Monthly Archives: April 2017

My Philosophical Thoughts on Technology in the Classroom

Throughout my entire life, I have been a huge fan of science fiction media.  I’ve always thought that science fiction creators have one commonality with students-they are both trying to take today’s world and re-imagine it completely.  This is no easy task but it can be done with creativity.  My philosophical perspective on the role of technology in the classroom is centered around the imagination.

It is safe to say that I will always be a bit old school.  Paper and ink will always be what my academic heart cries for.  However, the world we live in isn’t having it, and who wants to look backwards?  The technology that we have at our disposal would make our ancestors cry out in amazement and it only gets more intense by the day.  Undoubtedly, there are some problems with technology, such as cost, reliability and how quickly tech becomes obsolete, but computers aren’t going anywhere.  Students need to be exposed to as much technology we can throw at them.  As computers become more and more wrapped around our lives, we must rethink cities and our very citizenship.

One of my main views on technology in the classroom is encompassed by the word fluidity.  In other words, we need to let technology work itself into our lives organically.  Our communities cannot afford to invest in every new gadget, nor can we afford to not expose our children to the machines of the future.  For instance, 3D printing has become a technology that humans are starting to use for a variety of reasons and its potential is now clear.  So, let us invest in that and give students across the nation access to that trailblazing tech.  Schools should have the latest and most broad-reaching technology that is within our financial grasp.  Teachers and parents need to do everything they can to prepare students for their future role in our society, a role that will be largely defined by how they use modern tools.

After the testing craze of the “No Child Left Behind” era, I hope that we start to emphasize critical thinking curriculum.  To me, critical thinking is greatly enhanced by creativity, which can all be enhanced through technological tools.  As a social studies teacher, I cannot wait to use message boards, or a live feed to connect my students with real professionals, or to assign projects that require students to use their math and map skills in tandem on a GPS application.

The doors to the future are waiting for our students and it is our job to show them the tools to get there.  We must set aside money and politics to give students the tools of today because they are making the tools for tomorrow.  The problems of the 21st century are going to require us to forget the box, not just think outside of it.  The job of every teacher should be to inspire the collective imagination it will take to solve the problems of the future.

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This is a general update that I  together!  Enjoy my five points.

-This video is great for refreshing kids’ minds on the area of four sided shapes. It should work perfect with the video I made on the 19th.

-I’ve also added several pictures to previous posts.  1) There is now a picture of inside the Newseum  headquarters on the Feb 3rd post.  Those interfaces look crazy!  2) I put a chart on the Feb 26. post about tablets that compares prices between brands.  Keep in mind that will not be good in a few months with how prices change, but it is handy to get your mind prepared for the tech specs and prices.

-This post will be covering technology management in the classroom with info found on the web.  The site I’m drawing from wrote an article with six tips on technology management in the classroom.  The summary below is based off the information on this site-https://gradelink.com/6-top-tips-for-managing-technology-in-the-classroom/.

Technological progression is not slowing any time soon.  More and more it is finding its way into the classroom.  Because students and parents have expectations about technology integration, we must set up policy on every level from classroom to district.  Personally, I am in favor of students having open access to laptops, tablets, etc.  However, we do have to be on guard.  Obviously, access to the internet means access to the entire world.    The proper security measures will have to be taken, both for the safety of students and the technology.  Proper security software is a given in a world full of hazards and obstacles.  But it isn’t just about keeping them out of improper material, it is about keeping them on task and using technology effectively.  Below is the website’s list of tips for technology management in the classroom.

  1. Tip #1- Formulate an Electronics Policy.  Putting a system in place is always useful.  Having standards created and explained to the students will inform them about subjects such as proper etiquette or how to use computer storage systems properly.
  2. Tip #2- Creating consequences without disrupting classwork. When it comes to technology, you’ll have to enforce the rules and tweak the assignment for certain individuals.
  3. Tip #3- Have attention grabbing catch phrase. It is silly, but true.  All teachers love their nerdy one-liners.  A specific one for laptops or whatever will be really useful.
  4. Tip #4- Be a proactive helper. While they work on their computers it doesn’t hurt to look over their shoulders and engage them.
  5. Tip #5- Start offline. Yeah, don’t give them the devices until they understand the assignment or it will be a slippery slope into chaos.
  6. Tip #6- Put students to work. Most young students know as much about a device or software that an adult does these days.  Might as well put them to use and give them hands on knowledge and responsibility.

Follow these rules and you’ll be just fine!

-Interactive games are a great way to get students to learn, maybe without them knowing too.  Here are a few of my favorites.

  1.   Funbrain.com is a wonderful place for age appropriate interactive games.  They range from K-8 and are quality games at each level.  I found myself caught up in the “Playground” tab for quite some time.   https://www.funbrain.com/
  2.   Don’t hate on the NatGeo, it has been making a big comeback.  Their new site for kids is awesome.  I’m a social studies teacher, of course I want to have a storm simulator lesson!  https://www.nationalgeographic.org/education/games-and-interactives/
  3.   “ABCya!” is a K-5 specific site.  The site doesn’t really have unique games but they are attention grabbing, which is as useful.  http://abcya.com/
  4.   One of my favorites is “Learning Games for Kids.”  LGfK is very practical and comes with a curriculum for each game and puzzle.  http://www.learninggamesforkids.com/
  5. I swear I don’t work for Khan Academy but I can’t help but to plug it in here as well.  Yeah, Khan Academy is glorious and really helps students with homework and tracks their progress.  It is the bee’s knees.  https://www.khanacademy.org/

-The last point in my post is about some great lesson ideas on a blog I found.  This blog is made by a teacher and could be formatted to any age.  Here is a a link and scroll down to the bottom to see my comment and link about the recent Women’s March- https://historytech.wordpress.com/2017/03/15/national-womens-history-month-lessons-and-resources/#comment-23032