes or want more ideas on how you can use them? Check this out!
- Make videos about what you’re teaching in class and post them to a class blog,website, or YouTube or Vimeo channel. You can even make your students laughwhile they learn.
- Create a class Twitter account and use it to show how social media can be used for learning. Here is a great Guide to Twitter made especially for educators andthis blog post from the Center for Teaching Quality posted on the Teaching Channel can help you get started using Twitter in the classroom.
The ideas shared in this blog post represent a small number of the ways you can begin using technology to support your instruction. If you have thoughts or questions, I welcome you to share them. If you would like to tell us about ways you integrate technology using one computer (or 30), that would be excellent as well.
Until next time. Be good humans.
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